All combined, the United States coastline is almost 100,000 miles long. Coastal areas are home to more than 40% of the population and support critical habitat for wildlife. USGS scientists work to better understand these dynamic ecosystems to help safeguard coastal communities and conserve valuable resources.
At the Department of the Interior, our mission is to ensure that our coasts are healthy and resilient, valued and prosperous, safe and accessible for current and future generations.
USGS science supports resilient coastal areas by providing information and tools that can be used by decision makers to conserve and sustainably use our coastal landscapes and resources, as well as to develop collaborative science-based management plans to manage activities responsibly.
Coasts are productive and diverse landscapes that link land and ocean and support critical ecosystems, local communities and economies. Much of our population lives near and relies upon coastal environments for commerce through shipping and navigation, offshore energy, fisheries and other food sources, tourism, recreation and more. These areas also provide places for national security infrastructure such as naval bases, protection from storms, and carbon sequestration.
With climate change, sea-level rise, and more frequent and intense storms, there is an increasing need for trusted USGS coastal research and tools. Our scientists provide the knowledge and understanding needed to sustain our coastal areas and ensure they will continue to be safe, accessible, and productive into the future.
To address our constantly changing and adapting coastal landscapes, the USGS conducts a wide range of research and monitoring along our coasts. A few examples include:
- Using satellite imagery to track changing shorelines,
- Conducting mapping efforts to characterize the shoreface and sediment supply, and
- Monitoring ecosystems, animal movement, water quantity and quality, and coastal change processes.
This work helps to understand and predict coastal change and associated hazards so our Nation’s coastal communities, infrastructure, plants and wildlife can adapt to a changing world along with the coastal ecosystems on which they rely.