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USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program

News Archive

News Archive - stories from September 2016.

For information about a story, contact Ann Tihansky (202) 208-3342.

Stretch of beach in Malibu, California, vulnerable to flooding from storms and sea-level rise. Cropped from image 201309712 in California Coastal Records Project.Entertainment newspaper features USGS coastal-flooding forecasts

USGS science turned up in an unexpected place: The Hollywood Reporter, which ran the story “Underwater in 40 Years? Which L.A. Beach Homes Are at Risk” in its August 12, 2016, issue. The piece describes how projected sea-level rise could inundate expensive areas and homes, and how flooding could be higher during a major winter storm. The reporter relied on data and maps from the USGS Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS). CoSMoS makes detailed long-range forecasts of coastal erosion and flooding caused by climate change, sea-level rise, and storms. Several California agencies used preliminary results from a CoSMoS update to plan for possible storm flooding and erosion during last year’s El Niño. Contact: Patrick Barnard,, 831-460-7556. See a larger version of this photo.posted: 2016-09-29

Chinese visitors and USGS hosts during a field trip stop at Cove Beach in Año Nuevo State Park. Photo by Stephen Hartwell, USGS.Chinese Coastal Scientists Exchange Ideas, Discuss Future Cooperation with USGS Hosts

Eight scientists from the China Geological Survey (CGS) and affiliated organizations visited the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California, on September 14 and 15, 2016. The Chinese visitors and their USGS hosts discussed their respective coastal research programs and possibilities for future cooperation. During a one-day workshop on September 14, scientists from both groups described research to address various coastal issues, including flooding, erosion, seafloor habitats, sediment movement, offshore earthquakes, and wetland loss. On September 15, the visitors learned more about USGS studies during a field trip to coastal areas north and south of Santa Cruz. Ms. Ping Yin, professor at Qingdao Institute of Marine Geology and coordinator of a new CGS coastal geology program, initiated the visit to further cooperation between CGS and USGS scientists. Contact: Bob Rosenbauer,, 831-460-7401.posted: 2016-09-26

Graphic showing synchronized fieldwork research activitiesUSGS Multidisciplinary Field Effort at Dry Tortugas National Park

From September 26 to October 7, SPCMSC researchers Christina Kellogg and Kim Yates, assisted by Nathan Smiley, Sara Snader, and volunteer Mitch Lemon, will be engaged in integrated data and sample collection at Dry Tortugas National Park, approximately 70 miles west of Key West, as part of the Coastal and Marine Geology Program's Coral Reef Ecosystem Studies (CREST) project. Reefs are complex ecosystems where environmental and biological factors are constantly affecting each other, creating a heterogeneous and ever-changing landscape on both spatial and temporal scales. This effort will combine water sampling for carbonate chemistry and reef metagenome analyses. Understanding the processes that underlie whether the reef is accreting (growing) or dissolving are fundamental to questions of reef health and resiliency.

posted: 2016-09-21

Photograph of USGS scientists Jonathan Warrick and Jeff Duda receiving Riverprize recognition, see plaque, inset, in New Delhi, India. Image courtesy of International Riverfoundation.International Recognition for Historic Elwha River Restoration

Collaborative work by the U.S. Department of the Interior and the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe to restore the Elwha River of Washington, USA, was honored during the awarding of the 2016 Thiess International Riverprize. The International RiverFoundation awards the Riverprize annually to support premier examples of river-restoration management. Research geologist Jonathan Warrick (USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center) and research ecologist Jeff Duda (USGS Western Fisheries Research Center) represented DOI at the 2016 awards ceremony, held September 14 at the 19th International River Symposium in New Delhi, India. The Elwha River Restoration Project was recognized for its unprecedented approach to restoring salmon populations and other ecosystem elements through the largest dam removal project in history. The three finalists were the Segura River of Spain, and the Niagara and Elwha Rivers of the USA. The Buffalo Niagara Riverkeeper project won the Riverprize. For more information, read the USGS News Release, or contact Jonathan Warrick,, 831-460-7569. View a larger version of the photo shown here.

