ronments; (ii) investigate and model interactions among geologic, chemical, and fluid processes; and (iii) complete large, long-term, regional and national, and multidisciplinary studies and assessments of coastal and marine geologic issues. This view of the role of the CMGP was supported by perspectives provided by USGS staff, federal and state agencies, and other users and collaborators (Appendix C).


Effective guidance for CMGP's future must be predicated on a solid understanding of the nature and abilities of the CMGP today. Consequently, the committee spent considerable time reviewing ongoing projects and present capabilities of the CMGP. These are discussed here to more fully enlighten the reader about CMGP as it exists today and to form a basis for future change.

The 1997 Five-Year Plan identified four themes as the focus of investigations in CMGP: 1) environmental quality and preservation, 2) natural hazards and public safety, 3) natural resources, and 4) information and technology. Studies in each of these scientific themes are broken down into two general types: fundamental and regional. Fundamental studies, which typically account for approximately 5 percent of the annual CMGP budget (Fig. 2-1b), are designed to improve the basic quantitative understanding of the complex geologic processes active in the marine and coastal environments. Results from such studies are relevant to a wide variety of coastal and marine regions, and they also enhance predictive capabilities useful for anticipating future long-and short-term changes. Regional studies typically develop a description of a specific marine and coastal geologic system where problems significant to specific subthemes are identified. A description of the present CMGP focus and activities, organized by the themes and subthemes, is presented below.

Theme 1: Environmental Quality and Preservation

With the growing pressures from human activities along the U.S. seaboard, the quality and preservation of the coastal and marine environment have become urgent issues. Science-based management of these areas requires the development of a basic understanding of the natural and anthropogenic factors that influence the quality of the environment. The CMGP has a role in investigating the dynamics of geologic processes affecting our coastal and marine environments today through sampling, data collection, and modeling (e.g., the Large-Scale Coastal Modeling Project and the Inner Shelf Dynamics Project). In addition, by participating in such multiagency, multiinstitutional projects as STRATAFORM (the Origin of Marine Stratification), the CMGP also examines long-term geologic changes through studies of the sedimentary records preserved in seafloor environments. Such studies provide the geologic framework of the coastal areas

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