A NOAA Pilot Project in the St. Johns River Watershed
What is the Coastal Storms Initiative (CSI)?
The Coastal Storms Initiative is a nationwide effort to lessen the impacts of storms on coastal communities. Federal, state and local organizations are cooperating in this first pilot project on the St. Johns River watershed in Northeastern Florida.
Why this effort?
More than half the U.S. population lives in the coastal zone and more are moving into it every day. In Florida, no one lives more than 75 miles from the coast. Storms have effects wherever they strike, but they have particularly heavy impacts in coastal areas. Storm surges, wave action, high winds, and heavy rainfall can all combine to provide effects that slow or shut down the life in coastal communities, disrupt normal activities, damage property, and injure people.
Storms also have effects on the natural environment, not all of which are bad. The effects that are not good are those caused by man-made materials such as fuels, pesticides, and chemicals that may be turned loose in the environment during storms. The more we know about predicting storms and the effects they may have, the better we can prepare, and thus ameliorate the effects.
How will the Coastal Storms Initiative work?
Nine research projects are underway to determine or improve information that will become the building block material for computer models. These models will be available to the public and to government and private organizations throughout the St. Johns River Watershed, and to anyone else interested in this improved way of determining effects of storms.
The projects include:
- Shallow water bathymetry of the St. Johns River
- Improved oceanographic and meteorological observations
- A St. Johns River circulation model
- Ecological forecasting of coastal storm impacts on marine resources
- Improved prediction of coastal winds, waves, and flooding
- A community risk and vulnerability assessment tool
- In addition, a team is working to integrate existing data with new data and to provide for easy access to the information by anyone interested in storms in this area.
- Outreach and extension work for this project is being provided by the Florida Sea Grant Extension program.