Visit the USGS Science to Support the Elwha River Restoration Project web site.

posted: 2016-09-15

USGS scientists to give congressional briefings on the Fire Island to Montauk Point Reformulation Plan (FIMP)

Cheryl Hapke (Center Director, St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center) and Bill Schwab (Research Geophysicist, Woods Hole Coastal and Marine Science Center) will participate in briefings for NY Congressman Zeldin and Senators Schumer and Gillibrand at their NY District Offices as part of a DOI Advisory Team on September 27th. The focus of the briefings is the USACE's FIMP Environmental Impact Statement, which is currently available for public review.

posted: 2016-09-14

Research Article Published on Barrier Island Restoration Support

The article "Use of structured decision-making to explicitly incorporate environmental process understanding in management of coastal restoration projects: Case study on barrier islands of the northern Gulf of Mexico" has been accepted for publication by the Journal of Environmental Management. This project developed a framework for directly incorporating process-knowledge into barrier island restoration support that will be expanded in future efforts; will be used in guiding decisions made by USACE if the Ship Island restoration project is damaged during construction; and identified several key uncertainties limiting robust management of barrier island restoration projects. It was co-authored by Soupy Dalyander, Michelle Meyers, and Greg Steyer (USGS); Brady Mattsson (University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences Vienna); Elizabeth Godsey and Justin McDonald (USACE); Mark Byrnes (Applied Coastal Research and Engineering); and Mark Ford (NPS).

posted: 2016-09-14

USGS Lidar Coordinator and Data Management Specialist attend the Location Powers: Big Data Workshop in Orlando, Florida

Xan Fredericks (Cartographer/Lidar Coordinator, SPCMSC) and Heather Schreppel (IT/Data Management Specialist, SPCMSC) will be attending the Location Powers: Big Data Workshop on September 20, 2016, in Orlando, Florida. The purpose of this workshop is to bring leading developers of big geospatial data systems together and hear the latest developments, as well as discuss the advancement of big data computing techniques applied to geospatial data and its many applications.

posted: 2016-09-14

Photograph of, from left to right, Curt Storlazzi, Peter Swarzenski, and Christina Kellogg, during a 2015 survey of the field area in Kauai, to which Storlazzi and Kellogg returned for more concentrated work in summer 2016. Photo by Amy West, USGSUSGS Research on Diseased Hawaiian Corals Featured in Newspaper and Radio Interviews

Newspaper and radio reporters in Kauai, Hawaiʻi, interviewed USGS researchers on possible causes of a black band coral disease outbreak on the island’s north shore. In an article in the Garden Island newspaper, research geologist Curt Storlazzi of the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center explained that fresh groundwater entering the ocean from seafloor seeps could stress nearby corals. He led a USGS team July 29–August 5 to gather evidence for submarine groundwater discharge, collect water samples to test for nutrients and contaminants, and measure currents to determine how they might concentrate or disperse groundwater after it enters the ocean. Storlazzi’s collaborator Chris Kellogg, research microbiologist with the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center, spoke about the black band work on Hawaii Public Radio.

See a larger version of the photo. Contact: Curt Storlazzi,, 831-460-7521.

posted: 2016-09-09

Tampa Bay Times interviews USGS Research Oceanographer on hurricane's impacts on Pinellas beaches

Hilary Stockdon (Research Oceanographer, SPCMSC) was interviewed by Craig Pittman, staff writer at the Tampa Bay Times, for a September 2 story on how Pinellas County beaches were impacted by Hurricane Hermine: In the article, Mr. Pittman also referred back to the SPCMSC hurricane group's 2012 Open-File Report on storm-induced coastal erosion hazards for the Gulf of Mexico.

posted: 2016-09-08

USGS Research Oceanographer hosts visiting scholars to collaborate on CFD modeling of sand and oil agglomerates

Soupy Dalyander (Research Oceanographer, SPCMSC) will be hosting Niels Jacobsen of Deltares (Delft, the Netherlands) the week of September 11–17 at the SPCMSC. Niels is advising the Master's research of Melanie Schippers, who is also being hosted at SPCMSC from August 14 to October 28. In collaboration with USGS and Deltares, Melanie is developing a computational fluid dynamics (CFD) model of the incipient motion behavior of sand and oil agglomerates (see for more info), which will be used to improve prediction of their behavior and fate following an oil spill.

posted: 2016-09-08

Forecasts now focusing on Hermine's potential impacts to the Outer Banks

As Hermine transitions from the Gulf of Mexico to the Atlantic Ocean, our coastal change forecasts are focusing on potential impacts to the Outer Banks, North Carolina.

See forecasts of total water levels at

View probabilities of coastal change in the Coastal Change Hazards Portal at

posted: 2016-09-02

USGS Responds to Hurricane Hermine

The storm team is responding to Hermine. Activities include probabilities of coastal change (view in the Coastal Change Hazards Portal) and total water levels, as well as ground surveys of Pinellas County beaches.posted: 2016-09-01

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