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St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center (SPCMSC) researchers Daniel Ciarletta and Jennifer Miselis led a team of 9 personnel to investigate the shoreface of Wallops and Assawoman Islands in Virginia from May 28th to June 15th, 2024. 

USGS researchers survey Wallops Island, Virginia

This research is being accomplished with financial support from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), which seeks to understand how coastal management actions along its Wallops Flight Facility could affect local barrier landscapes and habitats. Other stakeholders with an interest in the NASA study include the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (USFWS) and Virginia Department of Wildlife Resources (VDWR). Processed field data and reports to NASA and partners are expected within the next six months. 

In transit to survey the shallows of Wallops Island, Virginia


SPCMSC researchers Daniel Ciarletta, Jennifer Miselis, Julie Bernier, and Sara Zeigler are working with partners at Virginia Institute of Marine Science, University of Delaware, the Water Institute, and Virginia Tech to investigate the impacts of past and future coastal interventions on the landscape and biology of Wallops and Assawoman Islands in Virginia. These islands host valuable human infrastructure and natural resources. Wallops Island is home to NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, which includes the Mid-Atlantic Regional Spaceport. Assawoman Island is part of the USFWS Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, which is managed to provide high-quality habitat for migratory waterfowl and shorebirds. Bathymetric, elevation, and seismic data acquired by USGS will form the basis of hydrodynamic models used by partners and will be combined with remote sensing analyses and habitat modeling by SPCMSC scientists to understand the long-term evolution of the Wallops-Assawoman system in response to natural and human forcings.

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