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Dr. Miselis of the St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center will present a talk, “Coastal barrier islands: balancing sediment management with ecosystem and coastal resiliency in a changing world” at the next USGS Science Lightning Talks Town Hall—Showcasing the Breadth and Importance of USGS Science, held on March 1.

Photograph of ocean side homes on  Fire Island, New York
Ocean side homes on Fire Island, New York

The lightning talk by Dr. Miselis will outline the impacts of sediment management practices on the resiliency of coastal barrier island systems and their ecosystems. Barrier islands play a key role in storm protection for coastal communities and infrastructure and serve as critical habitats for many coastal and marine species. Sediment management actions are typically used to mitigate coastal hazards, such as storm-related erosion and flooding, yet can sometimes lead to adverse impacts to coastal habitats, wildlife, and long-term barrier island resiliency.

The presentation is based on the findings of a joint report by the USGS and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS). The report was written in response to a June 2019 request from the House Committee on Natural Resources that the two agencies evaluate the short- and long-term impacts of sand/sediment removal and placement on areas in and adjacent to the Coastal Barrier Resources System (CBRS). The synthesis describes both beneficial and detrimental impacts to barrier island systems from sediment management practices depending on the timing and location of these actions and identifies gaps in scientific understanding of how these practices may alter natural connectivity between barrier islands and their habitats.

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