Science to Support Marsh Conservation and Management Decisions in the Northeastern United States
Coastal resource and infrastructure managers face rapidly mounting environmental challenges. Increases in sea levels, decaying or outdated infrastructure, compound flooding from ocean storm surges and river runoff, and temperature and moisture extremes are all increasing the vulnerability of natural habitats, public, private, and commercial infrastructure, and community health and functionality. To effectively address these management issues, quality scientific and socio-economic information is required. For some areas and resources, that information is available, but it does not provide an understanding of how whole systems will respond to climate change and is dispersed across various science and social disciplines. Therefore, a synthesis of science and socio-economic understanding about changing coastal systems is urgently needed.
This project will develop a region-wide strategic capacity to provide timely science support for decision-makers dealing with climate-induced changes in coastal resilience and vulnerability. The strategy will leverage and synthesize existing science information, new and ongoing research, and data-collection programs to directly address science challenges in coastal resource management. This effort will begin with a pilot project focused specifically on coastal marshes. Two Northeast CASC fellows will work with partners to develop geospatially referenced products to support a decision framework for evaluating strategic conservation and restoration that incorporates the value of saltmarshes within the NE CASC region. The longer-term goal of this project is to build from that foundational analysis to design longer term projects that decrease uncertainty in models and establish transfer value of science support information across the region (e.g., complete maps of vulnerability, risk, and adaptation or mitigation best practices for meeting site-specific management needs).