Agencies to study erosion's effects on Kachemak Bay

Posted: Sunday, June 23, 2002

HOMER (AP) -- Researchers from various agencies will study erosion in Kachemak Bay this summer.

The joint project is good news for property owners along Homer's eroding bluffs. Some homeowners have reported single season losses of up to 30 feet from their front yards.

Directing the effort will be the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve, the U.S. Geological Survey Marine and Coastal Geology Program and the city of Homer. Frank Smith, a Bellevue, Wash. representative of Northwest Research Associates, also will participate in the sediment transport and erosion monitoring project.

Carmen Field with the Research Reserve said the study seeks to gain a better idea of the behavior of the coastal sediment.

''We live in a very dynamic area that is always changing,'' Field told the Homer Tribune.

Landowners and city officials stand to benefit from the study as they work to reduce the impacts of both chronic and catastrophic coastal erosion.

The project will examine natural processes, long-term changes and the effects of man-made structures on beach dynamics.

One tool will be a remote video monitoring system installed in the Homer area to relay video data to a central laboratory computer in California for processing. Digital video images of various colors and shades will provide information that is difficult to obtain with conventional sensing methods.

''This is part of a study where they are trying to figure out if there are patterns, and what the patterns are on a geologic scale, on a historical scale the last 100 to 150 years and a more seasonal scale,'' Field said.

Similar techniques have been used in Washington state, where numerous homes have fallen victim to coastal erosion, according to Field.

''They're dealing with the same ocean, just down the coast,'' she said.

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