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A Preliminary Assessment of Georgia Coastal Hazards: A Low-Cost Approach
Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs (2010)
  • Rochelle F. Petruccelli, University of West Georgia
  • Chester W. Jackson, Georgia Southern University
  • David M. Bush, University of West Georgia
  • Clark A. Alexander

As global sea levels rise and as coastal populations grow, coastal managers, planners, and other decision makers need to cost-effectively assess and monitor coastal hazards as part of a science-based approach to managing the shoreline. Low-cost methods of coastal hazards assessment were employed along the entire Georgia coast. The Georgia coast consists of six counties. From north to south, they are: Chatham (includes Savannah and Tybee Island), Bryan, Liberty, McIntosh (includes Sapelo island), Glynn (includes Brunswick plus Jekyll, Sea, and St. Simons Islands), and Camden (includes Cumberland Island).

The assessment technique involves simple, but scientifically sound, procedures such as photo documentation, beach profiling, and geoindicator evaluations. The beach profile procedure used in assessing the Georgia coast is the Emery stake-and-horizon method. Profiles taken at least annually will be sufficient for monitoring, but more frequent measurements may help determine how the beach responds to weather changes throughout the year or to specific weather events. The geoindicator checklist measures the physical properties to determine the risk factor of a particular location due to sea-level rise, storm surge flooding, riverine flooding, wind events, and so forth. The strengths of such approaches are that they are low-cost, field-oriented, conducted by local stakeholders (as opposed to commercial, disinterested entities), and provide immediate results. They provide information that can be more rapidly incorporated into decision making than methods relying on sophisticated instrumentation and complex databases.

In total, 27 sites were occupied on barrier islands. Only four of Georgia’s barrier islands are developed (Tybee, Jekyll, St. Simons and Sea Islands); all but Sea Island are public. Of the 27 sites on the barrier islands, both beach profiles and geoindicators checklist data were collected at 22 sites. A total of 33 mainland/estuarine sites were established with geoindicators checklist data collected. Nine sites in two counties (McIntosh and Camden) had been evaluated in 2001 and re-evaluated as part of this study. The data are compiled for presentation into 3-ring binders and as pdf files for ready reference by interested parties.

  • Sea level rise,
  • SLR,
  • Georgia Coast,
  • Barrier islands
Publication Date
Citation Information
Rochelle F. Petruccelli, Chester W. Jackson, David M. Bush, and Clark A. Alexander. "A Preliminary Assessment of Georgia Coastal Hazards: A Low-Cost Approach" Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs 42.5 (2010): 290.