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Coastal & Marine Geology Program > Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies > Open File Report 01-303

A Summary of Findings of the West-Central Florida Coastal Studies Project

USGS Open File Report 01-303

Purpose & Scope
Strategy, Data,
& Products
Study Area Characteristics
Early Geologic History
Coastal/Inner Shelf System
Study Objectives:
Primary Objectives
Study Findings:
Geologic Template
Infilled Shelf Valleys
Shelf Sedimentary
Hardbottom Development
Barrier Island Studies
Appendix 1
Appendix 2
Appendix 3

Ramifications for the Present and the Future

As primarily a geologic framework study the end result is to understand how this inner shelf and coastal system evolved over the middle to late Holocene and to identify the primary geologic forces active during that period of time. Revealing the distribution of sand bodies, their morphology, and sediment type was a primary goal and this information can be used to pick sites for sand renourishment of beaches. Also, the identification of hardbottom areas and extent of benthic communities is important information to choose areas for dumping dredge spoil as well as to identify habitat for fish and to locate recreational sites for fishing and diving. The distribution of sand and hardbottom areas can also be used by commercial fisherman to guide them in their activities. The seismic data allows groundwater geologists to better define the hydrostratigraphy that would lead to a better understanding of regional groundwater uses.

Since the behavior of the coastline is weather and climate dependent , it is impossible to predict where the coastline will be in the coming few years, decades, or longer. We cannot predict with any meaningful accuracy the weather, tropical storm activity, and climate changes in those time frames, so any specific predictions as to shoreline position, inlet behavior, barrier- island morphology, and resulting impact on human activity and property is meaningless. However, based upon our understanding of the recent past and certain geologic facts such as the lack of any new inputs of sand into the system, we can conclude that areas of critical coastal erosion will continue to be areas of concern. The lack of a major tropical storm striking this area since the mid 1920's coupled with the enormous growth in development since that time should remind all citizens of the potential for major destruction should the study area receive a direct hit.

Coastal & Marine Geology Program > Center for Coastal and Watershed Studies > Open File Report 01-303

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