Practical Guidance for Coastal Climate Smart Conservation Projects in the Northeast

'Practical Guidance for Coastal Climate-Smart Conservation Projects in the Northeast - Case Examples for Coastal Impoundments and Living Shorelines' is a report provided by an expert panel on coastal systems and climate change convened by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). This guidance is an initial step to provide wildlife and natural resource managers some practical tools for conserving ecosystems and critical species in current and future projects.

This report provides information on integrating climate change into projects taking place in the coastal environment by examining two specific project types - coastal impoundment and living shoreline projects. Coastal impoundments are areas of upland or wetland habitats where low level dikes have been constructed to restrict, retain, or exclude water over a selected area and are found along the northeastern coast of the U.S., many of which are managed by state fish and wildlife agencies. The term “living shorelines” applies to a variety of techniques used to minimize shoreline erosion while also providing habitat value. Living shoreline projects are being implemented throughout the Northeast by both state and federal coastal programs as well as private entities.

Coastal impoundments and living shorelines are defined and related climate change impacts are described for each, with a focus on sea-level rise and changes to storm intensity and frequency. For the guidance framework, the panel followed a 6-step framework that was originally designed for resource managers in the Great Lakes to make their restoration and conservation projects climate-smart. These six steps are defined as relevant to each coastal impoundments and living shorelines independently. 

The development of this guidance document is part of a larger NWF and Manomet Center for Conservation (Manomet) project. NWF and Manomet received a two-year grant from the Wildlife Conservation Society in September 2010 to conduct a project that focuses on three high-risk habitats in the Northeast - coastal, freshwater, and forested uplands, and to develop habitat specific guidance for each ecosystem.

Publication Date: December 15, 2011

Authors or Affiliated Users:

  • Austin Kane
  • Karen Bennett
  • Karen Chytalo
  • Rob Hossler
  • Paula Jasinski
  • Zoe P. Johnson
  • Skip Stiles
  • Bhaskar Subramanian
  • Graham Taylor
  • John Torgan
  • Patty Glick

Related Organizations:


Resource Category:

Resource Types:

  • Planning guides

States Affected:


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