Beach surveys to monitor change along northern Monterey Bay
From October 9–15, USGS personnel surveyed beaches and the adjacent ocean floor along Monterey Bay’s northern coast.
USGS personnel mapped beach elevations with precision GPS units on backpacks and all-terrain vehicles, and they recorded nearshore depths with personal watercraft equipped with GPS and echo sounders. Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center (PCMSC) scientists have conducted surveys between Santa Cruz and Moss Landing every fall and spring since October 2014 to study the patterns and causes of coastal change. They add targeted mapping to capture the effects of large storms. PCMSC runs regular surveys on various California shores, including recently begun mapping along southern Monterey Bay.
For a beach town like Santa Cruz, preserving beaches by mitigating coastal erosion is vital. Surveys conducted now and regularly in the future will help scientists understand the short- and long-term impacts of climate change, El Niño years, and sea-level rise on a populated and vulnerable coastline.
From September 12–14, scientists from the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center used all-terrain vehicles and small watercraft to map the sand on beaches and under the water in southern Monterey Bay.