Coastlines are constantly changing landscapes. Storm impacts, variations in sediment supply and transport, sea-level rise and loss of wetlands contribute to coastal change. While our understanding of coastal processes continues to evolve and become more refined, robust scientific findings help identify areas that are most vulnerable to coastal change hazards and inform effective strategies to address resilience and habitat conservation. This information can guide planners and emergency managers in ways that protect lives, reduce risk and prevent economic losses. Scientific information benefits our economy and society overall by guiding us toward making smart investments for our future.
The USGS is a federal science agency that provides impartial and reliable scientific information to describe and understand the Earth; minimize loss of life and property from natural disasters; manage water, biological, energy and mineral resources and enhance and protect our quality of life. USGS scientific programs address coastal impacts and inform society’s preparedness through fundamental and applied research. USGS scientists measure and forecast coastal change and associated hazards while also incorporating issues of sea-level rise, extreme storms, flooding and impacts to water quality. USGS conducts high-resolution mapping in coastal areas to assess long and short term changes, uses mobile storm-tide monitoring networks and maintains the National Streamflow Information Program and the National Water Quality Assessment Program. These combined efforts, in collaboration with other partners and federal agencies, provide critical data to improve the characterization of flood risks, assess the vulnerability of built and natural environments and improve future storm forecasts. Scientifically-based informational products support emergency managers and planners for a wide range of potential impacts in coastal environments. Future research directions are driven by combining societal needs with ongoing assessments of changing environmental conditions and threats to human homes, businesses, infrastructures and safety.