Pacific Coastal & Marine Science Center
Merged into new project, 2011
The California Urban Ocean Project
California is the most populous state in the union and has a particularly close relationship with its coastal ocean. Two of the five largest metropolitan areas in the nation border the sea and the local citizens are highly dependent upon the sea for recreation, commerce, security, navigation, and waste disposal. As a result of these activities, the ocean and beaches have become contaminated, the coastline has changed, channels and harbors have to be dredged, dredged material (likely contaminated) has to be disposed, and coastal and marine ecosystems have been impacted. Understanding man’s impact on the ocean and the ocean’s impact upon man in the urban setting of California requires a sound understanding of coastal and marine geologic and physical oceanographic processes. These processes act as a continuum affecting geologic particles and man-made materials all the way from their sources in the coastal mountains, plains and cities to their sinks in the continental margins. Along the path human activities change and are changed by the processes. Individual problems could be dealt with on a case by case basis but understanding the link between elements allows better management and planning. Also, following a source to sink approach in tracking particles and substances leads to a better understanding of the processes and the science of sediment transport. In fact, the presence of anthropogenic compounds in coastal sediment transport systems facilitates the tracking of particle movements, along the lines of a vast laboratory experiment.
Our objective is an improved understanding of coastal and marine sediment and contaminant transport processes that have a direct impact on the citizens of California. We follow these processes from source regions, through waterways to coastal estuaries, onto the beaches and continental shelf, and into submarine canyons and basin/fans. These processes include:
These problems are interrelated and benefit from an integrated approach. By pursuing these topics through a multidisciplinary project, we can share resources, integrate our scientific findings, and present a broad scientific view to the local constituents. The whole becomes greater than the sum of the parts. In addition, this integrated approach leads to an understanding of the processes that formed the coastal zone as well as producing an improved description of the zone. Based on the improved understanding that is gained we will produce an updated synthesis of sediment and contaminant transport process within, and its impact to, the coastal and urban ocean areas of California.
This project will investigate sediment and contaminant transport processes in human-impacted areas following a source-to-sink perspective by
We work along the lines of the NSF supported MARGINS project except our environments are near cities and our systems have been changed by man. Our ultimate goal is to understand the relationship of sediment and contaminant transport systems with human and environmental health. We leverage external interests to support much of our field work and data analysis and use appropriated funding to fill in gaps in the externally-supported work to develop comprehensive regional knowledge and models. The current focus of this effort is on southern and central California in an effort to
The project is organized to follow a path through the different components of a source-to-sink system. We consider first the sources of sediment and contaminants on land (Task 2), next estuaries (Task 3), coastal systems (Task 4) and continental shelves (Task 5) and finally canyon/fan systems (sinks, Task 7). Task 6 considers contaminants, their distribution, inventories, budgets, and impact on ecosystems. We have at least one subtask within each component. The choice of which subtask(s) to pursue is based on interest in the local communities, availability of external funds, potential for external funds, and scientific significance. We believe it is important to pursue work in all components because this allows us to deal with the transitions from one system to the next and consider all aspects of sediment and contaminant budgeting. Also, in this way, we can work with external groups in all areas and be able to draw upon their expertise when we ultimately develop synthesis products at the end of the project. In some areas, local expertise and available resources are particularly extensive (e.g., contaminant levels and effects), and we can design our own work so as to maximize its usefulness and impact. This project provides potential for leveraging with developing objectives of the Coastal Ecosystems near-term priority of the Ocean Research Priorities Plan (ORPP). In particular, the project addresses the priority: "Forecasting the Response of Coastal Ecosystems to Persistent Forcing and Extreme Events." Task 9, which is an element of the Southern California Multi-Hazard demonstration project, is oriented toward predicting the response of coasts to extreme storm events and Task 5 is, in part, directed at predicting the response of sediment and contaminant transport systems to storms, internal waves, and large-scale currents.
The California Urban Ocean Project was formerly known as the Southern California Coastal and Marine Geology Regional Investigations (CABRILLO) Project, from 5/1/1996 - 9/30/2005, and is no longer maintained at http://walrus.wr.usgs.gov/cabrillo/
Barnard, P.L., O'Reilly, B., van Ormondt, M., Elias, E., Ruggiero, P., Erikson, L.H., Hapke, C., Collins, B.D., Guza, R.T., Adams, P.N., Thomas, J.T., 2009. The framework of a coastal hazards model: a tool for predicting the impact of severe storms. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009-1073, 21 pp. http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2009/1073/
Barnard, P.L., Revell, D.L., Eshleman, J.L. and Mustain, N., 2007. Carpinteria Coastal Processes Study, 2005-2007: Final Report. U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2007-1217, 130 pp., http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2007/1412/
Barnard, P.L., Revell, D.L., Hoover, D., Warrick, J., Brocatus, J., Draut, A.E., Dartnell, P., Elias, E., Mustain, N., Hart, P.E. and Ryan, H.F., 2009. Coastal processes study of Santa Barbara and Ventura County, California: U.S. Geological Survey Open-File Report 2009-1029, 904 pp. http://pubs.usgs.gov/of/2009/1029/
Barnard, P.L., Rubin, D.M., Harney, J. and Mustain, N., 2007. Field test comparison of an autocorrelation technique for determining grain size using a digital "beachball" camera versus traditional methods. Sedimentary Geology, Volume 201, Number 1-2, p. 180-195, doi:10.1016/j.sedgeo.2007.05.016
Elias, E., Barnard, P.L. and Brocatus, J., 2009. Littoral transport rates in the Santa Barbara Littoral Cell; a process-based model analysis. Journal of Coastal Research, Special Issue 56, 5 pp.
Lee, H.J., and Normark, W.R., eds., 2009, Earth Science in the Urban Ocean: The Southern California Continental Borderland: GSA Special Papers 454 http://specialpapers.gsapubs.org/content/454 and Prologue: doi:10.1130/2009.2454(00)
Mustain, N., Griggs, G. and Barnard, P.L., 2007. A rapid compatibility analysis of potential offshore sand sources for beaches of the Santa Barbara littoral cell. In: Kraus, N.C., Rosati, J.D. (eds.), Coastal Sediments '07, Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on Coastal Engineering and Science of Coastal Sediment Processes, American Society of Civil Engineers, New Orleans, LA, Volume 3, p. 2501-2514
Revell, D.L, Barnard, P.L., Mustain, N. and Storlazzi, C.D., 2008. Influence of harbor construction on downcoast morphological evolution, Santa Barbara, California. Solutions to Coastal Disasters Conference Proceedings, American Society of Civil Engineers, 13 pp.
Revell, D.L., and Griggs, G.B., 2006. Beach width and climate oscillations along Isla Vista, Santa Barbara, California. Shore and Beach, Volume 74, Number 3, p. 8-16.
Revell, D.L. and Griggs, G.B., 2007. Regional shoreline and beach changes in the Santa Barbara sandshed. In: Kraus, N.C., Rosati, J.D. (eds.), Coastal Sediments '07, Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on Coastal Engineering and Science of Coastal Sediment Processes, American Society of Civil Engineers, New Orleans, LA, Volume 3, 14 pp.