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Why Restore Coastal Habitats?

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A presentation about the importance of restoring coastal habitats. Presented by David M. Burdick from the University of New Hampshire during the Buzzards Bay Coalition's 2012 Decision Makers Workshop …

A presentation about the importance of restoring coastal habitats. Presented by David M. Burdick from the University of New Hampshire during the Buzzards Bay Coalition's 2012 Decision Makers Workshop series. Learn more at www.savebuzzardsbay.org/DecisionMakers

Published in: Education, Technology

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  • 1. Why Restore Coastal Habitats? David M. Burdick Associate Research Professor Jackson Estuarine Laboratory Department of Natural Resources & the Environment University of New Hampshire Durham, NH 03824 david.burdick@unh.edu
  • 2. Why Restore Coastal Habitats? Outline 1)  2)  3)  4)  Habitats, Values and Threats, including Climate Change Impacts, Perception and Action Benefits, Ecosystem Services Case Study: Little River Marsh Take home messages
  • 3. Southeastern Masschusetts is endowed with a rich mosaic of coastal habitats Beaches and Dune Systems Photo: Sean Woods
  • 4. Salt Marshes
  • 5. Sand and Mudflats Photo: Sean Woods
  • 6. Shellfish Beds and Reefs Photo:
Nathan
Johnson, 
Orion
Photo
Produc3ons

