The historical analysis provides cartographic evidence of predevelopment conditions and traces waterway development over the last century. This evaluation of change serves as a fundamental guide to coastal communities in formulating management policies and programs. Two examples of benefits provided by the analysis include the documentation of dredging history for residential waterways, access channels and major arterials; and the identification of potential waterway restoration sites.
The historical analysis is based on a comparison of nineteenth and twentieth-century Coast Survey and Army Corps of Engineers source maps with time-sequential aerial photography and contemporary surveys to portray changes in bathymetric, shoreline and waterfront conditions.
The analysis resulted in an ongoing series of publications that tell the complex story of the effects of one hundred years of human alterations to the coastal environment. Two volumes have been published to date: the first covers Anna Maria Sound to Lemon Bay and the second from Placida Harbor to Marco Island. A third volume in the series will cover the Tampa Bay region, with others to follow.
These publications use maps and imagery to interpret changes in waterway and habitat conditions over the past hundred years. Their content illustrates the historical development of waterways, inlet dynamics, and show how historic maps are used in modern computer systems. All topics are addressed in a map-based approach, supplemented by copious historic and modern photographs and accompanied by complete lists of references.