Managing Coastal Watersheds to Address Climate Change: Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Options for the Middle Patuxent Subwatershed of the Chesapeake Bay

The purpose of this project and report is to help the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and its partners to address climate change impacts in the Chesapeake Bay, focusing on how to integrate climate change into coastal restoration and conservation activities. To do this, the National Wildlife Federation (NWF) worked with NOAA, a panel, and technical experts to identify climate change impacts for the Middle Patuxent sub-watershed and developed options for adapting restoration and conservation practices to address those impacts.

This report describes the vulnerability of the Middle Patuxent sub-watershed and a selection of species, habitats, and conservation and restoration project types to climate change (Section II); and provides a suite of potential adaptation options to address those vulnerabilities (Section III). Several key next steps that could be taken to integrate this climate change information into conservation and restoration actions within the Middle Patuxent and the region can be found in Section IV.

The report provides 'Overarching Adaptation Options and Considerations' for:

- Water Quality and Climate Change Adaptation,

- Adapting to Stream Flow Alterations,

- Upstream Migration of Tidal Freshwater Habitats, and

- Adaptation Strategy Implementation and Timing. 

The 'Target Specific Adaptation Options' provide a summary of vulnerability for each species, habitat, and project assessed (detailed vulnerability assessments are available in Appendices D to N). Potential adaptation options and consideration also are included for each target which include: Yellow Perch, River Herring (Alewife and Blueback Herring), Blue Crab, Black Duck, Tidal Freshwater Wetlands, Submerged Aquatic Vegetation, Stream Habitat and Restoration, Wild Rice Restoration, Salt Marsh Restoration, Fish Passage Projects, and Oyster Restoration Projects.

For the Middle Patuxent, vulnerability information generated through this project can be used to consider how their management and conservation techniques may need to change for the species, habitats, and projects assessed. For the Chesapeake Bay region, many of the adaptation options outlined in this document will be relevant across the Bay.

Publication Date: August 2013

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