Northeastern Coastal Habitats Vulnerability Assessment
While sea level rise represents a looming threat to a range of coastal resources in the Northeast, the specific risks it poses to different species and habitats are difficult to predict. Determining which resources are most vulnerable, and understanding why, is critical for developing effective management strategies to sustain these resources into the future. By synthesizing current research on the vulnerabilities of fish and wildlife habitats in the coastal zone, identifying the major sources of uncertainty, and suggesting future research that can help support the ongoing conservation of coastal ecological resources, this report offers a valuable reference for individuals, organizations, and communities working to plan for and address sea level rise across the region.
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This report is associated with a project that completed three assessments of the vulnerability of terrestrial, aquatic, and coastal habitats (ecosystems) to climate change, including sea level rise. One assessment evaluated 13 terrestrial and wetland habitat types, the second [this report] evaluated cold water stream habitats, and the third evaluated coastal habitats.
This report has been cataloged in the USGS Climate Registry for Assessment of Vulnerability(CRAVe) and in the NExUS database, a searchable online gateway to climate information for the Eastern US, Atlantic Canada and the maritime region known as the Northwest Atlantic.
Sea level rise poses a major threat to the conservation of important coastal ecological resources in the Northeast and elsewhere. If we are to manage and conserve these resources, on which huge investments have been made over the last few decades, it is vital that we begin to understand vulnerabilities and the factors responsible for them. In this report we review the scientific literature to evaluate our current understanding of the vulnerabilities of fish and wildlife habitats in the northeastern coastal zone to sea level rise (SLR); identify the major sources of uncertainty; and suggest future research that will help us continue to conserve these coastal ecological resources.
Main conclusions from this review include:
Hector Galbraith (independent consultant)
LCC Staff Contact(s):
Scott Schwenk, Science Coordinator
Photo Credit: Edward Steenstra/USFWS