Photo Roundup - June-July 2020

Release Date:

A selection of coastal and marine images and videos from across the USGS

This article is part of the June-July 2020 issue of the Sound Waves newsletter.

A man stands on the bow of a small aluminum boat wearing bib waders, a personal floatation device, and a mask.

Marine technician Dan Powers, from the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center's Marine Facility (PCMSC MarFac), wears all the required personal protective equipment: bib waders, personal floatation device, and mask. He and MarFac engineering technician Pete Dal Ferro went out on Alviso Slough to retrieve and clean current meters that are secured to metal frames. The frames and instruments get pretty fouled-up with mud and vegetation in these shallow waters, requiring frequent cleanings. Read more about sediment transport in coastal environments.

(Credit: Pete Dal Ferro, USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center. Public domain.)

Video Transcript

The degradation of coastal habitats, particularly coral reefs, raises risks by increasing the exposure of coastal communities to flooding hazards during storms. The protective services of these natural defenses are not assessed in the same rigorous economic terms as artificial defenses, such as seawalls, and therefore often are not considered in decision-making. Here we combine engineering, ecologic, geospatial, social, and economic tools to provide a rigorous valuation of the coastal protection benefits of all U.S. coral reefs in the States of Hawaiʻi and Florida, the territories of Guam, American Samoa, Puerto Rico, and Virgin Islands, and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. We follow risk-based valuation approaches to map flood zones at 10-square-meter resolution along all 3,100+ kilometers of U.S. reef-lined shorelines for different storm probabilities to account for the effect of coral reefs in reducing coastal flooding. We quantify the coastal flood risk reduction benefits provided by coral reefs across storm return intervals using the latest information from the U.S. Census Bureau, Federal Emergency Management Agency, and Bureau of Economic Analysis to identify their annual expected benefits, a measure of the annual protection provided by coral reefs. The annual value of flood risk reduction provided by U.S. coral reefs is more than 18,000 lives and $1.805 billion in 2010 U.S. dollars. These data provide stakeholders and decision makers with spatially explicit, rigorous valuation of how, where, and when U.S. coral reefs provide critical coastal storm flood reduction benefits, and open up new opportunities to fund their protection and restoration. The overall goal is to ultimately reduce the risk to, and increase the resiliency of, U.S. coastal communities. Learn more at: and

View the audio-described version.

Jessica Kendall-Bar, UC Santa Cruz

(Some content used with permission)

View through the windshield of a boat on a calm bay looking out on calm waters, trees, and a mountain in distance.

Looking through the windshield of USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center's boat San Lorenzo under pristine field conditions.

(Credit: Pete Dal Ferro, USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center. Public domain.)

Carol Reiss examining hydrothermal vent sample using hand lens

USGS geologist Carol Reiss examining hydrothermal vent sample using hand lens. Sulfide-silicate minerals precipitate from 330°C mineral laden water venting along volcanically active spreading ridges. Read more about critical minerals in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).

(Credit: Thomas Reiss, USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center. Public domain.)

A scientist stands in a grassy marsh with a long tube-shaped piece of equipment designed to pull cores of earth from the ground

A short marsh push core, exhibiting a sandy event layer on top, collected from Point aux Chênes, Mississippi marsh during sample collection in October 2018 for sediment and radiochemical analyses. Read more about the Estuarine and MaRsh Geology (EMRG) research project.

(Credit: Alisha Ellis, USGS. Public domain.)

A group of six photographs showing equipment used for collecting data in the field.

Field equipment used by USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center scientists for bathymetric and topographic surveys in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, California. Read more about sediment transport in coastal environments.

(Public domain.)