Resilience along the West Coast—Science and Policy Coming Together to Strengthen Communities and the Environment

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On Dec. 4, 2019, USGS scientist Patrick Barnard participated with other panelists in a congressional briefing looking at the issue of coastal impacts and solutions to lessen risk from sea-level rise, coastal inundation and storms along the west coast of the U.S.

Dr. Barnard

As one of four panelists at a briefing held by the Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Coastal States Organization, Patrick Barnard outlined the climate-related challenges facing beaches and estuaries along the West Coast and discussed how USGS science, particularly the Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS), helps communities adapt to reduce risk to lives and property.

(Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI), Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0), Public Domain)

This article is part of the October-December 2019 issue of the Sound Waves newsletter.

The Environmental and Energy Study Institute (EESI) and the Coastal States Organization (CSO) held the briefing to highlight science and policy initiatives that are helping protect West Coast ecosystems and communities from erosion, sea level rise, and other coastal hazards. The briefing showcased nature-based solutions, which can protect human lives and property while creating habitat for wildlife and supporting various coastal industries. These techniques can also be paired with traditional “gray” infrastructure to meet a greater variety of planning needs.

Daniel Bresette, Executive Director of EESI, and Bradley Watson, Executive Director of CSO, introduced the session with the hope that these approaches might serve as a model for other regions experiencing similar issues. The panelists described the collaborative process between federal, state, local, and Tribal stakeholders and include collecting, sharing, and acting on scientific data to inform policy decisions around adaptation and help communities define and achieve their resilience goals.

Participating panelists:

  • Patrick Barnard, Research Geologist, Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center, USGS;
  • Charles Lester, Director, Ocean & Coastal Policy Center, Marine Science Institute, UC Santa Barbara; 
  • Jessica Fain, Director of Planning, San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission (BCDC); and
  • Aimee Kinney, Coastal Law and Policy Research Scientist, Puget Sound Institute.

You can watch the recorded briefing, download the audio, see the presenters slides and more here:


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Sound Waves Newsletter - October-December 2019

The USGS loses a dear friend, the challenges of conducting Arctic fieldwork, congressional briefing on coastal impacts and resiliency, the USGS at the St. Petersburg Science Festival, and more in this October-December 2019 issue of Sound Waves.