While the coast of the Pacific Northwest becomes populated with houses, condominiums, motels, and restaurants, its beaches and cliffs continue to be altered by ocean currents and winter storms. A companion volume to Living with the Shore of Puget Sound and the Georgia Strait, The Pacific Northwest Coast serves as a source of information about the coast of the Pacific Northwest, its geological setting, the natural responses of beaches and cliffs to ocean processes, and the ever-present problem of erosion.
In this guide, Paul D. Komar, one of the nation’s leading coastal oceanographers, examines the lessons taught by ages of geological and cultural history. With explanations of the area’s geological evolution, including natural shoreline erosion and sea-cliff landsliding, Komar details human interaction with the coast: erosion caused by early settlers, the development and destruction of Bayocean Spit, the disastrous effects caused by the 1982–1983 El Niño, and the notorious failure of a construction project on the picturesqueæbut unstableæbluffs at Jump-Off Joe. Emphasizing the actual and potential harm to human projects and to the natural heritage of the coast, Komar provides the knowledge necessary for finding a safe home near the shore while preserving the beauty that draws us to it.