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Synthesis and Assessment Product (SAP) 4.1: Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region

January 2009

This report is one in a series of 21 Synthesis and Assessment Products (SAPs) produced between 2004 and 2009 by the U. S. Climate Change Science Program, aimed at providing current assessments of climate change science in the U. S. to inform public debate, policy, and operational decisions. The U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), in collaboration with the U. S. Geological Survey (USGS) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), collaborated on this report that discusses the impacts of sea-level rise on the physical characteristics of the coast, on coastal communities, and the habitats that depend on them in Mid-Atlantic coastal environments.

Authors or Affiliated Users: James G. Titus, K. Eric Anderson, Donald R. Cahoon, Dean B. Gesch, Stephen K. Gill, Benjamin T. Gutierrez, E. Robert Thieler, S. Jeffress Williams

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Climate Change and the Chesapeake Bay: State-of-the-Science Review and Recommendations

September 2008

This report from the Chesapeake Bay Program Science and Technical Advisory Committee (STAC) addresses the current understanding of climate change impacts on the tidal Chesapeake Bay, and identifies critical knowledge gaps and research priorities. It is intended to provide the basis for incorporating climate change considerations into resource management decisions.

Authors or Affiliated Users: Christopher R. Pyke, Raymond Najjar, Mary Beth Adams, Denise Breitburg, Carl Hershner, Robert Howarth, Michael Kemp, Margaret Mulholland, Michael Paolisso, David Secor, Kevin Sellner, Denice Wardrop, Robert Wood

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Potential Climate Change Impacts on Marine Resources of the Northeastern United States

2007

This report synthesizes an assessment of potential changes in marine ecosystems off the northeastern United States in response to projected climate and emission scenarios, with a focus on temperature effects on living marine resources. It reviews likely impacts on the northeast continental shelf, and highlights potential effects on the distribution and abundance of the American lobster and Atlantic cod to illustrate the range of possible impacts throughout the region.

Authors or Affiliated Users: Michael Fogarty, Lewis Incze, Richard Wahle, David Mountain, Allan Robinson, Andrew Pershing, Katherine Hayhoe, Anne Richards, James Manning

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Potential for Shoreline Changes Due to Sea-Level Rise Along the U.S. Mid-Atlantic Region

2007

In 2007, thirteen scientists convened for a two-day meeting to exchange  information and develop a consensus opinion on potential future coastal changes for the mid-Atlantic coast in response to sea-level rise. This 2007 report is the result of this workshop, providing an overview of how sea level rise could impact mid-Atlantic coast landforms, from New York to Virginia. Four different scenarios for sea level rise were considered and applied to specific areas of the Atlantic coast: a) the long-term sea-level rise rate observed over the 20th century would persist over the 21st century; b) the 20th century rate would increase by 2 mm/yr; c) the 20th century rate would increase by 7 mm/yr; and d) sea-level would rise by 2 m over the next few hundred years.

Authors or Affiliated Users: Benjamin T. Gutierrez, S. Jeffries Williams, E. Robert Thieler

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Striking a Balance - A Guide to Coastal Dynamics and Beach Management in Delaware

2004

This report provides historical background and knowledge of coastal dynamics and beach management in Delaware, outlines the forces affecting Delaware's beaches - including the balance between development and protection of coastal resources, and explains statewide coastal management policies and the measures taken to mitigate the effects of erosion.

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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National Assessment of Coastal Vulnerability to Sea-Level Rise: Preliminary Results for the Atlantic Coast

1999

One of three national assessments of U. S. coastal regions conducted in the late 1990's, this assessment focused on the Atlantic coastline, while the other two focused on the Gulf Coast and Pacific coastlines. The overall goal of these studies was to identify those portions of the U. S. coastal regions at risk and the nature of that risk (e. g. , inundation, erosion, etc. ). The long-term goal of this study is to predict future coastal changes with a degree of certainty useful for coastal management, following an approach similar to that used to map national seismic and volcanic hazards.

Authors or Affiliated Users: E. Robert Thieler, Erika S. Hammar-Klose

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Lessons Learned from Delaware Lidar

A case study of Delaware's efforts to obtain LiDAR elevation maps of its coastline and the lessons that can be learned from the process, this short report may be useful to other states or localities looking to assess impacts from sea level rise and storm surge using LiDAR technology. After describing Delaware's need for LiDAR data in its coastal planning process, the authors address the specific lessons the state learned. These lessons relate to the need for properly scoping and defining a LiDAR mapping project, the need for data standardization, and the need to ensure that end users (in this case, planners) are sufficiently competent with information systems to put the elevation data to good use.

Resource Category: Assessments

 

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Organization

Delaware Resilient and Sustainable Communities League (RASCL)

Delaware Resilient and Sustainable Communities League (RASCL) is a network of state, nonprofit, and academic partners that coordinate a variety of programs and initiatives related to environmental resilience. RASCL’s mission is “[t]o accelerate the capacity of all communities in the State of Delaware to undertake the necessary steps to become sustainable and resilient.”

 

 

Organization

Delaware Sea Grant

Delaware Sea Grant conducts research in areas ranging from seafood safety to coastal hazards through hands-on research and educational activities, and sharing information on coastal topics with stakeholders. Delaware Sea Grant funds projects for the broad area of Ocean and Environmental Literacy, and more specifically: 1) Healthy Coastal Ecosystems, 2) Sustainable Coastal Development, 3) Safe and Sustainable Seafood Supply, and 4) Hazard Resilience in Coastal Communities.

 

 

Organization

Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC)

The mission of the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control (DNREC) is to ensure the wise management, conservation, and enhancement of the State's natural resources; protect public health and the environment; provide quality outdoor recreation; improve the quality of life; and educate the public on historic, cultural, and natural resource use, requirements and issues.