Maryland has an abundance of habitats that can help mitigate the effects of sea level rise, including marshes and submerged aquatic vegetation. In order to fully harness the protection potential of these natural features, we need to know how well they attenuate (or slow down) waves and reduce flooding, and what characteristics (e.g. marsh width) make them more successful.
Project scientists are collecting data from tidal wetlands, seagrass beds, and different types of living shorelines to quantify the benefits they provide. Hydrodynamic models with updated sea level rise projections will use this data to help us understand how these ecosystems will provide coastal protection into the future, and how they may transition over time as water levels rise.
Results can help natural resource managers decide where and how to best restore coastal habitats to provide the greatest coastal protection benefits.
The project is led by George Mason University, and is funded through the NCCOS Effects of Sea Level Rise (ESLR) Program. Project partners include Maryland Department of Natural Resources and The Nature Conservancy.