Global Change Impacts & Adaptation
A Climate Ready Estuaries Vulnerability Assessment
EPA’s Global Change Research Program, in conjunction with EPA’s Climate Ready Estuaries program, is working with two National Estuary Programs to carry out Climate Ready Estuaries Vulnerability Assessments, which are analyzing key vulnerabilities of estuarine components and processes to climate variability and change.
The purpose of the the Climate Ready Estuaries program is to build capacity in the National Estuary Programs (NEPs) for local leadership and expertise to adapt to the effects of climate change through a joint effort with the NEPs and EPA.
BackgroundThe Climate Ready Estuaries Vulnerability Assessments are a partnership of EPA’s Office of Research and Development (ORD) with the Massachusetts Bays Program (MBP) and the San Francisco Estuary Project (SFEP), as part of the Office of Water/Office of Air and Radiation’s Climate Ready Estuaries Program. The goal of these vulnerability assessments is to provide place-based information on the potential implications of climate change for estuarine processes, in a form that is directly relevant for adaptation planning in the estuary. Work to date has included: 1) selection of MBP management goals under which to frame the assessment, 2) identification of key ecosystem processes essential to the attainment of those goals, 3) selection of salt marshes as the ecosystem for further assessment, and 4) conceptual models exploring the linkages among key ecosystem processes of salt marshes, climate drivers, and interacting stressors.
The next phase of work will be to assess – using the conceptual models as a background and framework -- the sensitivities and the relative effects of climate-stressor interactions on salt marsh ecosystem processes, with an eye toward understanding adaptation management implications.