Water: Climate Ready Estuaries
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EPA Region 1: Ocean and Coastal Protection in New England
Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program (2012)
The Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program and Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management have jointly conducted a preliminary evaluation of sea level rise impacts to New Bedford Harbor. A hurricane barrier and dikes protect an environmental justice community, a heavily urbanized and industrial area, and a nationally important fishing fleet and seafood processing industry. Sea level rise with expected higher annual rainfalls and more intense storms, will appreciably impact the wastewater treatment, CSO system, and municipal stormwater networks of each harbor community. BBNEP has found that the hurricane barrier could have widespread failures from the 100-year storm event in conjunction with sea level rise. BBNEP, in partnership with MA CZM and the affected communities will evaluate these issues in detail and develop a long-term strategy for climate change adaptation. BBNEP will also collaborate with local partners to conduct a climate change adaptation workshop and incorporate the results of the evaluation study into training workshops for officials of the harbor communities.
Casco Bay Estuary Partnership (2009)
Casco Bay Estuary Partnership developed a climate change stakeholder outreach plan that targets local decision makers and integrates consideration of ecosystem resilience into broader messages about climate change. These outreach and stakeholder engagement efforts will help inform the development of a climate change adaptation plan for the estuary and are described in the report Climate Change in the Casco bay Watershed: Past, Present, and Future (PDF) (46 pp, 3.3MB, About PDF) .
Casco Bay Estuary Partnership and Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (2011)
The Casco Bay Estuary Partnership and the Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership are working in partnership with the New England Environmental Finance Center to evaluate the vulnerability of communities in their watersheds to sea level rise and storm surge through the COAST model (COastal Adaptation to Sea level rise Tool).
Massachusetts Bays Program (2008)
The Massachusetts Bays Program worked in partnership with EPA's Office of Research and Development to use expert elicitation as a methodology for identifying climate change-related risks. In this pilot study, groups of experts focused on key ecosystem processes related to sediment retention in mudflats and salt marshes and resulting impacts on nesting habitat for salt marsh sparrows. Results from this effort were published in February 2012 in the report, Vulnerability Assessments in Support of the Climate Ready Estuaries Program: A Novel Approach Using Expert Judgement, Volume II: Results for the Massachusetts Bays Program.
Narragansett Bay Estuary Program (2011)
The Narragansett Bay Estuary Program will analyze dams and other in-stream structures in the Pawtuxet River watershed for their vulnerability to climate change and flooding, and impacts on watershed restoration efforts.
Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (2008)
The Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership launched a study to identify road culverts that are susceptible to failure in the face of increasingly severe storms and from hydrological modifications related to development in the watershed. PREP completed this study in March 2010 and published a report, The Oyster River Culvert Analysis Project (PDF) (82 pp, 18.93MB, About PDF) .
EPA Region 2: Climate Change
Barnegat Bay Partnership (2009)
Barnegat Bay Partnership worked with the Jacques Cousteau National Estuarine Research Reserve to continue its climate change vulnerability assessment and adaptation planning efforts by forming a climate change workgroup and holding a series of listening sessions to gain stakeholder support and identify opportunities for improving resilience through adaptation actions. NOAA's Coastal Services Magazine published an article in March/April 2010 describing their efforts.
Long Island Sound Study (2009)
In collaboration with ICLEI-Local Governments for Sustainability and the City of Groton, Connecticut, the Long Island Sound Study (LISS) is working to develop an adaptation plan for Groton by first holding a series of workshops to discuss local climate change vulnerability and options for improving resilience. The outcomes of these workshops informed the development of an adaptation planning report for the city. LISS hopes that this project will serve as a model for other local governments in the estuary that are seeking to develop adaptation plans.
Long Island Sound Study (2009)
EPA is assisting the Long Island Sound Study in the development of a climate change vulnerability assessment, a preliminary set of climate change indicators, and monitoring recommendations. This project is helping to inform monitoring and adaptation planning efforts within the NEP, including the work under the startup grant described above.
Long Island Sound Study (2010)
The Long Island Sound Study is creating an adaptation toolkit for municipal governments to inform adaptation efforts and to follow up on recommendations stemming from previous Climate Ready Estuaries projects.
New York–New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program (2011)
The New York–New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program will expand a vulnerability assessment protocol piloted by N.J. Sea Grant and others to identify public access points that are vulnerable to climate change impacts.
New York–New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program (2011)
The New York–New Jersey Harbor Estuary Program has been working with EPA’s Climate Ready Water Utilities (CRWU) and the North Hudson (NJ) Sewerage Authority since early 2011 to evaluate potential impacts of climate change and to examine adaptation options for the sewerage authority. Sea level rise and flooding are issues of particular concern.
