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USGS National Sand and Gravel Synthesis/Assessment Workshop

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One of the basic elements of the USGS mission from its founding over 120 years ago has been to conduct surveys and scientific assessments of the Nation's landmass and natural resources, both onshore and around the submarine continental margins. Whereas the focus over the past century has been on terrestrial lands, some surveys have been done for marine regions of the U.S., extending from the coast 200 n. mi seaward to the EEZ limit. The USGS, as well as the Army Corps of Engineers, MMS contractors, and various coastal State agencies have conducted several geological/geophysical investigations over the past 40 years to decipher the extent, character, and geologic origins of marine sand and gravel aggregates. The results of these studies are often in obscure "gray literature" and are not readily available. With the growing issues of rapid coastal erosion and pervasive shoreline development, there is growing interest in evaluating marine sand bodies as potential fill for public beach nourishment projects. To meet the need to assemble and assess available nation-wide data on marine sand and gravel resources, Frank Manheim (Reston) and Jeff Williams (WHFC) initiated a study this year in partnership with the Corps, MMS, and State and academic marine geologists.

On January 23rd, a group of USGS scientists and technical staff participated in a one-day workshop at the Woods Hole Field Center for the USGS National Sand and Gravel Assessments Project. The main purpose was to identify available USGS and external sources of information and databases on offshore sand and gravel around the continental margins of the U.S., including Alaska, the Great Lakes, and U.S. island territories in the Caribbean and Pacific. Other goals included identifying available or interested participants in the forthcoming assessment work; discussing database development systems, data linkage and integration; reviewing the availability and potential for integration of bathymetric coverage and supporting geophysical data; and exploring a strategy for integration of onshore and offshore sand and gravel assessments.

Participants in the workshop included Frank Manheim and Val Tepordei (Reston), Monty Hampton and Jane Reid (Menlo Park and Santa Cruz), Bill Langer and Roger Melick (Denver), Jim Flocks (St. Petersburg), and Dan Martin (TPMC/NOAA, Scituate, MA). Participants from the Woods Hole team included Jeff Williams, Polly Hastings, Chris Polloni, Larry Poppe, Jamey Reid, Kathy Scanlon, Bill Schwab, Nancy Soderberg, and Dave Twichell. Other attendees included Debbie Hutchinson, Marilyn ten Brink, Dave Walsh, Jack Hathaway, and Brad Butman (WHFC).

Workshop presentations and discussions focused on four topics: Regional Data Resources, Land Aggregates, Technical Issues, and Program Planning.

Results of the workshop will be presented in a forthcoming report that will contain:

  • a summary of the meeting, including data/visuals presented at the meeting, and

  • details of the Program Planning session for moving ahead on a synthesis report(s). The report(s) likely will consist of chapters for each region of the country detailing the state-of-knowledge about the character and distribution of marine sand and gravel resources. The reports consisting of maps and text will be web-based and summarized in short hardcopy executive summaries.

If anyone inadvertently missed hearing about this new study or attending this workshop and has an interest in the topic, please contact Frank or Jeff.

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Natural Hydrocarbons in Gulf of Alaska

Outreach Black History Month

Glacial Floods Video

Meetings Coastal Marsh Die-Back in Gulf of Mexico

Carbonate Beaches 2000

USGS Information: Electronic Age

CMG Program Webmasters

Leaky Coastal Margins / Karst Interest Group

Nat'l Sand & Gravel

Ordnance Mine Burial

Awards Monterey Bay

Partnership Publications

Earthquake Hazards Video

Publications March Publications List

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