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Workshop offers perspective on Hurricane Sandy marsh resiliency projects at multiple scales

At the end of the first year of Hurricane Sandy tidal marsh resiliency science projects, grantees met to exchange information and align efforts toward common goals for the next two years.

More than 50 participants representing universities, non-profit organizations, and state and federal agencies gathered at the Fish and Wildlife Service Northeast Regional Office in December to compare notes on regional tidal marsh resiliency efforts in the face of global climate change.

“Saltmarshes are facing huge threats like ongoing degradation from adjacent development, ditching and invasive species, which will only be exacerbated by sea level rise, increased frequency of storms and other climate change impacts,” said North Atlantic LCC Coordinator Andrew Milliken in his opening remarks at the workshop. “But we have a unique opportunity with Hurricane Sandy funding to address these threats. We are here because we all recognize both the threat the need to effectively coordinate in order to take advantage of this important opportunity.”

The Department of the Interior is funding a suite of tidal marsh projects and an LCC-facilitated project developing and delivering decision-support tools to help understand impacts of sea-level rise and storms to salt marshes. The workshop provided a forum for partners working on projects ranging from site-specific restoration to regional coastal resilience models to discuss progress, needs, and strategies to collectively guide monitoring and regional conservation planning in the face of coastal change.

“I’m thrilled about how we are using this funding as an opportunity to collect solid baseline information,” said Jan Taylor, coordinator of Hurricane Sandy resiliency projects on National Wildlife Refuges in the Northeast. “We’ve done so much within nine months. I’m amazed we have such solid partnerships and thoughts about how to improve for the future.”

With greater perspective on the overall scope of Hurricane Sandy tidal marsh projects, participants helped to identify next steps for ensuring that individual projects contribute to overall goals. Key considerations for moving forward include determining appropriate ways to measure resilience at different scales, linking projects at different scales, coordinating spatial data management, sharing data and decision tools, and communicating uncertainty in models at local levels.

Moving forward, the partners will continue to share information and resources using a collaborative workspace on the North Atlantic LCC website and data portal.

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