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News Briefs

News Briefs

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Time-Lapse View of California Highway 1 Reconstruction After 2017 Landslide Time-Lapse View of California Highway 1 Reconstruction After 2017 Landslide

July 18—USGS scientists produced an animated GIF in coordination with the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) re-opening of State Highway 1 through Big Sur on July 18, 2018. In 2017, the massive Mud Creek landslide buried a quarter-mile of the famous coastal route with rocks and dirt more than 65 feet deep. As part of a new research project to monitor erosion along the landslide-prone cliffs of Big Sur, USGS scientists collected aerial photos before and after the slide, and during the construction project. By analyzing overlapping photos, they made precise maps of the slopes and calculated volumes of material lost or gained over time. Our researchers shared data and images with Caltrans to help ensure the safety of workers and the success of the road reconstruction. More: https://www.usgs.gov/center-news/time-lapse-view-california-highway-1-reconstruction-after-2017-landslide

Photo of osprey chick Ospreys Benefit as Contaminants Decrease in Delaware Estuary

July 10—Lower levels of environmental contaminants—including pesticides, flame retardants, and other pollutants—were recently found in osprey eggs in the Delaware Estuary compared to those tested from the 1970s through the early 2000s. USGS scientists looked at conditions in 2015 and concluded that contaminant levels do not seem to pose a substantial risk to individual ospreys or their population numbers in the Delaware Estuary. “We are seeing less contamination now in the Delaware Estuary, and this likely reflects reduced pollution and ongoing cleanup efforts by local, state, and federal governments as well as conservation groups, the public, and other organizations working together to improve the estuary’s health, ultimately helping with the upswing in breeding success for ospreys,” said USGS ecotoxicologist Barnett Rattner, who is the lead author of this study. More: https://www.usgs.gov/news/ospreys-benefit-contaminants-decrease-delaware-estuary

Graphic of wave energy and cliff edge retreat Sea Level Rise Could Double Erosion Rates of Southern California Coastal Cliffs

July 9—Coastal cliffs from Santa Barbara to San Diego might crumble at more than twice the historical rate by the year 2100 as sea levels rise. USGS scientists combined several computer models for the first time to forecast cliff erosion along the Southern California coast. The research also showed that for sea-level rise scenarios ranging from about 1.5 feet to 6.6 feet by 2100, bluff tops along nearly 300 miles of Southern California coasts could lose an average of 62 to 135 feet by 2100–and much more in some areas. “Sea cliff retreat is a serious hazard,” said USGS research geologist and lead author Patrick Limber. “Unlike beaches, cliffs can be stable for decades between large landslides that remove several feet of bluff top.” More: https://www.usgs.gov/news/sea-level-rise-could-double-erosion-rates-southern-california-coastal-cliffs

Graphic map of inundation from Hurricane Harvey Post-Harvey Report Provides Inundation Maps and Flood Details on “Largest Rainfall Event Recorded in US History”

July 9—Nineteen inundation maps and detailed flood information from Hurricane Harvey are now available from the USGS in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). Hurricane Harvey’s widespread 8-day rainfall, which started on August 25, 2017, exceeded 60 inches in some locations, which is about 15 inches more than average annual amounts of rainfall for eastern Texas and the Texas coast. “The USGS had more than 100 employees from 16 states in the field working around the clock for about five weeks collecting flood measurements after the storm,” said Tim Raines, USGS Texas Water Science Center Director. “Our crews are dedicated to making sure emergency managers have the information they need to help keep Texans safe–during the storm and into the future.” More: https://www.usgs.gov/news/post-harvey-report-provides-inundation-maps-and-flood-details-largest-rainfall-event-recorded

Close up photo of a walrus on a beach Collaborative Species Conservation

July 9—What do gray wolves, manatees, and bears have in common? They are just a few of the species that are part of an important USGS research priority that informs U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decisions for endangered and threatened species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The ESA provides federal protections for at-risk species and addresses the threats they face. Cooperative conservation efforts supported by USGS science can help stabilize a species to a point where federal listing can be avoided, inform the decision to downlist a species from endangered to threatened, or can lead to the delisting of a recovered species. USGS scientists collaborate with federal, state, tribal, and non-governmental partners to provide the science needed for conservation management decisions. More: https://www.usgs.gov/news/collaborative-species-conservation

Graphic map showing study sites discussed in interview USGS Researcher Interviewed on Public Radio's Science Friday

June 29—Research marine biologist Ilsa B. Kuffner was interviewed live by Ira Flatow on Public Radio’s Science Friday last week. She was asked to explain the findings of a paper she co-authored that was published in the Journal of Applied Ecology on the subject of coral-reef “oases”, and to speculate how the results of the paper can help resource managers. She said the results of the study offer hope by demonstrating that pockets of reef still exist that are doing better than expected, likely because of the complex patchwork of environmental conditions in the nearshore oceans and the breadth of coral diversity on many levels. The paper is a product of a USGS John Wesley Powell Center for Analysis and Synthesis working group focused on understanding local-scale coral reef resilience amid global-scale ocean change. More: https://www.usgs.gov/center-news/usgs-researcher-interviewed-public-radios-science-friday

For all USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program news: https://www.usgs.gov/natural-hazards/coastal-and-marine-geology/news

For all USGS news: https://www.usgs.gov/news

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in this issue:

Cover Story Imaging Israel's Dead Sea Fault to Understand How Continents Stretch and Rift

News Brief
News Briefs

Field Work
Recent Fieldwork

Scientists Who Assess Coastal Flooding Threats Receive Leadership Award

Staff amd Center News
Fulbright Scholar Joins Marine Geohazards Project in Woods Hole

July Publications

Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices

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