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Second West-Central Florida Coastal Studies Workshop

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Open File Report: Second West-Central Florida Coastal Studies Workshop
Chief Scientist


To address the erosion problem of the west-central Florida coast, Congress directed the U. S. Geological Survey's Marine and Coastal Geology Program in 1993 to initiate the West-Central Florida Coastal Studies Project. The project was partially funded as a pilot study the first year. The project is completing the third year of full funding for the projected 5-year effort.
Figure 1: Location map for study.

The overall goal of the study, which covers an area from approximately Anclote Key in the north to Venice Inlet in the south (Figure 1), is to understand the recent geologic history of the barrier island system and the processes that control the distribution and transport of sediment on the inner shelf. Specific objectives are:

  • To understand the geologic control on the position and development of the barrier islands and tidal inlets.
  • To determine a sediment budget including sources, sinks, and pathways for sediment on the inner shelf and barrier islands.
  • To determine the effects of past geologic and oceanographic events that might control the morphology and sedimentary processes of the coastal system.

In cooperation with the University of South Florida and Eckerd College, a multi-disciplinary plan was developed to address these objectives. The research plan is divided into four major categories: Data Management, Processes, Framework, and Morphodynamics. The Data Management portion of this project is designed to allow easy sharing of data amongst investigators, and ultimately to give access to local and State managers and planners. All digital data is being added to a project Geographical Information System (GIS) centrally located at the USGS's St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center in St. Petersburg, FL. The Processes portion of the project includes field studies of the circulation and hydrography on the west-Florida shelf, numerical modeling of the shelf to explore the role of the passage of cold fronts across the shelf, and the interpretation of satellite imagery to document the complex spatial patterns of shelf processes. The Framework portion of the project includes reconnaissance high-resolution seismic and side-scan sonar surveys across the entire study area, detailed side-scan sonar mosaics of selected sites to identify patterns of hard grounds and sediment cover, and coring of sediments to document historical development of the inner shelf and coastal system. The Morphodynamics portion of the project includes characterizing the stratigraphy and geological development of the barrier islands, and understanding the Holocene evolution of the flood and ebb tidal deltas.

This report is a compilation of extended abstracts from a workshop held at the USGS's St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center in St. Petersburg, FL in June, 1996. The purpose of the workshop held in June and of this report is to document the status of the ongoing studies, and to share with other investigators research findings that may be relevant to them. In addition, this report will allow interested local, State and Federal agencies to keep apprised of ongoing studies in the West-Central Florida Coastal Studies Project and to have input into future investigations. This report represents the second progress report for this study. The first report documenting progress in the study was published in June 1995 as OFR 95-840, and is also available upon request.


I would like to thank Cindee Politano and D'Nelle Bloechel for assisting with the workshop, Stephen Smith for cover art and graphics support, and Cindee Politano for assisting with this report.


Coastal & Marine Geology Program > St. Petersburg Coastal and Marine Science Center > West-Central Florida Coastal Studies Project > Introduction U. S. Department of the Interior | U.S. Geological Survey
Center for Coastal & Regional Marine Studies

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Updated May 06, 2013 @ 09:24 AM  (JSS)