Mike Osland's Posts (24)

Here’s the abstract and link to a new study that was recently published in Ecological Monographs.

Osland, M. J., L. C. Feher, K. T. Griffith, K. C. Cavanaugh, N. M. Enwright, R. H. Day, C. L. Stagg, K. W. Krauss, R. J. Howard, J. B. Grace, and K. Rogers. 2017. Climatic controls on the global distribution, abundance, and species richness of mangrove forests. Accepted to Ecological Monographs.

Link: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecm.1248/abstract

Abstract:

Mangrove forests are highly productive tidal saline wetland ecosystems found along sheltered tropical and subtropical coasts. Ecologists have long assumed that climatic drivers (i.e., temperature and rainfall regimes) govern the global distribution, structure, and function of mangrove forests. However, data constraints have hindered the quantification of direct climate-mangrove linkages in many parts of the world.

Recently, the quality and availability of global-scale climate and mangrove data have been improving. Here, we used these data to better understand the influence of air temperature and rainfall regimes upon the distribution, abundance, and species richness of mangrove forests. Although our analyses identify global-scale relationships and thresholds, we show that the influence of climatic drivers is best characterized via regional range limit-specific analyses. We quantified climatic controls across targeted gradients in temperature and/or rainfall within 14 mangrove distributional range limits.

Climatic thresholds for mangrove presence, abundance, and species richness differed among the 14 studied range limits. We identified minimum temperature-based thresholds for range limits in eastern North America, eastern Australia, New Zealand, eastern Asia, eastern South America, and southeast Africa. We identified rainfall-based thresholds for range limits in western North America, western Gulf of Mexico, western South America, western Australia, Middle East, northwest Africa, east central Africa, and west central Africa.

Our results show that in certain range limits (e.g., eastern North America, western Gulf of Mexico, eastern Asia), winter air temperature extremes play an especially important role. We conclude that rainfall and temperature regimes are both important in western North America, western Gulf of Mexico, and western Australia.

With climate change, alterations in temperature and rainfall regimes will affect the global distribution, abundance, and diversity of mangrove forests. In general, warmer winter temperatures are expected to allow mangroves to expand poleward at the expense of salt marshes. However, dispersal and habitat availability constraints may hinder expansion near certain range limits. Along arid and semi-arid coasts, decreases or increases in rainfall are expected to lead to mangrove contraction or expansion, respectively. Collectively, our analyses quantify climate-mangrove linkages and improve our understanding of the expected global- and regional-scale effects of climate change upon mangrove forests.

Up next: Read about a GCPO LCC-sponsored coastal resilience initiative along the Gulf Coast

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Coastal wetlands along the northern Gulf of Mexico are diverse. Salt marshes, mangrove forests, and salt flats are all different kinds of tidal saline wetland ecosystems that can be found in the region. In addition to supporting fish and wildlife, these coastal wetlands protect coastal communities, provide seafood, improve water quality, store carbon, and provide recreational opportunities.

Coastal ecologists have long known that temperature and rainfall regimes control the distribution and dominance of these different ecosystems. However, constraints in data quality and access have limited efforts to characterize the influence of climate on the region’s coastal wetlands. Below, I’ve included a link to a recent study published in Nature Climate Change where we used data from 10 estuaries in five states (TX, LA, MS, AL, and FL) to quantify these linkages and evaluate the implications of alternative future climate scenarios.

The results identify thresholds for mangrove forests, salt marshes, and salt flats. Within the region, small changes in temperature and/or rainfall can lead to large changes in ecosystem structure and function. For example, small changes in winter air temperature regimes (i.e., freeze events) can lead to mangrove expansion at the expense of salt marsh. And, in drier areas (south Texas), small changes in rainfall can alter salinity regimes and lead to the expansion or contraction of salt flats. Ecologists refer to these changes as ecological regime shifts. In coastal wetlands, such regime shifts can result in the gain and/or loss of certain ecosystem goods and services.

Citation: Gabler, C. A., M. J. Osland, J. B. Grace, C. L. Stagg, R. H. Day, S. B. Hartley, N. M. Enwright, A. S. From, M. L. McCoy, and J. L. McLeod. 2017. Macroclimatic change expected to transform coastal wetland ecosystems this century. Nature Climate Change.

