Coastal and Marine Hazards and Resources Program

Coastal Change

Coastal change poses potential risk to coastal communities across the nation. Powerful storms generate surge, waves, and currents that can move large amounts of sediment; can destroy roads, buildings, and other critical infrastructure; and can alter natural habitats. The USGS performs a range of studies that document, assess, and model coastal change, risk, and vulnerability. These studies include historical shoreline change and the geologic structure and history of coastal regions, sediment supply and transport, sea-level rise, and how extreme storm events affect rates and impacts of coastal change.

Filter Total Items: 49
Date published: October 8, 2019
Status: Active

Featured Photos and Videos

Keep watching this page for more photos from our scientists!

Contacts: Laura Torresan
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: 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: August 6, 2019
Status: Active

Coastal System Change at Fire Island, New York

Fire Island is a 50-km long barrier island along the south shore of Long Island, New York. The island is comprised of seventeen year-round communities; federal, state, and county parks; and supports distinct ecosystems alongside areas of economic and cultural value. In addition to providing resources to its residents, the barrier island also protects the heavily-populated mainland from storm...

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: July 15, 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: July 14, 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: July 11, 2019
    Status: Active

    Sea-Level Rise Hazards and Decision Support

    The Sea-Level Rise Hazards and Decision-Support project assesses present and future coastal vulnerability to provide actionable information for management of our Nation’s coasts.  Through multidisciplinary research and collaborative partnerships with decision-makers, physical, biological, and social factors that describe landscape and habitat changes are incorporated in a...