Science Inventory

Salt Marsh Sustainability in New England: Progress and Remaining Challenges

Citation:

Wigand, C. Salt Marsh Sustainability in New England: Progress and Remaining Challenges. To be Presented at New England Estuarine Research Society (NEERS) Spring Meeting, Portsmouth, New Hampshire, April 26 - 28, 2018.

Impact/Purpose:

The US EPA provides technical assistance to the New England states in the development of climate adaptation and restoration methods to build resiliency of coastal wetlands. In addition, the US EPA has worked with the to assist with incorporating a social-ecological systems approach into the adaptive management framework when defining problems and restoration goals, selecting climate adaptation methods, and building coastal resiliency. Some remaining challenges for social and ecosystem scientists are development of predictive, dynamic models to forecast coastal marsh resiliency to sea level rise, storm surges, and multiple stressors, and the incorporation of socio-economic parameters into models and indicators of coastal resilience. The partnerships and engagement of community, non-governmental, state, regional, and federal groups have made current New England resiliency coastal projects a success.

Description:

Natural resource managers, conservationists, and scientists described marsh loss and degradation in many New England coastal systems at the 2014 “Effects of Sea Level Rise on Rhode Island’s Salt Marshes” workshop, organized by the Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve and other partners. Workshop participants described how marsh loss and changes in vegetation and accretion patterns correlated with accelerated sea level rise and other anthropogenic stressors. They also agreed that cooperation and partnerships throughout the New England region were needed to facilitate a better understanding of coastal marsh vulnerability, resistance, resiliency, and sustainability. Development of climate adaptation and restoration methods to build resiliency of coastal wetlands were discussed, and an adaptive management framework incorporating reference systems was identified for implementation. Today, I discuss the progress made in assessing, monitoring, and restoring coastal marshes in New England since that last workshop. I highlight the direction of the science including research addressing the underlying processes and dynamic feedbacks to sustain coastal marshes and communities. This scientific progress has influenced the evolution of the adaptive management framework since 2014, with new emphasis on incorporating a social-ecological systems approach when defining problems and restoration goals, selecting climate adaptation methods, and building coastal resiliency. Some remaining challenges for social and ecosystem scientists are development of predictive, dynamic models to forecast coastal marsh resiliency to sea level rise, storm surges, and multiple stressors, and the incorporation of socio-economic parameters into models and indicators of coastal resilience. Using ongoing restoration projects as examples, I describe the process for selecting the climate adaptation actions and the partnerships and engagement of community, non-governmental, state, regional, and federal groups in making these coastal restoration and sustainability projects a success.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/SLIDE)
Product Published Date: 04/26/2018
Record Last Revised: 05/18/2018
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 340799

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY

ATLANTIC ECOLOGY DIVISION

HABITATS EFFECT BRANCH