NATIONAL CENTER FOR CASE STUDY TEACHING IN SCIENCE

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NATIONAL CENTER FOR CASE STUDY TEACHING IN SCIENCE A Presentation to Accompany the Case

NATIONAL CENTER FOR CASE STUDY TEACHING IN SCIENCE A Presentation to Accompany the Case Study: The Polar Bear of the Salt Marsh? Beth A. Lawrence Natural Resources & the Environment; Center for Environmental Science & Engineering University of Connecticut, Storrs, CT Christopher R. Field National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC) University of Maryland, Annapolis, MD 1

Learning Objectives • Integrate key concepts related to rising sea levels on coastal wetlands:

Learning Objectives • Integrate key concepts related to rising sea levels on coastal wetlands: plant adaptations, vegetation zonation, sea level rise, marsh migration. • Interpret data to draw conclusions about environmental change. • Evaluate alternative management decisions. 2

Where do salt marshes occur? Where land meets the sea, moderately sloped coastlines, and

Where do salt marshes occur? Where land meets the sea, moderately sloped coastlines, and temperate zones. Salt marshes: green; mangrove forests: orange 3

Why are salt marshes important? • Very productive ecosystem • Sequester lots of carbon

Why are salt marshes important? • Very productive ecosystem • Sequester lots of carbon (carbon sink) • Provide habitat: shellfish, fisheries, threatened & endangered species • Improve water quality • Remove nitrogen via denitrification • Reduce storm impacts • Reduce erosion 4

Why are salt marsh sparrow nests drowning? Bride Brook Salt Marsh, CT USA 5

Why are salt marsh sparrow nests drowning? Bride Brook Salt Marsh, CT USA 5

Salt Marsh Plant Zonation 6

Salt Marsh Plant Zonation 6

Sea-Level Rise (SLR) NASA video: http: //www. space. com/30379 -nasa-sea-level-rise-model-video. html 7

Sea-Level Rise (SLR) NASA video: http: //www. space. com/30379 -nasa-sea-level-rise-model-video. html 7

Will salt marshes migrate? What might impede salt marsh migration? Wheeler Marsh, CT Barn

Will salt marshes migrate? What might impede salt marsh migration? Wheeler Marsh, CT Barn Island, CT Old Saybrook, CT 8 Images from Google Maps

So is the salt marsh sparrow the polar bear of the salt marsh? Compare

So is the salt marsh sparrow the polar bear of the salt marsh? Compare and contrast. ? 9

You own a $1. 5 million house in Old Saybrook in the marsh migration

You own a $1. 5 million house in Old Saybrook in the marsh migration zone. What do you do in the face of sea-level rise? Conduct outside research on assigned sea-level response strategy. A. B. C. D. E. Beach nourishment Sea wall construction Conservation easement Sell property Put house on stilts (adaptation) Create a bullet list of pros and cons, and bring to class. 10

Coastal landowners can take actions to protect their properties from increased coastal flooding. Some

Coastal landowners can take actions to protect their properties from increased coastal flooding. Some examples include: • “Natural infrastructure, ” such as artificial reefs and beach nourishment. • Raising homes on stilts. • Building sea walls and other forms of “shoreline hardening. ” 11

…sea walls and other forms of “shoreline hardening” would likely impede marsh migration Imagery

…sea walls and other forms of “shoreline hardening” would likely impede marsh migration Imagery date: 4/20/2016 12 Old Saybrook, CT

In Connecticut alone, there are > 30, 000 private landowners in the zone predicted

In Connecticut alone, there are > 30, 000 private landowners in the zone predicted to be marsh by 2100 Old Saybrook, CT Individual behavior is likely to have a large effect on the potential for marsh migration into populated areas 13

Little is known about the factors that influence landowners behaviors in relation to increased

Little is known about the factors that influence landowners behaviors in relation to increased coastal flooding, but they may be influenced by: • Behaviors of others (especially neighbors) via social norms, cascading actions (Scyphers et al. , 2015, Conservation Letters 8), or deliberative decisionmaking (Gastil, 1993, Democracy in Small Groups). • Personal and demographic characteristics (e. g. , income, age, gender, political party affiliation). • Beliefs and attitudes (e. g. , beliefs about climate change and sea-level rise). 14

What proportion of landowners would be willing to participate in conservation agreements that would

What proportion of landowners would be willing to participate in conservation agreements that would facilitate marsh migration? For example: • Outright purchase of the property by a conservation organization (typically for fair market value). • Conservation easement (forgoing the option to build sea walls in return for a tax incentive and monetary compensation). 15

Results from a survey of Connecticut landowners (n = 1002) found that only a

Results from a survey of Connecticut landowners (n = 1002) found that only a small proportion of respondents are likely to participate in conservation agreements (Field et al. , 2017). Preferred option None Sea wall Easement Purchase Covenant Future interest 0. 0 0. 2 0. 4 0. 6 Proportion of respondents 16

The Salt Marsh Squeeze: Threats from Land Sea • In New England, salt marshes

The Salt Marsh Squeeze: Threats from Land Sea • In New England, salt marshes are threatened by • Sea level rise • Impediments to marsh migration • Physical barriers- roads, seawalls, forests, agriculture • Institutional barriers- lack of proactive government policies • Social barriers- people not interested in doing anything • The services (habitat, flood abatement, carbon storage, nutrient removal) provided by salt marshes will be diminished or lost without action. 17