Sunday, January 24, 2010

research field site

For those of you unfamiliar with my research, I am focusing on developing a methodology for incorporating climate variability into the vulnerability assessments. Currently, most communities rely on the FEMA Flood Insurance Rate Maps (FIRM) as the foundation for determining coastal hazard areas. However, this approach does not include long term changes (shoreline erosion/accretion) or climate variability (sea level changes, increasing wave heights, etc).

One of the regions I am first applying this methodology is in S. Oregon near the Coos Bay/Bandon area. Since I had never actually been that far south on the coast and I feel that visiting field sites is very important, I took a trip to scope out the area a few weekends ago. This particular area is experiencing relatively less hazards (when compared to Oregon's central/north coast) so I actually had difficulties finding dramatic natural hazard photos. However, I did manage to find several homes at risk and development pressures may soon increase the amount of infrastructure being built in locations vulnerable to accelerated erosion/flooding events.

Several homes near the S. jetty of the Coquille River. The boulders that make up this jetty (built in the late 1800's) were blasted from a monolith considered sacred to the Coquille Indians...

Winter waves are reaching these bluffs and undercutting the mud base layer.
Another view of the toe of the bluffs being eroded.

A potentially vulnerable beach front home --note the scarpped dunes and driftwood.

This area also had some amazing sea stacks that we were able to walk up to at low tide. This one was my favorite.

Brown pelican taking flight after I got too close

The Coquille River light house. Decomissioned 1939.


Humbolt squid. These are rare to find on the Oregon coast because they prefer warmer waters. Occasionally they are found this far north during El Nino years...which is suiting since winter 2010 marks the start of a moderate El Nino year.

My first porcupine sighting!!

The North jetty of the Coquille River. We walked out about half way and then the rocks on the sides disappeared--most likely dragged away beneath the waves. I started feeling pretty vulnerable myself and couldn't walk out to the end --probably a smart choice.

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