Link: http://www.nature.com/nclimate/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nclimate3203.html

Up next: Read about a GCPO LCC-sponsored coastal resilience initiative along the Gulf Coast

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Here's a link to a study that was recently published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. I've pasted the abstract and information below. For more information, please send me an email at mosland@usgs.gov.

Also, we've recently received funding from the South Central and Southeast Climate Science Centers for follow-up work on this project. We're going to be using these data for customized analyses focused on landscape conservation design within specific estuaries (e.g., estuaries that contain ecologically-significant National Wildlife Refuges, National Estuarine Research Reserves, National Estuary Programs). The follow-up work will be focused on the evaluation of landward migration corridors. Please contact me for more info.

Link to article on the journal website: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/fee.1282/full

Title: Barriers to and opportunities for landward migration of coastal wetlands with sea-level rise

Authors: Nicholas M Enwright, Kereen T Griffith, and Michael J Osland

Abstract: In the 21st century, accelerated sea-level rise and continued coastal development are expected to greatly alter coastal landscapes across the globe. Historically, many coastal ecosystems have responded to sea-level fluctuations via horizontal and vertical movement on the landscape. However, anthropogenic activities, including urbanization and the construction of flood-prevention infrastructure, can produce barriers that impede ecosystem migration. Here we show where tidal saline wetlands have the potential to migrate landward along the northern Gulf of Mexico coast, one of the most sea-level rise sensitive and wetland-rich regions of the world. Our findings can be used to identify migration corridors and develop sea-level rise adaptation strategies to help ensure the continued availability of wetland-associated ecosystem goods and services.

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We recently published an article in Ecosphere on this topic. I've pasted the abstract and links below.

Osland, M.J., Day, R.H., From, A.S., McCoy, M.L., McLeod, J.L. & Kelleway, J.J. (2015) Life stage influences the resistance and resilience of black mangrove forests to winter climate extremes. Ecosphere, 6:art160

ABSTRACT:

"In subtropical coastal wetlands on multiple continents, climate change-induced reductions in the frequency and intensity of freezing temperatures are expected to lead to the expansion of woody plants (i.e., mangrove forests) at the expense of tidal grasslands (i.e., salt marshes). Since some ecosystem goods and services would be affected by mangrove range expansion, there is a need to better understand mangrove sensitivity to freezing temperatures as well as the implications of changing winter climate extremes for mangrove-salt marsh interactions. In this study, we investigated the following questions: (1) how does plant life stage (i.e., ontogeny) influence the resistance and resilience of black mangrove (Avicennia germinans) forests to freezing temperatures; and (2) how might differential life stage responses to freeze events affect the rate of mangrove expansion and salt marsh displacement due to climate change? To address these questions, we quantified freeze damage and recovery for different life stages (seedling, short tree, and tall tree) following extreme winter air temperature events that occurred near the northern range limit of A. germinans in North America. We found that life stage affects black mangrove forest resistance and resilience to winter climate extremes in a nonlinear fashion. Resistance to winter climate extremes was high for tall A. germinans trees and seedlings, but lowest for short trees. Resilience was highest for tall A. germinans trees. These results suggest the presence of positive feedbacks and indicate that climate-change induced decreases in the frequency and intensity of extreme minimum air temperatures could lead to nonlinear increase in mangrove forest resistance and resilience. This feedback could accelerate future mangrove expansion and salt marsh loss at rates beyond what would be predicted from climate change alone. In general terms, our study highlights the importance of accounting for differential life stage responses and positive feedbacks when evaluating the ecological effects of changes in the frequency and magnitude of climate extremes."

Here's a link to the journal website: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/ES15-00042.1

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We recently published an article in Global Change Biology on this topic. I've pasted the abstract below:

Osland, M.J., Enwright, N.M., Day, R.H., Gabler, C.A., Stagg, C.L. & Grace, J.B. (In press) Beyond just sea-level rise: considering macroclimatic drivers within coastal wetland vulnerability assessments to climate change. Global Change Biology, doi: 10.1111/gcb.13084,

