Supplemental Appropriations for Disaster Recovery Activities

Assessment of Coastal Hazards in Puerto Rico

During Hurricanes Irma and Maria, much of Puerto Rico experienced significant impacts to beaches, dunes and coral reefs. Coastal erosion, inland flooding, and coral losses result in increased immediate and long-term hazards to natural and populated shorelines, putting critical infrastructure at risk to future flooding and erosion and causing economic losses. 

During Hurricanes Irma and Maria, much of Puerto Rico experienced significant impacts to beaches, dunes and coral reefs. Extensive erosion and coral losses result in increased immediate and long-term hazards to shorelines, including some densely populated regions. This puts critical infrastructure at risk to future flooding and erosion and potentially leading to economic losses. The USGS Coastal and Marine Hazards and Resources Program (CMHRP) is assessing impacts of coastal erosion and dune elevation changes along the coastline of Puerto Rico and updating digital elevation models of sandy shoreline areas of Puerto Rico. The elevation features will be integrated into models to provide updated estimates of the potential for beach erosion, dune erosion, and dune overtopping during hurricane landfall - both real-time and scenario-based - and operationally for all weather conditions. Updated shoreline positions will be used to compute new rates of shoreline change and identify erosion hot spots. 

 

Post-storm repair and recovery investments that focus on both the increased immediate threat resulting from Irma and Maria’s impacts and the longer-term cumulative impacts will benefit from updated and expanded assessments of coastal vulnerability to storms. CMHRP supplemental work in Puerto Rico, Florida, Georgia and North Carolina will provide information that supports real-time hazard guidance during storms, emergency preparedness, and long-term management of existing or proposed engineering, infrastructure, and coastal protection systems. 

 
Additional Resources
 
Bendik, K.J., Seymour, A.C., and Doran, K.S., 2021, Coastal cliff delineation derived from lidar: 2018: U.S. Geological Survey data release, https://doi.org/10.5066/F7610XCX.
 

 

 

Return to Assessment of Coastal Impacts in Florida and Puerto Rico

Contacts

Hilary Stockdon

Science Advisor for Coastal Change Hazards
Coastal and Marine Hazards and Resources Program
Phone: 727-483-2870