"At Ocean's Edge: Coastal Change in Southwest Washington" visually illustrates erosion problem areas along Southwest Washington's dynamic coast. Footage shows the forces of nature in action and a variety of scientific methods that are being used to sort out the causes of long-term coastal changes.
Interviews with scientists, local government officials, and coastal residents reveal the broad range and complexity of the issues confronting coastal communities and the efforts being made to resolve these issues.
"We need to be mindful that today's decisions about where and how we develop along the coast will have to be dealt with by future generations," said Gordon White, manager of Ecology's Shorelands and Environmental Assistance Program. "The coastal erosion study already is providing the kind of hard evidence that will help us make smarter decisions about protecting Washington's coast."
The coastal zone is a dynamic environment capable of significant change over the course of a human lifetime. Historically, the southwest coast of Washington expanded as sand supplied by the Columbia River nourished coastal landforms. Today, however, that growth trend is changing and many areas along Washington's ocean coast are experiencing erosion at unprecedented rates, placing at risk community infrastructure, economic livelihood and recreational opportunities.
This video presents coastal erosion hot spots and the work being conducted through the Southwest Washington Coastal Erosion Study, a Federal-State-Local partnership, jointly directed by the US Geological Survey and the Washington State Department of Ecology, with active participation of the local communities. Field research is being performed in a wide array of disciplines, including coastal processes and coastal geology. Results will serve as a base of knowledge for use by coastal communities in land-use planning and decision-making. Sound management based on a scientific understanding of the coastal system will help ensure sustainable development, both economic and environmental, throughout the region, affording future generations similar opportunities for living, working and playing at ocean's edge.