Seasonal shifts of beaches and sandbars impact tourism
Surfersvillage Global Surf News, 16 November, 2014 - Planners, surfers and wildlife managers look forward to the release of 3-D depictions of the Santa Cruz shoreline scheduled to post online by Jan 1, 2015. The maps are designed to deepen understanding of the seasonal shifts of beaches and sandbars.
That understanding could be important for Santa Cruz jobs and revenue because sand beaches attract tourists. Annual visitor spending exceeded $500 million according to a 2010 study for the Santa Cruz County Conference and Visitors Council. That's 18.5 percent of the year's total taxable sales in the county reported by the state board of equalization.
"It's in the public interest to see what the shore zone looks like," said Patrick Barnard of the U.S. Geological Survey, the agency developing the maps.
A team of 15 USGS scientists collected measurements that comprise an encyclopedic view of the oceanfront and sea floor Oct. 20-24. They traversed the area from dunes and cliffs out to one mile offshore, between Steamer Lane and Moss Landing, recording about a million elevation points on land and an equal number of depth soundings at sea.
The scientists plan to repeat the surveys before and after storms to map locations vulnerable to floods and erosion.
"We would use it as a tool for risk assessment," said Katie Cattan, a senior planner with the city of Capitola.