Southeastern Section - 62nd Annual Meeting (20-21 March 2013)

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 4:35 PM


RUNYAN, Ryann M.1, SANON, Paul A.1, PERISON-PARRISH, Elizabeth M.1, BUSH, David M.1 and JACKSON Jr., Chester W.2, (1)Department of Geosciences, University of West Georgia, Carrollton, GA 30118, (2)Department of Geology and Geography, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA 30460,

Puerto Rico is a Caribbean island faced with serious concerns as to the stability of shoreline’s position, development, and economic tourism. Aversion to disastrous circumstances is accomplishable with the development of viable coastal compartment management plan for which fosters great attention to the natural setting. Puerto Ricans and their municipalities should have reasonable concern as the vitality of beach tourism and public safety diminishes correspondingly with eroding shoreline, in addition to immediate repercussions of coastal hazards and rising sea-level.

Northwest of San Juan, in the municipal of Toa Baja, Palo Seco is a small coastal community residing along Ensendada de Boca Vieja’s shorelines heavily subjected to erosion. Here, numerous shoreline engineering structures including groins, seawalls, small jetties, and a breakwater exist. The viable economic revenue from historical tourism and the cultural qualities are concerns for preservation; however, another major concern involves the incorporation of coastal vulnerability into the management plan.

Project goal is to apply the coastal-compartmentalization approach to address the natural settings of the community as basis for management plans and decisions. Applying this approach and focusing in on an individual compartment aids in the simplification of management strategies by efficiently prioritizing shoreline segments base on a determined risk-level. Gathering coastal hazards data and development for delineation requires field investigation to acquire geospatial data. Other field methods involve long-term monitoring utilizing geoindicator evaluations and beach profiling. Research for basic geologic/oceanographic setting of study site is to classify the compartment’s physical characteristics. Laboratory methods include gathering current and historical geospatial data, modeling and analyzing field data.

Study aims to reduce potential life, property, an economic loss from current and emerging development in high-risk areas. Coastal living is hazardous and costly, but, the fact remains, both low and high population densities reside in high-risk areas. Reducing vulnerability to coastal hazards and rising sea-level is accomplishable with the incorporation of a coastal compartment approach.