ABSTRACT

"Due to their position at the land-sea interface, coastal wetlands are vulnerable to many aspects of climate change. However, climate change vulnerability assessments for coastal wetlands generally focus solely on sea-level rise without considering the effects of other facets of climate change. Across the globe and in all ecosystems, macroclimatic drivers (e.g., temperature and rainfall regimes) greatly influence ecosystem structure and function. Macroclimatic drivers have been the focus of climate-change related threat evaluations for terrestrial ecosystems, but largely ignored for coastal wetlands. In some coastal wetlands, changing macroclimatic conditions are expected to result in foundation plant species replacement, which would affect the supply of certain ecosystem goods and services and could affect ecosystem resilience. As examples, we highlight several ecological transition zones where small changes in macroclimatic conditions would result in comparatively large changes in coastal wetland ecosystem structure and function. Our intent in this communication is not to minimize the importance of sea-level rise. Rather, our overarching aim is to illustrate the need to also consider macroclimatic drivers within vulnerability assessments for coastal wetlands."

Here's the link to the article on the journal's website: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/gcb.13084/abstract

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Across the northern Gulf of Mexico coast, natural resource managers are increasingly challenged to prepare for the effects of accelerated sea-level rise and rapid coastal development. With guidance from the four Gulf coast Landscape Conservation Cooperatives, we recently created some products that can be used to identify areas where coastal wetlands will migrate landward under alternative sea-level rise and urbanization scenarios. I've pasted links and a summary of the project below. Our hope is that these products will be useful for future-focused conservation planning.

The LCC Conservation Planning Atlas is the easiest way to view the geospatial files. Here's the link: http://gcpolcc.databasin.org/galleries/bbfff0152bb14aa5aea5012d02f3156f

Project Title: Incorporating Future Change Into Current Conservation Planning: Evaluating Tidal Saline Wetland Migration Along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico Coast Under Alternative Sea-Level Rise and Urbanization Scenarios
 
Project Summary: 
In this study, we quantified the potential for landward migration of tidal saline wetlands along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast under alternative future sea-level rise and urbanization scenarios. Our analyses focused exclusively on tidal saline wetlands (that is, mangrove forests, salt marshes, and salt flats), and we combined these diverse tidal saline wetland ecosystems into a single grouping, “tidal saline wetland.” Collectively, our approach and findings can provide useful information for scientists and environmental planners working to develop future-focused adaptation strategies for conserving coastal landscapes and the ecosystem goods and services provided by tidal saline wetlands. The primary product of this work is a public dataset that identifies locations where landward migration of tidal saline wetlands is expected to occur under alternative future sea-level rise and urbanization scenarios. In addition to identifying areas where landward migration of tidal saline wetlands is possible because of the absence of barriers, these data also identify locations where landward migration of these wetlands could be prevented by barriers associated with current urbanization, future urbanization, and levees.
Where to access the data and the report?
 
(1) For viewing the data in a map viewer, follow this link to the LCC Conservation Planning Atlas Gallery:
 
(2) For downloading the data, follow this link to the Science Base site:
(3) For the Data Series html report, follow this link:
 
Suggested citation:
Enwright, N.M., Griffith, K.T., and Osland, M.J., 2015, Incorporating future change into current conservation planning—Evaluating tidal saline wetland migration along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast under alternative sea-level rise and urbanization scenarios: U.S. Geological Survey Data Series 969, http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ds969.This publication is available at http://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/ds969. After the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) and product metadata have been registered by CrossRef, the official URL will be http://dx.doi.org/10.3133/ds969.
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Here's the abstract and info for a paper on shoreline hardening that just came out in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment:

Title: Engineering away our natural defenses: an analysis of shoreline hardening in the US
Authors: Rachel K Gittman, F Joel Fodrie, Alyssa M Popowich, Danielle A Keller, John F Bruno, Carolyn A Currin, Charles H Peterson, and Michael F Piehler
Abstract: "Rapid population growth and coastal development are primary drivers of marine habitat degradation. Although shoreline hardening or armoring (the addition of concrete structures such as seawalls, jetties, and groins), a byproduct of development, can accelerate erosion and loss of beaches and tidal wetlands, it is a common practice globally. Here, we provide the first estimate of shoreline hardening along US Pacific, Atlantic, and Gulf of Mexico coasts and predict where future armoring may result in tidal wetland loss if coastal management practices remain unchanged. Our analysis indicates that 22 842 km of continental US shoreline – approximately 14% of the total US coastline – has been armored. We also consider how socioeconomic and physical factors relate to the pervasiveness of shoreline armoring and show that housing density, gross domestic product, storms, and wave height are positively correlated with hardening. Over 50% of South Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico coasts are fringed with tidal wetlands that could be threatened by future hardening, based on projected population growth, storm frequency, and an absence of coastal development restrictions."
 

