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Coastal & Marine Geology Program > Coastal Classification Mapping Project

Coastal Classification Mapping Project

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West-Central Florida coast line.
Figure 1: Western Florida coastline.
The Nation's rapidly growing population of coastal residents and their demand for reliable information regarding the vulnerability of coastal regions to storm impacts have created a need for classifying coastal lands and evaluating storm hazard vulnerability. Government officials and resource managers responsible for dealing with natural hazards also need accurate assessments of potential storm impacts in order to make informed decisions before, during, and after major storm events. Mitigating damage to natural coastal resources and economic development depend on integrating models of storm parameters, hazard vulnerability, and expected coastal responses. Thus storm hazard vulnerability assessments constitute one of the fundamental components of forecasting storm impacts.

Each summer at least 10-12 named hurricanes and tropical storms will be the focus of national attention. Of particular interest are the intense storms (category 3-5 of the Saffir-Simpson scale) that have the potential to cause substantial economic and environmental damage to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the United States. These coastal regions include some of the largest metropolitan areas in the country and they continue to experience rapid population growth. Judging from past newspaper articles and television reports, there is a general lack of knowledge regarding how different coastal segments will respond to the same storm or how the same coastal segment will respond differently depending on storm conditions.

A primary purpose of the USGS National Assessment of Coastal Change Project was to provide accurate representations of pre-storm ground conditions for areas that are designated high priority because they have dense populations or valuable resources that are at risk. Another purpose of the project was to develop a broad coastal classification that, with only minor modification, can be applied to most coastal regions in the United States.

Coastal & Marine Geology Program > Coastal Classification Mapping Project U. S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center

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Updated April 15, 2014 @ 01:46 PM (JSS)