Effects of Sea-Level Rise and Extreme Storms on California Coastal Habitats: Part 1

Science Center Objects

In California, the near-shore area where the ocean meets the land is a highly productive yet sensitive region that supports a wealth of wildlife, including several native bird species. These saltmarshes, mudflats, and shallow bays are not only critical for wildlife, but they also provide economic and recreational benefits to local communities. Today, sea-level rise, more frequent and stronger s...

In California, the near-shore area where the ocean meets the land is a highly productive yet sensitive region that supports a wealth of wildlife, including several native bird species. These saltmarshes, mudflats, and shallow bays are not only critical for wildlife, but they also provide economic and recreational benefits to local communities. Today, sea-level rise, more frequent and stronger storms, saltwater intrusion, and warming water temperatures are among the threats that are altering these important habitats.

 

To support future planning and conservation of California’s near-shore habitats, researchers examined current weather patterns, elevations, tides, and sediments at these sites to see how they affect plants and animals. Researchers then projected how changes in climate and sea-level rise might alter this delicate balance. Together, this information can be used by California’s coastal land managers to understand the vulnerability of these ecosystems to changing conditions, and plan ahead to implement adaptive management strategies.

 

These efforts provided the baseline information need to support a follow-on project titled “Effects of Sea-Level Rise and Extreme Storms on California Coastal Habitats: Part 2”.