Peconic Estuary Program (2012)
As part of the creation of its Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan, the Peconic Estuary Program drafted a Critical Lands Protection Strategy which identifies priority parcels for protection or acquisition based on criteria related to habitat preservation and water quality protection. PEP will use sea level rise predictions to re-evaluate its original prioritization strategy with regard to issues such as inundation and erosion, living shorelines and armoring, or wetlands migration. This strategy update will lead to a new Critical Lands Protection Strategy that takes climate change into account.
San Juan Bay Estuary Program (2012)
The combination of unplanned coastal development with shoreline erosion, new invasive species, record high temperatures, flooding, more frequent storms, and dying coral reefs, is focusing attention on climate change in the San Juan Bay Estuary Program study area. SJBEP has been coordinating with scientists and engaging the general public about pressing concerns. The next step is a climate change vulnerability assessment. SJBEP will work with its partners to assess risks and evaluate potential adaptation strategies. The vulnerability assessment will provide an urgently needed blueprint for municipalities, community groups, and local government, as well as for federal agencies, to face the challenges climate change presents to Puerto Rico. The assessment will also provide a powerful tool for engaging communities in climate change discussions.
EPA Region 3: Mid-Atlantic Coastal Environment
Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (2008)
The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) conducted vulnerability assessments and identified adaptation options for three key resources: drinking water, tidal wetlands, and bivalve shellfish. In May 2010, PDE published a report, Climate Change in the Delaware Estuary: Three Case Studies in Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning (PDF) (118 pp, 2.35 MB, About PDF) .
Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (2009)
The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (PDE) is working with EPA in further quantifying and valuing the effects of climate change on the provisioning of ecosystem services in the Delaware Estuary. This work will aid PDE in developing an adaptation plan by providing information related to the vulnerability of various habitat types and ecosystem services, options for improving resilience, and additional considerations for estuarine restoration.
Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (2011)
The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary is examining best practices for a living shoreline approach to maintaining ecological quality in its tidal wetlands and watershed, and will develop a strategy for implementing demonstration projects, which evaluates various tactics, assesses impediments and obstacles to action, and recommends approaches for local projects.
Albemarle-Pamlico NEP (2008)
The Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program held seven public listening sessions to discuss the combined impacts of sea level rise and population growth, and is developing an adaptation communication strategy for local policy makers. Results are available in the report Public Listening Sessions: Sea Level Rise and Population growth in North Carolina (PDF) (68 pp, 4.46MB, About PDF).
Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program (2011)
The Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program is working with EPA’s Climate Ready Water Utilities (CRWU) to provide technical assistance to a local utility interested in assessing and implementing adaptation options for expected climate change impacts. Through the Climate Resilience Evaluation and Assessment Tool (CREAT), the project team will assess the utility’s short, medium, and long-term climate risks to its infrastructure and the surrounding natural environment.
Charlotte Harbor NEP (2008)
Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP) developed a vulnerability assessment/overview for its seven-county southwest Florida study area, and is working directly with the City of Punta Gorda to apply the vulnerability assessment, and develop adaptation options. In February 2010, CHNEP published a report, Charlotte Harbor Regional Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment (PDF) (65 pp, 2.85MB, About PDF) .
Charlotte Harbor NEP (2009)
Charlotte Harbor NEP is working with EPA in developing climate change indicators for the estuarine systems and a monitoring plan. This work contributes to the NEP's existing adaptation planning efforts. EPA is also providing assistance in creating model ordinances and other policy tools for climate change adaptation. Efforts are described in the CHNEP Environmental Indicators Report (PDF) (7 pp, 2MB, About PDF).
Charlotte Harbor NEP (2010)
Charlotte Harbor NEP will work to develop conceptual ecological model(s) to help bridge the gap between vulnerability assessments and adaptation plans.
Indian River Lagoon NEP (2009)
Indian River Lagoon NEP is working with the City of Satellite Beach, Florida, on a sea level rise vulnerability assessment, which will be used to identify options for reducing risk, plan for adaptation, and educate local decision makers. Indian River Lagoon NEP hopes that initial success with the City of Satellite Beach will attract the interest of other municipalities within the estuary. A report, Assessing the City of Satellite Beach’s Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise (PDF) (27 pp, 2.7MB, About PDF) , describing the initial planning process to mitigate submergence is available.
Indian River Lagoon NEP (2010)
Indian River Lagoon NEP is assessing impacts of sea level rise to wetlands in the Indian River lagoon and will identify sites with the potential for management as up-gradient locations for wetland migration as sea level rises. Outreach and education to inform stakeholders and build support for these efforts will also be conducted.
