A Handbook for Resource Managers to Understand and Utilize Sea-Level Rise and Coastal Wetland Models

Thomas W. Doyle, USGS National Wetlands Research Center

Project Completion: March 2015. This project has now been completed.
Implements Science Plan Theme: 4 and 5


Coastal wetlands and the many beneficial services they provide (e.g., purifying water, buffering storm surge, providing habitat) are changing and disappearing as a result of sea-level rise brought about by climate change. Scientists have developed a wealth of information and resources to predict and aid decision-making related to sea-level rise. However, while some of these resources are easily accessible by coastal managers, many others require more expert knowledge to understand or utilize.

The goal of this project was to collate science and models pertaining to the effects of sea level on coastal wetlands into a format that would be accessible and useful to resource managers. Researchers conducted training sessions with coastal managers at federal agencies including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and National Park Service to evaluate managers’ needs and understanding of concepts, data, and modeling tools for projecting sea-level rise and its impact on coastal habitats and wildlife. Based on this feedback, researchers developed a handbook summarizing existing information and tools and their respective characteristics, uses, and limitations. The resulting handbook provides a user-friendly guide to understanding the current state of knowledge and tools suitable for managing coastal wetlands.