Read More: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/150065
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Here's a link to an excellent TEDxLSU talk given by Karen McKee, USGS Scientist Emeritus: click here for the video

The title of her talk is: Combating Land Loss, Preserving Resilient Communities

And I've also pasted the talk summary info below:

Coastal residents are not strangers to environmental issues that threaten our land and lives. But how can we address them? In this TEDx talk, wetland ecologist Karen McKee explains some of the science behind land subsidence, the importance of coastal ecosystems, what this means for the future of communities, and discusses potential tools to move toward solutions.

The world’s coastal areas are under threat by rising seas, and people are looking for ways to prevent land loss and stabilize shorelines. Fortunately, Dr. Karen McKee’s research suggests how we might work with nature to promote more resilient coastlines. Karen, who is a wetland ecologist and scientist emeritus with the U.S. GEOLOGICAL SURVEY, has studied effects of sea-level rise, hurricanes, and nutrient pollution in swamps and marshes around the world. Karen also started THE SCIENTIST VIDEOGRAPHER endeavor, which helps science professionals more effectively share their knowledge with nonscientists, and co-founded THE WETLAND FOUNDATION, which funds student travel to learn about and study wetlands. Through her expertise in wetland ecology and her commitment to student training and science communication, Karen is determined to help others figure out how best to use their natural resources to adapt to future change.

 

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At the land-water interface (e.g., wetlands, coastlines, floodplains, shorelines), there is much potential to leverage two common interests: (1) the interest to conserve/restore important ecosystems; and (2) the interest to minimize the amount of future damage that could occur due to natural hazards (e.g., floods, waves, storm surges). Many ecosystems at the land-water interface provide important habitat for fish and wildlife and also reduce the risk of damage from natural hazards.

Here, I highlight three examples of efforts in this arena.

The first example focuses on wetlands and evaluates linkages between wetland habitat conservation and flood damage reduction. The study is entitled “Combining habitat conservation and natural hazards: issues and opportunities.” In this study, the authors evaluate opportunities and obstacles for connecting disaster mitigation planning frameworks and wetland conservation goals. The authors of the study are: Rebecca Kihslinger, David Salvesen, and Tessa Lee. For those interesting in learning more, here is a link to the article.

The second example comes from the tropics and evaluates linkages between coral reef conservation/restoration and wave energy reduction. Coral reefs provide important habitat and also reduce the risk of wave damage. The article is entitled: “The effectiveness of coral reefs for coastal hazard risk reduction and adaptation.” The authors are Filippo Ferrario, Michael Beck, Curt Storlazzi, Fiorenza Micheli, Christine Shepard, and Laura Airoldi. For those interested in learning more, here is a link to the article as well as a link to a USGS video about the study.

The third example is a multi-LCC study that I am currently working on with Nicholas Enwright and Kereen Griffith. We’re working to identify areas along the U.S. Gulf of Mexico coast (i.e., the coasts of Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, and Florida; all four Gulf coast LCCs) where coastal wetlands are expected to move landward under various future sea level rise and urbanization scenarios. This project also falls into the arena of overlapping interests (i.e., habitat conservation and natural hazard risk reduction) since we’re identifying: (1) areas that may become important coastal wetland habitats in the future in response to sea level rise; and (2) areas where the risk of future urban infrastructure damage due to flooding is expected to increase in response to sea level rise. 

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The published version of this paper came out today in the journal Ecology. Here is the link: Click here for link

Osland, M. J., N. Enwright, and C. L. Stagg. 2014. Freshwater availability and coastal wetland foundation species: ecological transitions along a rainfall gradient. Ecology 95:2789-2802.

