Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

Coastal Change

USGS research helps managers better understand and project the physical impacts of storms, climate change, and sea-level rise on coastal systems—from the permafrost coasts of Alaska, to the Puget Sound estuary, the California coast, and low-lying Pacific atolls. Coastlines are dynamic, with sediments accumulating or eroding from beaches and tidal marshes, storm waves eroding cliffs, and sea-level rise threatening low-lying coastal communities.

Filter Total Items: 17
Date published: December 9, 2019
Status: Active

Featured Photos and Videos

Keep watching this page for more photos from our scientists!

Contacts: Laura Torresan
Date published: November 8, 2019
Status: Active

Using Video Imagery to Study Coastal Change: Whidbey Island

Video cameras overlook the coast along a beach on Whidbey Island, Island County at the northern boundary of Puget Sound in western Washington.

    Contacts: Eric Grossman
    Date published: September 19, 2019
    Status: Active

    Using Video Imagery to Study Coastal Change: Sunset State Beach

    Two video cameras overlook the coast at Sunset State Beach in Watsonville, California. Camera 1 looks northwest while Camera 2 looks north. The cameras are part of the Remote Sensing Coastal Change project.

    Date published: September 6, 2019
    Status: Active

    Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound

    A Pacific Northwest icon, Puget Sound is the second-largest estuary in the United States. Its unique geology, climate, and nutrient-rich waters produce and sustain biologically productive coastal habitats. These same natural characteristics also contribute to a high quality of life that has led to growth in human population and urbanization. This growth has played a role in degrading the Sound...

    Date published: August 28, 2019
    Status: Active

    Using Video Imagery to Study Wave Dynamics: Unalakleet

    Two video cameras overlook the coast from atop a windmill tower in Unalakleet, Alaska where they look westward over Norton Sound.

    Date published: August 23, 2019
    Status: Active

    Coral Reef Project: Puerto Rico

    To better understand how waves move across coral reefs and cause flooding on tropical shorelines, USGS scientists have installed video cameras and oceanographic instruments off San Juan and Rincón, Puerto Rico. Their work is part of a study funded by USGS after Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The offshore instruments measure wave heights and speeds; the onshore video cameras show where waves break...

    Date published: July 25, 2019
    Status: Active

    Using Video Imagery to Study Coastal Change: Santa Cruz Beaches

    Two video cameras atop the Dream Inn hotel in Santa Cruz, California, overlook the coast in northern Monterey Bay. One camera looks eastward over Santa Cruz Main Beach and boardwalk, while the other looks southward over Cowells Beach. The cameras are part of the Remote Sensing Coastal Change project.

    Date published: July 22, 2019
    Status: Active

    Using Video Imagery to Study Wave Dynamics: Tres Palmas

    Four video cameras look westward over the coast and the coral reef at Tres Palmas in Rincón, on the west coast of Puerto Rico. Two cameras look out at the horizon and over the ocean for the mid-field view; one camera offers a zoomed-in, far-field view overlooking the reef and out to the island of Desecheo, a U.S. National Wildlife Refuge; and another camera focuses on the beach.

    Contacts: Curt Storlazzi, Miguel Canals-Silander, Patricia Chardon Maldonado
    Date published: July 15, 2019
    Status: Active

    USGS science supporting the Elwha River Restoration Project

    The Elwha River Restoration Project...

    ... has reconnected the water, salmon, and sediment of a pristine river and coast of the Olympic Peninsula of Washington. Coordinated by the National Park Service, restoration of the Elwha River included the removal of two large dams that had blocked salmon and sediment passage for almost 100 years. The largest dam removal in U.S. history began in...

    Date published: July 15, 2019
    Status: Active

    Sediment Transport in Coastal Environments

    Our research goals are to provide the scientific information, knowledge, and tools required to ensure that decisions about land and resource use, management practices, and future development in the coastal zone and adjacent watersheds can be evaluated with a complete understanding of the probable effects on coastal ecosystems and communities, and a full assessment of their vulnerability to...

    Date published: April 23, 2019
    Status: Active

    The Impact of Sea-Level Rise and Climate Change on Pacific Ocean Atolls

    Providing basic understanding and specific information on storm-wave inundation of atoll islands that house Department of Defense installations; and assessing the resulting impact of sea-level rise and storm-wave inundation on infrastructure and freshwater availability under a variety of sea-level rise and climatic scenarios....

    Contacts: Curt Storlazzi, Li Erikson, Stephen B Gingerich, Clifford I Voss, Ph.D., Edwin Elias, Peter Swarzenski, Ap van Dongeren, Gregory PIniak, Donald Field, Annamalai Hariharasubramanian, Kevin Hamilton, Yuqing Wang
    Date published: February 26, 2019
    Status: Completed

    Erosion of a Sea Stack Over 100 Years

    The following photographs show the demise of Jump-Off Joe, a one-hundred-foot-high sandstone formation known as a “sea stack”. In 1890, the sea stack was composed of middle Miocene concretionary sandstone of the Astoria Formation. Yaquina Head on the Horizon is composed of middle Miocene basalt flows and breccia. Note remnant of Pleistocene terrace deposit along the wave cut bench on the stack...