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Accession Number 5003468

Title Sea level rise, marsh inundation, and wildlife habitat implications

Project Description With global climate change, average sea levels have risen in a number of areas in the United

States and in other parts of the world. Projections range from about 1 to 4 mm per year for many

areas along the Atlantic Coast. Some evidence exists that suggests in some coastal estuaries,

marsh surfaces will not be able to keep pace with sea level rise and will become inundated over

the next century or less. Salt marsh islands in large coastal lagoons seem to be more at risk than

fringe marshes along barrier islands or the mainland because of a paucity of inorganic sediments

available. Salt marsh islands are extremely important habitats for many species of waterbirds for

nesting, feeding, or roosting. These habitats may change dramatically in topography and area as

relative sea level rise causes inundation. This study proposes to couple measurements of physical

changes in sea level, marsh elevation and topography with biological estimates of habitat use by

a variety of waterbird species in coastal estuaries.

Keywords coastal marshes, human impacts, marsh inundation, migratory birds, national parks, national

wildlife refuges, salt marshes, sea level rise,

Principal Michael Erwin, USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center: rme5g@virginia.edu;

Investigators

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