Display Project

Marshes to Mudflats: Climate Change Effects Along a Latitudinal Gradient in the Pacific Northwest

Project Information

Principal Investigator(s):
John Y. Takekawa (U.S. Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center)
Susan E De La Cruz (U.S. Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center)
Bruce Dugger (Oregon State University)
Bruce E Jaffe (U.S. Geological Survey Pacific Coastal & Marine Science Center)
Karen Thorne (U.S. Geological Survey, Western Ecological Research Center)
Susan L Ustin (University of California, Davis Center for Spatial Technologies and Remote Sensing)
Heath Bollman (Padilla Bay National Esturaine Research Reserve System)
Joseph Evenson (Washington Department of Fish and Wildlife)
Jackie Ferrier (Willapa National Wildlife Refuges)
Roger Fuller (The Nature Conservancy)
Kit Crump (The Nature Conservancy)
Alicia Helms (South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve)
Roy Lowe (Oregon Coast Refuges)
Mary Mahaffy (North Pacific Landscape Conservation Cooperative)
Doug Roster (Nisqually and Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuges)
Chris Ellings (Nisqually Indian Tribe)
Shannon Kirby (Skokomish Indian Tribe)

Start Date: September 2012

End Date: December 2014

Project Status: In Progress

Tags: Climate change, vulnerability, habitat vulnerability, sea-level rise, extreme storm events, tidal marsh restoration, mud flats, SHOAL, CSC, Northwest CSC, 2012, Science Project, vulnerability assessment

Affiliation: Northwest CSC

Fiscal Year: FY 2012 Projects


Coastal land managers are faced with many challenges in planning conservation strategies for nearshore habitats under future climate change scenarios. In the Pacific Northwest, these habitats are highly productive areas that support a wealth of wildlife species, from salmon to ducks. The salt marshes, mudflats, and shallow bays are connected habitats that are critical for these species and the local people and communities. Climate change effects, such as sea-level rise, are already altering these important areas, but scientists are unsure of the extent to which they are being affected or will be changed in the future.  This study will examine the current bottom elevations, tidal range, and sediment of these connected nearshore habitats and determine how these elements affect plant and animal species at several sites along the Oregon and Washington coasts. This research will also be used to predict how climate change may alter these coastal systems in the future. The results from this project will provide scientific information to support future planning and conservation of natural resources in the coastal regions of the Pacific Northwest in response to a changing climate.

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