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Rising to the Challenge: Will Tidal Marshes Survive Rising Seas?

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A 2016 Science Transfer project led by Elkhorn Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve focused on the development and dissemination of communications products based on a recently conducted national synthesis of NERR Sentinel Site data. This synthesis applied indices of resilience to sea level rise to marshes in 16 National Estuarine Research Reserves across the United States to assess regional and national patterns in resilience. Initial results revealed strong contrasts for individual metrics across reserves, with many marshes receiving intermediate scores and a few sites at very high risk. This work not only represented the first national assessment of marsh resilience to sea level rise but also the first development and application of multi-metric indices.

This document summarizes the challenges facing marshes nationwide and how the NERRS developed this new approach to assess and integrate five categories of marsh resilience.