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Assessing hazards along our Nation's coasts

August 27, 2013

Coastal areas are essential to the economic, cultural, and environmental health of the Nation, yet by nature coastal areas are constantly changing due to a variety of events and processes. Extreme storms can cause dramatic changes to our shorelines in a matter of hours, while sea-level rise can profoundly alter coastal environments over decades. These changes can have a devastating impact on coastal communities, such as the loss of homes built on retreating sea cliffs or protective dunes eroded by storm waves. Sometimes, however, the changes can be positive, such as new habitat created by storm deposits. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) is meeting the need for scientific understanding of how our coasts respond to different hazards with continued assessments of current and future changes along U.S. coastlines. Through the National Assessment of Coastal Change Hazards (NACCH), the USGS carries out the unique task of quantifying coastal change hazards along open-ocean coasts in the United States and its territories. Residents of coastal communities, emergency managers, and other stakeholders can use science-based data, tools, models, and other products to improve planning and enhance resilience.