Science Inventory

Using a Landscape Approach to Strengthen Resiliency in Coastal Watersheds

Citation:

Kuhn, A. AND J. Copeland. Using a Landscape Approach to Strengthen Resiliency in Coastal Watersheds. International Association of Landscape Ecology (IALE) Annual Meeting, Chicago, Illinois, April 08 - 12, 2018.

Impact/Purpose:

A resilient watershed is one that can adjust to stresses and disturbances while still being able to provide valuable ecosystem services and functions, such as clean and plentiful water, flood protection, and essential habitat. This research develops the capability to strengthen coastal watershed resiliency and sustainability using a coastal watershed resiliency decision-support systems (DSS) which include tools to integrate measures of ecosystem services (ESs). The DSS operates within a geospatial platform, allowing for spatially-explicit analysis of individual ecological units and their associated ESs at multiple scales, and provides web-based and mobile applications developed for a range of users from technical users, stakeholders and managers, to the general public. Watershed managers and coastal communities can use this DSS to identify and prioritize conservation and restoration efforts within coastal watersheds in the face of climate change and development while considering the ecological as well as the economic and social outcomes.

Description:

Healthy and resilient watersheds provide critical ecosystem service (ES) benefits such as water quality protection for human uses (e. g. drinking water, recreation). Intact wetlands, forests, and other vegetated areas filter pollutants from runoff and atmospheric deposition, supporting clean drinking water and healthy aquatic biological communities. To promote and strengthen the resiliency of coastal watersheds in the face of climate change and development, ecological outcomes as well as economic, social, and environmental justice issues need to be considered. An integrated assessment framework linked to a desktop and web-based decision support system (DSS) incorporating ecological integrity principles with ESs, was developed to provide support in decision making to strengthen coastal watershed sustainability and resilience. The DSS operates within a geospatial platform, allowing for spatially-explicit analysis of individual ecological units and their associated ESs at multiple scales, and provides web-based and mobile applications developed for a range of users from technical users, stakeholders and managers, to the general public. This DSS framework allows for the evaluation of both ecological integrity and ESs of key functional processes, components and elements of watershed integrity relative to the location within the watershed (e. g. headwater streams, flood plains, riparian condition, coastal wetlands, etc.). Watershed managers and coastal communities can use this DSS to identify and prioritize conservation and restoration efforts within coastal watersheds while considering the ecological as well as the economic and social outcomes. This DSS can be used to: 1) prioritize protection and restoration of upland and riparian habitat for water quality; 2) reduce flooding risks, identify opportunities to restore flood plains and riparian zones to increase aquatic connectivity; 3) plan for sea level rise adaptation: marsh migration; 4) optimize green infrastructure and BMP implementation to reduce nutrients and non-point source pollutants; 5) identify best locations for optimizing economic development, multimodal transportation, etc.

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (PRESENTATION/SLIDE)
Product Published Date: 04/12/2018
Record Last Revised: 05/11/2018
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 340697

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LABORATORY

ATLANTIC ECOLOGY DIVISION

POPULATION ECOLOGY BRANCH