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USGS Scientists Participate in a Workshop on Dredging, Beach Nourishment, and Bird Conservation

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piping plover
Above: Piping plover, a small shorebird that nests on sandy beaches from South Carolina to Newfoundland (for more information, visit the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Piping Plover Web page). Since 1986, the Atlantic coast population has been protected as a threatened species under the U.S. Endangered Species Act. Photograph by Luther Goldman, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. [larger version]

Several U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) scientists were invited to participate in a workshop on dredging, beach nourishment, and bird conservation sponsored by the American Bird Conservancy and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, October 25-27, 2005, in Islip, NY. The second of four such regional workshops, this meeting focused on the Atlantic Coast from Maine to Virginia (for more information, load the 24 KB PDF file from URL http://el.erdc.usace.army.mil/05oct-birdwksp.pdf). The workshop brought together a diverse crowd of ornithologists, engineers, coastal geologists, project planners, ecologists, geomorphologists, regulators, and others to share information across their disciplines.

A session titled "Coastal Processes, Coastal Engineering, and Sediment Management" was chaired by USGS coastal-marine geologist and specialist in offshore sand and gravel resources S. Jeffress Williams (Woods Hole, MA). Williams also presented a paper titled "Geologic Character and Sand Resources of the Atlantic Inner Continental Shelf, Maine to Virginia." Other participants from the USGS were Wallace P. Bolen, a sand-and-gravel commodity specialist at the USGS National Center (Reston, VA); Jeffrey A. Spendelow, a wildlife biologist at the Patuxent Wildlife Research Center (Laurel, MD); and David R. Smith, a statistician at the Leetown Science Center (Kearneysville, WV).

Beach nourishment is the improvement or restoration of eroded coastal beaches through the placement of sand and gravel; this material is normally obtained by dredging offshore sand and gravel deposits. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers usually manages these offshore-dredging and beach-nourishment activities, in cooperation with the Minerals Management Service; other Federal, State, and local government agencies; and private dredging companies.

The workshop included presentations about the environmental costs and benefits of offshore dredging and beach nourishment. The USGS has conducted numerous studies that include regional-scale geologic mapping of offshore areas for the evaluation of sand resources on the inner continental shelf, and Williams is leading a project to assess offshore aggregate resources nationwide. These studies, as well as others on how wildlife responds to beach-replenishment projects, will help the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the bird-conservation community coordinate their activities on coasts around the Nation.

Related Web Sites
Piping Plover Web page
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
American Bird Conservancy
non-profit organization
US Army Corps of Engineers Home Page
U.S. Army

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in this issue: Fieldwork
cover story:
New Equipment Deployed to Map Sea-Floor Geology

Sea Squirt Colonies Persist on Georges Bank

Outreach USGS Briefing Reveals Lessons from Katrina and Rita

USGS Woods Hole Staff Go to Washington, D.C., for Oceans 2005

USGS Scientists Featured in News Segment on Broken Levees

Meetings USGS Scientists Participate in Beach Nourishment Workshop

Awards CHIPS Team Wins Award for Innovation in Integrated Science

Keith Miles Wins Unsung Hero Award

Marlene Noble Wins Reimbursable Activities Recognition Award

Tsunami Researchers Win the Western Region Communicator of the Year Award

USGS Volunteer Wins AAPG Pacific Section Award for Best Paper

Publications November Publications List

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