Assessing How Climate Change Will Affect Coastal Habitats in the Northeast

Factsheet Resource
October 2018

Climate change will significantly affect coastal habitats as sea levels, storms, erosion, and water quality change. However, the impacts on different habitats in different locations will vary, and it is not clear how coastal managers should best protect vulnerable habitats such as marshes, seagrass beds, and dunes. A more complete understanding of risks could help coastal managers prioritize actions that could enhance the resilience of coastal habitats. A new tool, the Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Tool for Coastal Habitats (CCVATCH), has been developed to help land managers, decision makers, and researchers develop conservation, management, and restoration plans for coastal habitats. This assessment tool identifies primary sources of vulnerability to assist with prioritizing coastal habitat management actions.

A 2015 Science Transfer grant enabled four reserves in New England to use CCVATCH to conduct assessments of coastal habitats in their reserves, demonstrating the utility of the tool to support adaptive management in response to climate change. This factsheet describes the project approach, benefits, products, and next steps.