The coastline of Alaska is dynamic and continually readjusting to changes in the many processes that operate in the coastal zone. Because of this dynamic nature, special consideration must be made in planning for development, and. caution must be exercised in site selection for facilities to be emplaced in the coastal zone. All types of coastal processes from continuously active normal processes to the low frequency-high intensity rare event must be considered. Site-specific evaluation-s considering the broad range of possible processes must precede initiation of development.
An example of the relation between coastal processes and a proposed resource treatment facility is presented for Icy Bay, Alaska. Icy Bay is the only sheltered bay near many of the offshore tracts leased for petroleum exploration in the 1976 northern Gulf of Alaska OCS (Outer Continental Shelf) lease sale. Consequently, it has been selected as a primary onshore staging site for the support of offshore exploration and development. The environment of Icy Bay has many potentially hazardous features, including a submarine moraine at the bay mouth and actively calving glaciers at the bay's head which produce many icebergs. But most significant from the point of view of locating onshore facilities and pipeline corridors are the high rates of shoreline erosion and sediment deposition. If pipelines or any onshore staging facilities are to be placed in the coastal areas of Icy Bay, then the dynamic changes in shoreline position must be considered so that man-made structures will not be eroded away or be silted in before the completion of development.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Impact of coastal processes on resource development with an example from Icy Bay, Alaska
U.S. Geological Survey,
13 leaves,  leaves of plates :maps ;28 cm.; (20 p. - PGS)