USGS 2017 Excellence in Leadership Award honors scientists who assess coastal flooding threats

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Research geologist Patrick Barnard and research oceanographer Li Erikson have been recognized for leading efforts to better assess coastal vulnerability to flooding.

Barnard and Erikson identified a critical societal issue, assembled a diverse team, and guided collaborations across scientific and organizational boundaries to produce the Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS), which forecasts coastal flooding under multiple storm conditions and a suite of sea-level rise scenarios. The scientists partnered with Point Blue Conservation Science and Our Coast Our Future to provide a web-based viewer for CoSMoS products, already being used for planning by several California communities. Barnard and Erikson have set the groundwork for sustained successful collaboration with Federal, State, academic, and private partners. They will be honored during a May awards ceremony at USGS headquarters in Reston, Virginia.

Woman with a smile stands on a quiet beach, holding equipment, with San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge in the background.

USGS research oceanographer Li Erikson carrying backpack and antenna for beach-profile measurements.

Man on right gestures to other people, and everyone is looking out to the same spot as he talks.

Former Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell (second from right) and former USGS Acting Director Suzette Kimball (third from right) stand with USGS geologist Patrick Barnard (far right) above a rapidly eroding coastline near San Francisco. New York Times reporter Kenneth Chang (glasses) and former USGS Western States Communications Chief Justin Pressfield look on from behind.