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News Archive

News Archive - stories from January 2017.

For information about a story, contact Ann Tihansky (202) 208-3342.

USGS Lidar Coordinator to attend International LiDAR Mapping Forum 2017

Xan Fredericks, Lidar Coordinator for the Coastal and Marine Geology Program, will attend the International LiDAR Mapping Forum (ILMF) 2017 conference in Denver, CO, February 13th–15th. ILMF ( is a technical conference and exhibition showcasing the latest airborne, terrestrial, and underwater lidar, as well as emerging remote-sensing and data collection tools and technologies. With special emphasis on data acquisition, fusion, integration, processing, and visualization, ILMF is especially useful for Asset Management, Civil Infrastructure, Coastal Zone Mapping, Emergency Services & Disaster Response, Land and Natural Resource Management, and Urban Modeling applications.

posted: 2017-02-01

USGS Lidar Coordinator to attend Coastal GeoTools 2017

Xan Fredericks, Lidar Coordinator for the USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program, will attend the Coastal GeoTools 2017 conference in North Charleston, South Carolina, February 6th–9th. Coastal GeoTools ( is a conference dedicated to technology and the coastal environment, with an aim to find innovative, proven approaches to address coastal management issues, learn about the latest technologies, and build professional networks. Held since 1999, the biennial event is attended by planners, engineers, natural resource managers, geospatial analysts, and scientists from all sectors.

For more information, please contact Xan Fredericks,, 727-502-8086.

posted: 2017-01-27

New AGU journal article analyzes dune impacts during Hurricane Sandy

Researchers at the USGS St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center recently published a new paper (see “Testing model parameters for wave-induced dune erosion using observations from Hurricane Sandy”) that uses lidar data from before and after Hurricane Sandy to determine the impact to dunes along the coast of New Jersey, New York, and Maryland at over 800 beach profile locations. Based on these observations, the paper suggests potential improvements to numerical models currently used to predict dune evolution during storms.

posted: 2017-01-27

USGS oceanographer Dan Hoover uses a GPS-equipped backpack to measure sand elevations on Main Beach in Santa Cruz, near the mouth of the San Lorenzo River, January 12, 2017. Photo by Andrew Stevens, USGS.Storms that battered Santa Cruz, California, brought beneficial sand to beaches

On January 12-13, just days after “atmospheric river” storms dropped heavy rain on Santa Cruz, California, scientists from the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center surveyed local beaches to compile a three-dimensional map of storm-related changes. Using a laser scanner, GPS-equipped backpacks, and a sonar-equipped boat and personal watercraft, they measured the beaches and seafloor around the mouths of the San Lorenzo River and Soquel Creek. Early results show the storms washed approximately 100,000 cubic meters (about 10,000 dump-truck loads) of sand to each river mouth. The added sediment built temporary bars, which enhanced local surfing spots. In the long term, the sand should help protect beaches and developed bluffs and shoreline. The fieldwork complements twice-a-year surveys from Santa Cruz to Moss Landing. The research results should assist communities planning for sea-level rise and other coastal hazards.

Contact: Patrick Barnard,, 831-460-7556

posted: 2017-01-25

Juliette Finzi Hart, USGS, shows how much flooding a large storm combined with future sea-level rise would likely cause in the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach.USGS oceanographer shows how future storms and sea-level rise could affect Long Beach, California

Juliette Finzi Hart of the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center used virtual reality to show how future storms and sea-level rise are likely to change the shoreline at Long Beach, California. She was part of a public forum at the Aquarium of the Pacific on January 21, 2017, sponsored by the aquarium and the League of Women Voters. Finzi Hart described coastal flooding projected by the USGS Coastal Storm Modeling System (CoSMoS) and showed images of the prior week’s “king tides,” or highest high tides of the year. Today’s extreme high tides will be tomorrow’s average daily high tide, and they help the CoSMoS group validate model projections for future sea-level rise. Read an interview with Finzi Hart; view her 360° video of January 12 king tide in Long Beach; and view the archived forum (Finzi Hart’s presentation begins around the 40-minute mark). Contact: Juliette Finzi Hart,, 310-801-3435posted: 2017-01-25

David Louie of ABC7 News interviews USGS researcher Patrick Barnard near the San Lorenzo River mouth during January 13 seafloor surveys to measure sand delivered by recent storms. Photo by Andrew Stevens, USGS.Media coverage of post-storm beach mapping in Santa Cruz, California

A post-storm survey of beaches in Santa Cruz, California, by USGS researchers prompted numerous stories in the local media. On January 12-13, scientists from the Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center mapped beaches and the seafloor around the mouths of two rivers to measure sediment washed to the coast by heavy rainfall. Four TV stations filmed surveying on the morning of January 13: KPIX (CBS), ABC, KSBW (no link available), and KION. By January 23, project leader Patrick Barnard had given additional interviews to the Santa Cruz Sentinel and the Good Times, and a second interview to KSBW.

