Increasing Resiliency of Tidal Marsh Habitats and Species
Increasing Resiliency of Tidal Marsh Habitats and Species in the Face of Storms and Sea Level Rise
This project is designed to guide decisions about where to conduct tidal marsh restoration, conservation, and management to sustain coastal ecosystems and services, including the fish and wildlife that depend upon tidal marshes, taking into account rising sea levels and other stressors.
This project will coordinate effort by Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) partners to integrate existing data, models and tools with foundational data and impact assessments to guide decisions about where to conduct tidal marsh restoration, conservation and management to sustain ecological values, ecosystem services, habitat suitability and resiliency of tidal marshes and marsh species in the face of storm impacts, sea level rise and other stressors. Goals follow.
(1) Compile and summarize initial results of assessments of impacts of Hurricane Sandy on tidal marshes and marsh-dependent species (Salt Marsh Habitat Avian Response Program - SHARP). The link to the SHARP project page is here.
(2) Compile regionally-consistent spatial data including elevation, tidal, restrictions, ditches, and hardened structures (SHARP).
(3) Monitor and assess the effectiveness of tidal wetland restorations completed in response to Hurricane Sandy for increasing resiliency of marshes and marsh species to future storms and sea level rise and use this information to develop best management practices for future restorations and prioritize locations with the highest likelihood of success (SHARP).
(4) Develop models for understanding future impacts of sea level rise and storms on tidal marshes along with other stressors such as urban growth to address critical management decisions for increasing resiliency through marsh restoration, management and protection at regional and local scales (University of South Carolina and Louisiana State University).
(5) Incorporate models for sea-level rise and storms into the North Atlantic Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC) modeling framework "Designing Sustainable Landscapes" throughout the Northeast Region in combination with other predicted effects of climate change, urban growth, conservation and management on tidal wetlands and adjacent uplands to understand combined habitat and species impacts and thereby guide decision making across a number of goals (University of Massachusetts, Amherst).
(6) Develop fine scale (30 m resolution) GIS layers that can be integrated with other ecological integrity assessment tools and used to identify sites with the highest estimated site resilience, sites of high vulnerability to climate change, and sites where management of particular characteristics could increase its potential resilience. The layers to be produced include: accretion/erosion rates, slope, average tidal height, average wave height, relative sea level rise rate, elevation diversity, marsh migration space, sediment supply, freshwater flushing rates and anthropogenic barriers (The Nature Conservancy).
(7) Provide decision support tools, maps, models and monitoring results available to decision makers at scales and formats needed and provide capacity to work with partners to use this information at the regional, state and local level (Northeast Regional Ocean Council and Mid-Atlantic Regional Council on the Oceans).
LCC Staff Contact: Megan Tyrrell.
Projects are on-going.
University of Massachusetts, Amherst Progress Report: Designing Sustainable Coastal Landscapes in the Face of Sea-level Rise and Storms: Progress report August-April 2015; April-Oct 2015 ; Nov-April 2016
Tidal marshes of the Hurricane Sandy affected region from Virginia to Maine