ABSTRACT:
Climate gradient-focused ecological research can provide a foundation for better understanding critical ecological transition points and nonlinear climate–ecological relationships, which is information that can be used to better understand, predict, and manage ecological responses to climate change. In this study, we examined the influence of freshwater availability upon the coverage of foundation plant species in coastal wetlands along a northwestern Gulf of Mexico rainfall gradient. Our research addresses the following three questions: (1) What are the regional-scale relationships between measures of freshwater availability (e.g., rainfall, aridity, freshwater inflow, salinity) and the relative abundance of foundation plant species in tidal wetlands; (2) how vulnerable are foundation plant species in tidal wetlands to future changes in freshwater availability; and (3) what is the potential future relative abundance of tidal wetland foundation plant species under alternative climate change scenarios? We developed simple freshwater availability-based models to predict the relative abundance (i.e., coverage) of tidal wetland foundation plant species using climate data (1970–2000), estuarine freshwater inflow-focused data, and coastal wetland habitat data. Our results identify regional ecological thresholds and nonlinear relationships between measures of freshwater availability and the relative abundance of foundation plant species in tidal wetlands. In drier coastal zones, relatively small changes in rainfall could produce comparatively large landscape-scale changes in foundation plant species abundance that would affect some ecosystem good and services. Whereas a drier future would result in a decrease in the coverage of foundation plant species, a wetter future would result in an increase in foundation plant species coverage. In many ways, the freshwater-dependent coastal wetland ecological transitions we observed are analogous to those present in dryland terrestrial ecosystems.


Read More: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/13-1269.1

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Here's the link, abstract, and pdf for a paper that should be useful for those working within the mangrove-marsh ecotone in the southeastern U.S. This paper was recently published in PLoS ONE by a team at the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wetlands Research Center.

Aboveground Allometric Models for Freeze-Affected Black Mangroves (Avicennia germinans): Equations for a Climate Sensitive Mangrove-Marsh Ecotone


Authors: Michael J. Osland, Richard H. Day, Jack C. Larriviere, Andrew S. From

Abstract: Across the globe, species distributions are changing in response to climate change and land use change. In parts of the southeastern United States, climate change is expected to result in the poleward range expansion of black mangroves (Avicennia germinans) at the expense of some salt marsh vegetation. The morphology of A. germinans at its northern range limit is more shrub-like than in tropical climes in part due to the aboveground structural damage and vigorous multi-stem regrowth triggered by extreme winter temperatures. In this study, we developed aboveground allometric equations for freeze-affected black mangroves which can be used to quantify: (1) total aboveground biomass; (2) leaf biomass; (3) stem plus branch biomass; and (4) leaf area. Plant volume (i.e., a combination of crown area and plant height) was selected as the optimal predictor of the four response variables. We expect that our simple measurements and equations can be adapted for use in other mangrove ecosystems located in abiotic settings that result in mangrove individuals with dwarf or shrub-like morphologies including oligotrophic and arid environments. Many important ecological functions and services are affected by changes in coastal wetland plant community structure and productivity including carbon storage, nutrient cycling, coastal protection, recreation, fish and avian habitat, and ecosystem response to sea level rise and extreme climatic events. Coastal scientists in the southeastern United States can use the identified allometric equations, in combination with easily obtained and non-destructive plant volume measurements, to better quantify and monitor ecological change within the dynamic, climate sensitive, and highly-productive mangrove-marsh ecotone.

Link to website

Link to pdf of paper

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The northwestern Gulf of Mexico coast spans a rainfall gradient that is an excellent natural laboratory for investigating the influence of rainfall and freshwater availability upon coastal  ecosystems. A group at the U.S. Geological Survey's National Wetlands Research Center recently conducted a study that examines ecological transitions across this gradient.The paper was recently accepted for publication in the journal Ecology!  See the abstract below. For more information and a preprint of the article, follow this link to the ESA website.

Title: Freshwater availability and coastal wetland foundation species: ecological transitions along a rainfall gradient