Contact: Patrick Barnard,, 831-460-7556.posted: 2017-01-25

USGS Scientist invited to speak at 1st RISE Symposium in Puerto Rico

Christina A. Kellogg (Research Microbiologist, SPCMSC) has been invited to give a seminar at the University of Puerto Rico–Cayey's First Annual RISE Program Research Symposium on Saturday, January 28, 2017. The NIH-funded Research Initiative for Scientific Enhancement (RISE) Program seeks to increase the capacity of underrepresented students to complete Ph.D. degrees in biomedical sciences. Dr. Kellogg's talk is titled "Deep-Sea Coral Microbiomes and Environmental Metagenomics."

posted: 2017-01-18

Screenshot of video.What’s Drifting Beneath Kauai’s Ocean?

Filmed and produced by Amy West

Residents and visitors both revel in Kauai’s lush landscape, and beneath its seascape. However, it’s underwater where things don’t look so healthy—at least not here at Makua Beach.

Scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey got a detailed picture of the coral reef’s physical environment. Understanding just what these reefs are exposed to and for how long, may help explain why some corals here have succumbed to black band disease.

View the video!

posted: 2017-01-17

USGS research geologist Amy East prepares to collect a sample of water from the San Lorenzo River in downtown Santa Cruz on January 8, 2017. Photo by Andrew Stevens, USGS.Researchers brave storm to measure sediment carried to coast by river in Santa Cruz, California

Scientists from the USGS Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center and California Water Science Center worked day and night January 7-9 to collect samples of sediment-laden water from the flooding San Lorenzo River. It was the third high flow in a three-week period. From a pedestrian bridge in downtown Santa Cruz, they collected more than 20 samples for measurement of sediment content. The work is part of a multiyear study of how conditions in the watershed—such as total rainfall and recent flooding and drought history—affect the amount of sediment washed to the coast. Answers will help coastal and water-resource managers understand how watershed sediment output, along with the amount of sediment-associated pollutants, may change along California’s coast with year-to-year variations in storm frequency and intensity during an era of changing climate. Contact: Amy East,, 831-460-7533.posted: 2017-01-13

New Science Center Director Guy Gelfenbaum (left) shakes hands with outgoing Center Director, Bob Rosenbauer. Photo by Rex Sanders, USGS.Guy Gelfenbaum Is New Director of Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

Dr. Guy Gelfenbaum has become the new Director of the USGS Pacific Coastal Marine Science Center in Santa Cruz, California. Regional Director Mark Sogge of the USGS Pacific Region announced Guy’s selection on January 4, 2017, and his official term began January 8. Guy comes to his new position from a long-time role as a USGS research oceanographer in Santa Cruz and St. Petersburg, Florida. Most recently, he led the Coastal Habitats in Puget Sound (CHIPS) project, a multidisciplinary research effort to support ecosystem recovery in Puget Sound. Guy served on the USGS Ecosystems Strategic Science Planning Team and several Pacific Northwest multiagency science-advisory teams. He succeeds Bob Rosenbauer, who has retired from USGS after directing the Center for nearly 6 years. Thanks to Bob (now a USGS emeritus scientist) and welcome to Guy! Contact: Jane Reid,, 831-460-7402.posted: 2017-01-13

USGS Oceanographer attends the Annual American Meteorological Society Meeting to Overview New USGS–National Weather Service Collaboration

SPCMSC Research Oceanographer Joseph Long will present at the upcoming American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting, held in Seattle, Washington, January 22–26, 2017. The presentation will focus on a collaboration between the USGS and NOAA/NWS to develop and validate an operational model for coastal water levels.

posted: 2017-01-12

Using corals as archives of past sea-surface temperatures

Corals provide a useful archive of ocean conditions because they live for centuries and record environmental variability in their calcium carbonate skeletons. On Monday, Jan. 1, USGS Research Marine Biologist Ilsa Kuffner and Research Geologist Julie Richey published a research article in the journal Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems entitled “Fidelity of the Sr/Ca proxy in recording ocean temperature in the western Atlantic coral Siderastrea siderea”. This work advances the application of the skeletal strontium-to-calcium ratio as a temperature proxy by providing new quality control protocols, thereby strengthening inferences about past climate variability reconstructed using coral records. This research was funded by and represents synergy between two USGS mission areas (Hazards, and Climate and Land Use Change).

posted: 2017-01-04

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