Sea level rise is a global problem. This blog post highlights a key paradox about sea level rise: since it occurs relatively slowly, it can be easy to think it’s not happening. But, if you’re not seeing it, you’re just not looking in the right place.
CanVis is a simple software program that allows users to visualize potential impacts of coastal development or climate change (inundation, SLR) allowing conservation planners and stakeholders to better understand the impacts of their decisions.
Coastal areas are commonly defined as the interface or transition areas between land and sea, including large inland lakes. Climate change is impacting and will continue to affect coastal areas in a variety of ways. Coasts are sensitive to sea level rise, changes in the frequency and intensity of storms, increases in precipitation, and warmer ocean temperatures. In addition, rising atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) are causing the oceans to absorb more of the gas and become more acidic. These changes are already impacting coastal and marine ecosystems.
Coastal Vulnerability Maps and Study shows the elevation of coastal areas from Massachusetts to Florida as well as Texas. A sea level rise planning study which integrates information related to land use, zoning, and anticipated development to determine the future likelihood of shore protection and prevention of inland wetland migration is also included.
Sea levels are rising. Recent housing growth rates are faster in ten-year flood-risk zones in a third of all coastal states. Climate Central and Zillow publish updated projections of possible impacts in coastal areas in this updated 2019 report.
Planning for Sea Level Rise in the Northeast: Considerations for the Implementation of Tidal Wetland Habitat Restoration Projects summarizes the results of a September 2010 workshop focused on how to address the impacts of sea level rise on tidal wetland restoration projects and includes draft recommendations for future projects.
Already the average global sea level has risen by 8 inches in the past century. By the end of this century, average global sea level could rise an additional three feet or more. The ecological consequences of these changes include worsening coastal erosion, habitat destruction, and saltwater encroachment into freshwater environments.
In New York, Scenic Hudson is conserving land in 82 communities in ten counties along the Hudson River to buffer against future sea level rise impacts. By targeting key properties for acquisition efforts, this land trust is working to ensure that natural processes such as marsh migration can continue to provide valuable ecological services as well as mitigate the effects of rising waters throughout the estuary.
NOAA’s Sea Level Rise and Coastal Flooding Impacts Viewer allows users to view several sea level rise scenarios and associated impacts to coastal wetlands, which can help land trusts prioritize areas for conservation. The viewer is available for all coastal states and territories except for Alaska.
This publication provides case studies and geospatial best practices for incorporating sea level rise into wetland conservation priorities to support adaptation.