SPCMSC Scientists Investigate Shoreface and Shelf Change Offshore of Mid-Atlantic Barrier Islands

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SPCMSC scientist Emily Wei and operations personnel Andrew Farmer, BJ Reynolds, and Chelsea Stalk will be collecting high-resolution bathymetric data from the barrier systems of Rockaway, New York, and Seven Mile Island, New Jersey, to study their evolution.

A sandy beach and groin with buildings in the background at Seven Mile Island, New Jersey

A groin at Seven Mile Island, New Jersey traps sand and contributes to widening of the barrier beach. This illustrates how human modification and wave processes shape the beach. (Credit: Emily Wei, USGS. Public domain.)

Barrier systems often exhibit natural along-margin variability, and this can be altered or enhanced by human actions. To understand how sediment is redistributed in the cross- and along-shore directions following storms and renourishment, Research Geologist Emily Wei, Electronics Technician Chelsea Stalk, Engineering Technician BJ Reynolds, and Electronics Technician Andy Farmer will acquire multibeam bathymetry offshore of the Rockaway peninsula in New York and Seven Mile Island in New Jersey. This work is being conducted as part of a project funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and will support an evaluation of barrier restoration projects that occurred after Hurricane Sandy made landfall in New Jersey in 2012. Additionally, as part of the Coastal Sediment Availability and Flux project, these newly acquired datasets will be compared to multibeam and single-beam bathymetry collected 2–3 years prior to create maps of bathymetric change, which will aid in identifying hotspots of erosion and deposition and quantifying changes in sediment volume on the shoreface and inner shelf.

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