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Jaxon Scott
Jaxon Scott

Joanna Storm

Coastal habitats are vulnerable to storms, and with increasing urbanization, sea level rise, and storm frequency, some urban populations are at risk. This study examined perceptions of respondents in coastal and central New Jersey to Superstorm Sandy, including: 1) concerns about ecological resources and effects (open-ended question), 2) information sources for ecology of the coast (open-ended), and 3) ratings of a list of ecological services as a function of demographics, location (coastal, central Jersey), stressor level (power outages, high winds, flooding) and recreational rates. "Wildlife" and "fish" were the ecological concerns mentioned most often, while beaches and dunes were most often mentioned for environmental concerns. Television, radio, and web/internet were sources trusted for ecological information. The data indicate 1) stressor level was a better predictor of ratings of ecological services than geographical location, but days engaged in recreation contributed the most to variations in ratings, 2) ecological services were rated the highest by respondents with the highest stressor levels, and by those from the coast, compared to others, 3) Caucasians rated ecological services higher than all others, and 4) recreational rates were highest for coastal respondents, and ratings for ecological services increased with recreational rates. Only 20 % of respondents listed specific ecological services as one of their three most important environmental concerns. These data will be useful for increasing preparedness, enhancing educational strategies for shore protection, and providing managers and public policy makers with data essential to developing resiliency strategies.

joanna storm

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Rebecca Fallon '99 takes a GPS reading during the Spring Creek storm damage assessment.In late June 1998, a severe thunderstorm affected much of the Cannon River watershed, including Spring Creek, which runs through the Carleton campus. Abutments of the Highway 19 bridge over the Creek were damaged, destroying part of the roadway and causing a semi-trailer to get stuck. Further upstream, a few houses were flooded, banks were eroded and an enormous amount of sediment was moved. By late January, the College was beginning to consider a protracted and expensive project to "repair" eroding streambanks on College property upstream of Lyman Lakes. On the basis of a quick walk-through in February, I doubted that eroding stream banks were a major future source of sediment to the lakes. Working out the details was a perfect project for the thirteen-student Advanced Geomorphology class in the spring, which was to focus on watershed analysis and a long-term monitoring network for Spring Creek.Here is a short list of our accomplishments during the course: We added information to the GIS database for Spring Creek watershed. (Joanna Reuter (Carleton '00) and Miriam Krause (Pomona '00) created the GIS during a 1998 Keck project). This GIS has been made available to the City of Northfield and to the public, through the Northfield Library through an ENTS concentration capstone project. The GIS is accessible on the web at We presented to Carleton's Facilities office and its consulting civil engineer and landscape architect the results of our study on streambank erosion on the College's part of Spring Creek including recommendations about bank stabilization and reports on flood effects of 1998.We completed a preliminary monitoring plan for lower Spring Creek, including choosing sites for weirs and other permanent installations, devising plans for bank erosion and pond sedimentation studies, and continued biological monitoring. We completed a preliminary biological survey of aquatic invertebrates that shows that part of the Creek (between Second Street and Wall St. Road) has stable riffles and pools and that the riffles, in particular, show high biological diversity. We completed a preliminary water chemistry survey of Spring Creek to show the sources of water and develop hypotheses of how surface and ground water sources interact.The high point of the class was the presentation to college officials on June 4, 1999 that focused on the stream banks. Students prepared a map showing areas of eroding stream banks, including the five sites (of 35 total) that we felt should be stabilized. All 35 bank sites are described in a database accessible through the GIS. We determined that the 1998 storm was highly unusual in the recent record in the amount of coarse sediment (mostly sand) that was transported into Upper Lyman Lake. We also found that vegetation on the Spring Creek floodplain slowed the floodwaters, allowing even more sediment to be deposited on the floodplain and preventing additional erosion. We concluded that the reach of Spring Creek on the campus above the Second Street bridge into the Arb is a healthy biological community, with stable riffles and pools and that disturbance along this reach should be minimized.We were also able to suggest specific remediation measures for the relatively few banks that we believe need to be stabilized.Dennis Easley, the Superintendent of Grounds, said this about the presentation: "I thought the work and the presentations by the students were done exceptionally well. They were thorough and informative. The College often talks about educational opportunities in the Arb, but in Facilities we rarely see anything that is useful to us. This was certainly a profound exception to that perception. Thanks for bringing it all together."Return to The Carleton College Geology Dept. Home Page

When dark clouds gather in the distance, two friends come together to comfort each other through the storm. They shield each other through the rain, make a fort inside, and play games between claps of thunder. Through it all, they come back to a consistent plea: Stay. Stay through the storm.

Potomac Economics Vice President Carrie Bivens told NPR she continues to be concerned about certain market outcomes that came out of February's storm. "The commission faced a difficult decision with the potential for unintended consequences in either direction," she said.

A new research project starts this week to find out how quickly sand dunes along the east coast of England recover from the erosion caused by massive storm surges like the one that struck the UK coastline on 5 December 2013.

Many scientists predict these coastal storm surges will become both more frequent and more severe. Not just that, but climate change scenarios suggest that sea level will rise at a rate of 4mm a year, rising to over 12mm a year after 2055. This means making the right coastal management decisions will become increasingly important.

Professor Bullard and colleagues will take advantage of the record-breaking 5 December 2013 storm surge to gather data from three sites along the UK's Lincolnshire coast. The researchers visited the sites in question to collect data immediately after the storm and then again two weeks later. They'll use the data gathered to test the models coastal planners currently use.

The 2013 storm surge seriously eroded sand dunes and beaches along England's North Sea coast. But because the dunes are advancing towards the sea in these areas, they're seen as less vulnerable than retreating coastlines. This means they're rarely investigated and so aren't very well-understood. Professor Bullard and her colleagues hope to plug this gap in our knowledge.

She said: "Dunes play a crucial role in coastal defence, forming a barrier to inland flooding and dissipating storm energy so reducing risk to lives and damage to infrastructure. But we know very little about how resilient these dunes are, nor how quickly they recover after being eroded by storm surges."

The researchers will measure the size and shape of sand dunes along the Lincolnshire coastline every two weeks over the course of a year to see how they change following the 5 December storm surge. The sites are all within two kilometres of each other. They'll also use data on wind speed and direction to understand which winds contribute the most to dune-building.

Professor Duncan Wingham, chief executive of NERC (Natural Environment Research Council), said: "Understanding how quickly, and under what conditions, coastal dunes can recover their shape and ecological and defence functions following erosion by a storm event is vital information that coastal planners need as the climate changes. For this reason, we're delighted to be funding this important research." 041b061a72


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