How do I know if my property is on or near a soft bluff?

It’s pretty easy to tell if your property is on the rocky coast. In contrast, soft bluffs may be “hidden” by plants and trees, or may seem like a high, stable point of land. However, in some locations, erosion and landslides are hazards to properties on or near a soft bluff.

Shorefront property that overlooks the ocean and is not on solid rock or above a bedrock cliff, may be on or landward of a soft bluff. Bluffs are mapped by the Maine Geological Survey. Landslide Hazard Maps describe the internal stability of sediment bluffs. The companion Coastal Bluff Maps describe the processes and stability of the face of a bluff. These maps provide additional information about the slope, shape, and amount of vegetation covering a coastal bluff and the adjacent shoreline. These factors are directly related to how susceptible a bluff is to ongoing erosion or landslides.

An additional series of maps are available from the Maine Geological Survey. Other maps show topography, sediment composition, groundwater characteristics, bedrock geology, and other factors which influence the stability of a bluff or potential for landslides to occur.  Some specific map titles are available online, others are available in print format. State geologists are available to explain these maps.

See the maps and data section for more information.