Authors: Michael Osland, Nicholas Enwright and Camille La Fosse Stagg

Climate gradient-focused ecological research can provide a foundation for better understanding critical ecological transition points and nonlinear climate-ecological relationships, which is information that can be used to better understand, predict, and manage ecological responses to climate change. In this study, we examined the influence of freshwater availability upon the coverage of foundation plant species in coastal wetlands along a northwestern Gulf of Mexico rainfall gradient. Our research addresses the following three questions: (1) what are the region-scale relationships between measures of freshwater availability (e.g., rainfall, aridity, freshwater inflow, salinity) and the relative abundance of foundation plant species in tidal wetlands; (2) How vulnerable are foundation plant species in tidal wetlands to future changes in freshwater availability; and (3) What is the potential future relative abundance of tidal wetland foundation plant species under alternative climate change scenarios? We developed simple freshwater availability-based models to predict the relative abundance (i.e., coverage) of tidal wetland foundation plant species using climate data (1970-2000), estuarine freshwater inflow-focused data, and coastal wetland habitat data. Our results identify regional ecological thresholds and nonlinear relationships between measures of freshwater availability and the relative abundance of foundation plant species in tidal wetlands. In drier coastal zones, relatively small changes in rainfall could produce comparatively large landscape-scale changes in foundation plant species abundance which would affect some ecosystem good and services. Whereas a drier future would result in a decrease in the coverage of foundation plant species, a wetter future would result in an increase in foundation plant species coverage. In many ways, the freshwater-dependent coastal wetland ecological transitions we observed are analogous to those present in dryland terrestrial ecosystems.
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Here's an interesting review article that was recently published in Nature Climate Change (link to journal, link to article).

The title and abstract are pasted below.

Title: The role of coastal plant communities for climate change mitigation and adaptation

Authors: Carlos M. Duarte, Iñigo J. Losada, Iris E. Hendriks, Inés Mazarrasa and Núria Marbà

Abstract: Marine vegetated habitats (seagrasses, salt-marshes, macroalgae and mangroves) occupy 0.2% of the ocean surface, but contribute 50% of carbon burial in marine sediments. Their canopies dissipate wave energy and high burial rates raise the seafloor, buffering the impacts of rising sea level and wave action that are associated with climate change. The loss of a third of the global cover of these ecosystems involves a loss of CO2 sinks and the emission of 1 Pg CO2 annually. The conservation, restoration and use of vegetated coastal habitats in eco-engineering solutions for coastal protection provide a promising strategy, delivering significant capacity for climate change mitigation and adaption.

 

 

 

 

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The four Gulf of Mexico coastal LCCs recently received funding from the Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey for a project entitled: "Incorporating Future Change into Current Conservation Planning: Evaluating Wetland Migration along the Gulf of Mexico under Alternative Sea Level Rise and Urbanization Scenarios."

Here is some background information on the project:

Given the potential for accelerated sea level rise and continued coastal urbanization along the Gulf of Mexico, how can we improve efforts to sustain or manage the natural and cultural resources provided by coastal wetlands for current and future generations? This is a question that coastal natural resource managers and regional planners are often challenged to answer.

More than half of contiguous U.S. coastal wetlands are located along the Gulf of Mexico coast. In addition to supporting fish and wildlife habitat, these highly-productive wetlands support many ecosystem goods and services. Historically, coastal wetlands have adapted to sea level fluctuations via lateral and vertical movement on the landscape. As sea levels rise in the future, some coastal wetlands will adapt and migrate landward in undeveloped low-lying areas where migration corridors exist. However, where natural and anthropogenic barriers are present (e.g., natural bluffs and seawalls, respectively), coastal wetland loss is likely. 

The four Gulf Coast LCCs (Gulf Coastal Plains and Ozarks, Gulf Coast Prairie, South Atlantic, and Florida Peninsular) will be working together to develop a decision support tool for identifying and evaluating conservation target areas along the Gulf of Mexico for coastal landward migration under alternative future sea level rise and coastal urbanization scenarios. Our overall objective is to develop a decision support tool for the GOM coast that will help conservation planners identify the following: (1) areas where future coastal wetland landward migration is likely to occur under alternative future sea level rise scenarios due to the presence of migration corridors; and (2) areas where future coastal wetland landward migration is unlikely to occur due to natural or anthropogenic barriers under alternative future urbanization scenarios. We will develop the decision support tool using a combination of existing GIS sources, models, and a suite of shared and mutually-agreed upon sea level rise and future urbanization scenarios.

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Last week, NOAA hosted a meeting at the Grand Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve to discuss NOAA's nascent Sentinel Site Cooperative in the northern Gulf of Mexico. The geography for this northern Gulf of Mexico Cooperative extends from the Suwanee River in FL to the Pearl River in LA, which is good fit for the GCPO LCC. It is one of only five regional Sentinel Site cooperatives in the U.S. The overall objective of the program is to “corral resources to tackle coastal problems” and the program will initially focus on the effects of sea level rise and coastal inundation.