Indian River Lagoon NEP (2012)
The successful restoration of the Indian River Lagoon is dependent upon the protection of existing seagrass habitat and the regrowth of seagrasses in barren deeper areas to its ecological depth limit. The Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program will model seagrass response to sea level rise to identify and rank areas of probable habitat collapse or robust proliferation. This project will ensure that scarce resources are directed toward strategies that improve water quality and achieve TMDL nutrient reductions in places with higher probability of successfully expanding seagrass coverage.
Mobile Bay NEP (2012)
Climate change threatens human and environmental resources in the lower Three Mile Creek watershed. Low income and environmental justice communities that surround the creek are particularly vulnerable to impacts associated with increased stormwater runoff, nonpoint source pollution, and sea level rise. The Mobile Bay National Estuary Program will assess climate change vulnerability and resilience, and increase community understanding of how climate change will affect people, water quality, and ecological integrity in the Three Mile Creek watershed. This project will improve the knowledge and capacity of key stakeholders and local residents to actively participate in watershed management and adaptation planning in order to improve the area's resiliency to the impacts of climate change.
Mobile Bay NEP (2012)
In partnership with Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, the Town of Dauphin Island, the Dauphin Island Water and Sewer Authority, and the Dauphin Island Park and Beach Board, the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program will work to improve the ability of Dauphin Island to adapt to climate change. Assistance and support will be provided to scope climate change impacts to the natural and built environment as well as water infrastructure. A climate change risk assessment and a review of the community's adaptive capacity will lead to recommendations for addressing the identified vulnerabilities.
Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (2010)
Sarasota Bay Estuary Program develop an online sea level rise viewer for Sarasota Bay using LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) data. A report with maps and a technical explanation of results was also prepared. SBEP also received EPA assistance to develop an adaptation plan that includes public outreach and that supports updates to local comprehensive plans to integrate adaptation measures.
Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (2011)
To build on their previous CRE project, Sarasota Bay Estuary Program and its partners will prepare a guide on tips and early lessons learned from introducing an online sea level rise viewer. The focus of this guide will be on the experiences gained working with local governments, local business and community leaders, and other interested organizations.
Tampa Bay Estuary Program (2009)
EPA is worked with Tampa Bay Estuary Program to initiate the development of a manual for Gulf Coast communities to assist in incorporating climate change effects into habitat restoration and protection. This project will identify actions for improving resiliency in estuarine restoration and protection plans in all coastal communities along the Gulf Coast.
Tampa Bay Estuary Program (2011)
Building on their previous CRE work, Tampa Bay Estuary Program will coordinate a cooperative effort to develop the Gulf Coast Community Handbook. The handbook will use case studies from around the Gulf of Mexico to illustrate on-the-ground approaches and lessons learned.
EPA Region 6: Ecosystems Protection Branch
EPA Region 9: Oceans, Coasts, and Estuaries
Morro Bay National Estuary Program (2011)
The Morro Bay National Estuary Program will work with EPA’s Climate Ready Water Utilities (CRWU) and a local water utility to develop information for a climate risk assessment focusing on drinking water supplies in the watershed. The Climate Resilience Evaluation and Adaptation Tool (CREAT) and SEAWAT (a groundwater flow model) will be used to gauge climate change risk to surface water and groundwater supplies and assess adaptation options.
The San Francisco Bay Program worked in partnership with EPA's Office of Research and Development to use expert elicitation as a methodology for identifying climate change-related risks. In this pilot study, groups of experts focused on key ecosystem processes related to sediment retention in mudflats and salt marshes and resulting impacts on wading shorebirds and their food sources. Results from this effort were published in February 2012 in the report, Vulnerability Assessments in Support of the Climate Ready Estuaries Program: A Novel Approach Using Expert Judgment, Volume I: Results for the San Francisco Estuary Partnership.
Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission (2010)
The Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission will investigate the vulnerability of wetlands to sea level rise. The results of this investigation will inform wetland managers in their decision-making and will be incorporated into the Los Angeles Regional Collaborative for Climate Action and Sustainability climate action plan.
EPA Region 10: National Estuary Program in Region 10
Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership (2010)
The Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership is incorporating climate change into the estuary program’s Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan to guide climate change adaptation efforts and to implement its strategy.
Puget Sound Partnership (2010)
The Puget Sound Partnership will work to develop adaptation guidance for habitat restoration projects and to identify climate change indicators for the regional monitoring program. The Puget Sound Partnership is also receiving EPA assistance to support its plans to incorporate climate change adaptation into the Puget Sound Action Agenda that guides regional recovery activities.
Tillamook Estuaries Partnership (2011)
The Tillamook Estuaries Partnership will develop a vulnerability assessment of likely climate change effects in their watershed to bring together the current understanding of how the climate will change and what the significant environmental impacts will be.