USGS - science for a changing world

Pacific Coastal and Marine Science Center

Sediment Transport in Coastal Environments: Project Overview

Above, scientists deploy a tripod with instruments to measure the effects of the Tijuana River Demonstration Project's sediment and environmental conditions on ocean water turbidity.


Coastal resource managers face a wide range of problems related to sediment transport. Sediment management or questions related to sediment transport are involved in dredging operations, preventing or planning for coastal erosion, evaluation of the impacts of anthropogenic alterations on coastal ecosystems, restoration of coastal habitats, and planning for climate change. To address these questions, coastal managers typically require both site-specific information about sediment transport processes, and predictive models of the outcome of potential management actions.

Understanding of sediment transport processes and the ability to model sediment transport have advanced significantly in recent decades, but important limitations remain. It is still a common practice to report results of sediment transport modeling with limited or no calibration, due to lack of suitable data for calibration. The relative importance of factors governing sediment transport varies between coastal environments due to differences in both sediment properties and physical forcing. The development of robust models of sediment transport applicable to all aquatic environments, and the movement of sediment between them, requires data from a range of settings for testing.

Project objectives are:

  1. Seafloor habitat in Santa Cruz, utilize USGS Coastal and Marine Geology Program expertise to investigate problems in coastal sediment transport that are relevant to sediment management issues, including protection of coastal ecosystems, reducing the risk of natural hazards, and adapting to or predicting effects of climate change
  2. to utilize the results obtained in these studies to improve understanding of sediment transport processes, and incorporate this improved understanding in predictive models
  3. to conduct research and advise resource managers on the impacts of human activities and the effectiveness of restoration measures on river, estuarine, and marine habitats in collaboration with federal, state, and local agencies, and academic partners.



Accessibility FOIA Privacy Policies and Notices logo U.S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Page Contact Information: Laura Zink Torresan
Page Last Modified: 20 May 2014 (lzt)