See more information on sentinel sites

View a factsheet on the Gulf of Mexico Sentinel Sites program

And here's the Implementation Plan

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Linking the historic 2011 Mississippi River flood to coastal wetland sedimentation

 

Federico Falcini, Nicole S. Khan, Leonardo Macelloni, Benjamin P. Horton, Carol B. Lutken, Karen L. McKee, Rosalia Santoleri, Simone Colella, Chunyan Li, Gianluca Volpe, Marco D’Emidio, Alessandro Salusti, and Douglas J. Jerolmack
Nature Geoscience, Advance Online Publication (first published online: 21 OCT 2012)

 

http://www.nature.com/ngeo/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ngeo1615.html 

 

Abstract
Wetlands in the Mississippi River deltaic plain are deteriorating in part because levees and control structures starve them of sediment. In Spring of 2011 a record-breaking flood brought discharge on the lower Mississippi River to dangerous levels, forcing managers to divert up to 3500 m3/s of water to the Atchafalaya River Basin. Here we quantify differences between the Mississippi and Atchafalaya River inundation and sediment-plume patterns using field-calibrated satellite data, and assess the impact these outflows had on wetland sedimentation. We characterize hydrodynamics and suspended sediment patterns of the Mississippi River plume using in-situ data collected during the historic flood. We show that the focused, high-momentum jet from the leveed Mississippi delivered sediment far offshore. In contrast, the plume from the Atchafalaya was more diffuse; diverted water inundated a large area; and sediment was trapped within the coastal current. Maximum sedimentation (up to several centimetres) occurred in the Atchafalaya Basin despite the larger sediment load carried by the Mississippi. Minimum accumulation occurred along the shoreline between these river sources. Our findings provide a mechanistic link between river-mouth dynamics and wetland sedimentation patterns that is relevant for plans to restore deltaic wetlands using artificial diversions.

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Minello TJ, Rozas LP, Caldwell PA, Liese C (2012) A comparison of salt marsh construction costs with the value of exported shrimp production. Wetlands, 32, 791-799.

Penaeid shrimp support valuable fisheries in the northern Gulf of Mexico, and shrimp productivity has been linked to coastal salt marshes. Continuing wetland loss in Galveston Bay, Texas (USA) has led to the development of various salt marsh restoration projects. These constructed wetlands often attempt to mimic natural marsh landscape characteristics within the region and incorporate marsh edge, because marsh edge appears important for fishery production. We estimated the value of shrimp production from nine of these constructed wetlands for comparison with project construction costs that ranged between $9,555 and $45,311 ha−1 (2007 U.S.) Overall annual shrimp production attributable to the constructed wetlands ranged from 228 to 318 kg ha−1. After adjusting for natural mortality and production expected from open water replaced by marsh, the constructed marshes contributed an enhanced annual shrimp production between 90 and 146 kg ha−1. The annual value of this shrimp production from the nine wetlands ranged from $425 to $690 ha−1, based on the ex-vessel price of shrimp harvested in Galveston Bay. In relation to construction costs, shrimp production was higher for marsh terracing projects and small marsh islands built with nearby sediment than for marsh islands built with dredged sand.

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Gardali T, Seavy NE, DiGaudio RT, Comrack LA (2012) A Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment of California's At-Risk Birds. PLoS ONE 7(3): e29507. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0029507

 

Here's the abstract:

Conservationists must develop new strategies and adapt existing tools to address the consequences of anthropogenic climate change. To support statewide climate change adaptation, we developed a framework for assessing climate change vulnerability of California’s at-risk birds and integrating it into the existing California Bird Species of Special Concern list. We defined climate vulnerability as the amount of evidence that climate change will negatively impact a population. We quantified climate vulnerability by scoring sensitivity (intrinsic characteristics of an organism that make it vulnerable) and exposure (the magnitude of climate change expected) for each taxon. Using the combined sensitivity and exposure scores as an index, we ranked 358 avian taxa, and classified 128 as vulnerable to climate change. Birds associated with wetlands had the largest representation on the list relative to other habitat groups. Of the 29 state or federally listed taxa, 21 were also classified as climate vulnerable, further raising their conservation concern. Integrating climate vulnerability and California’s Bird Species of Special Concern list resulted in the addition of five taxa and an increase in priority rank for ten. Our process illustrates a simple, immediate action that can be taken to inform climate change adaptation strategies for wildlife.

  

And you can download the pdf here.

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