  • 7. Seagrass Meadows Photo: Fred Short, UNH
  • 8. Rivers flowing into bays (estuaries)
  • 9. Functional values associated with these habitats: •  Plant growth to support grazing and detritus-based food webs •  •  •  •  •  •  Secondary production Plant structure to provide habitat Support of biodiversity Protection from flooding Protection from coastal erosion Removal of sediments and excess nutrients •  Aesthetic, Recreational & Educational values •  Self-sustaining ecosystems Courtesy, Bob Ulanowitz
  • 10. Functional values associated with these habitats: •  Plant growth to support food webs •  Secondary production, including finfish and shellfish Photo: Lawrence Taylor Plant structure to provide habitat Support of biodiversity Protection from flooding Protection from coastal erosion Removal of sediments and excess nutrients •  Aesthetic, Recreational & Educational values •  Self-sustaining ecosystems •  •  •  •  • 
  • 11. Functional values associated with these habitats: •  Plant growth to support food webs •  Secondary production •  Plant structure to provide habitat for nursery, refuge and foraging (dunes, tidal marshes, seagrass meadows, algal beds and artificial habitats) •  •  •  •  Support of biodiversity Protection from flooding Protection from coastal erosion Removal of sediments and excess nutrients •  Aesthetic, Recreational & Educational values •  Self-sustaining ecosystems
  • 12. Functional values associated with these habitats: •  Plant growth to support food webs •  Secondary production •  Plant structure to provide habitat •  Support of local and regional biodiversity Courtesy Joe Luczkovich •  Protection from flooding •  Protection from coastal erosion •  Removal of sediments and excess nutrients •  Aesthetic, Recreational & Educational values •  Self-sustaining ecosystems Courtesy Robert Buchsbaum
  • 13. Functional values associated with these habitats: •  •  •  •  Plant growth to support food webs Secondary production Plant structure to provide habitat Support of biodiversity •  Protection from flooding •  Protection from coastal erosion •  Removal of sediments and excess nutrients •  Aesthetic, Recreational & Educational values •  Self-sustaining ecosystems Photo: Dick Nicholson
  • 14. Functional values associated with these habitats: •  •  •  •  •  •  Plant growth to support food webs Secondary production Plant structure to provide habitat Support of biodiversity Protection from flooding Protection from coastal erosion •  Removal of sediments and excess nutrients (marshes, seagrasses) to increase habitat stability and improve water quality •  Aesthetic, Recreational & Educational values •  Self-sustaining ecosystems Photo: Sean Woods
  • 15. Functional values associated with these habitats: •  Plant growth to support food webs •  Secondary production •  Plant structure to provide habitat •  Support of biodiversity •  Protection from flooding •  Protection from coastal erosion •  Removal of sediments and excess nutrients Photo: Wellfleet Shellfish Dep’t. •  Aesthetic, Recreational & Educational values •  Self-sustaining ecosystems Photo: Fred Short
  • 16. Functional values associated with these habitats: •  Plant growth to support food webs •  Protection from flooding •  Secondary production •  Protection from coastal erosion •  Plant structure to provide habitat •  Removal of sediments and excess nutrients •  Support of biodiversity •  Aesthetic, Recreational & Educational values •  Self-sustaining ecosystems Photo: Sean Woods
  • 17. Processes that contribute to the Habitats: Coastal Features Coastal Processes Gulf of Maine Rivers C u s p Barrier Beach Eelgrass bed Salt Marsh Step Spit Inlet Fan S t o r m s Plate Tectonics Evolution US ACoE Glaciers Oceanic Currents Succession soils Gulf of Maine
  • 18. Processes that contribute to the Habitats: •  Primary Production •  Growth •  Herbivory •  Predation •  Decomposition •  Secondary Production Photo: Don DesJardin •  Migrations of fish (herring, eel, bass) and birds (terns)
  • 19. Processes that contribute to the Habitats: •  Complex Food Webs - a characteristic of a healthy diverse ecosystem - some have already lost complexity as a result of: Michael Moore –  –  –  –  Over-fishing and over-harvesting specific species Introductions of invasive non-native species Human alterations to the landscape Eutrophication Fred Short, UNH Wellfleet Shellfish Dep’t. Joe Luczkovich P. Erickson, MIT SeaGrant
  • 20. Threats to Ocean Resources: •  •  •  •  •  •  •  Overfishing Invasive species Pollution, especially runoff Habitat alteration Coastal development Aquaculture Climate change •  Pew Oceans Commission Restoration is about reversing the effects of all of these impacts
  • 21. Threats to Coastal Processes and Habitats •  Over- Fishing / Harvesting: examples Northern Right Whale; cod declines; bird and turtle eggs; scallops Photo: Lawrence Taylor Photo: Michael Moore
  • 22. Threats to Coastal Processes and Habitats •  Introductions of non-native, invasive species: codium, green crab, Japanese shore crab, others Photo: P. Erickson, MIT SeaGrant Photo: Ch. Schubart
  • 23. Threats to Coastal Processes and Habitats •  Pollution: Photo: Vincent DeWitt •  Contaminants (metals, organic pesticides) •  Bacterial Pathogens •  Nutrient over enrichment and the cascading effects of eutrophication Photo: Fred Short
  • 24. Threats to Coastal Processes and Habitats •  Human alteration of Habitat •  Restricting or blocking tidal exchange •  Interruption of sediment supply and transport •  Artificial Habitats Town of Wellfleet Web Site Courtesy Robert Buschbaum, MAS
  • 25. Threats to Coastal Processes and Habitats •  Human alteration of Habitat •  Restricting or blocking tidal exchange •  Interruption of sediment supply and transport (dredging, erosion control) •  Artificial Habitats - from development, aquaculture Photo: Sean Woods
  • 26. Threats to Coastal Processes and Habitats Climate Change Impacts (Tidal Marshes) •  Increased sea level – retreat of high marsh? •  Increased storm activity - Seaward edges will retreat •  Temperature increases - Vegetation Changes: •  Range expansions, loss of forb pannes? •  Increased rainfall •  Vegetation change due to Decreased salinity?
  • 27. Our Climate is Changing: Our Climate Continues to Change: Global: Surface temperatures +0.74°C Arctic temperatures 2X Snow and Ice: Snow cover decreasing Glaciers shrinking Arctic sea-ice decreasing Ice shelf losses Thermal expansion of the oceans: SLR has increased from 1.7 to 3.0 mm/yr
  • 28. Our LOCAL Climate is Changing: Seasons changing (shorter, warmer winters, ice-out sooner) More info at: http:/ /CarbonSolutionsNE.org
  • 29. Our LOCAL Climate is Changing: Local precipitation increased 20% since ’30s (42 in/year) Precipitation events larger Tomas (19th named storm in 2010) Mean Decadal Trend 1” Precipitation Events 1948-2007
  • 30. Adapting to Climate Change •  Increasing SLR threatens tidal wetlands –  Allow tidal marshes to grow with SLR in elevation –  Allow marshes to migrate landward (no barriers) from
Smith
2006

  • 31. What did we have? What are we left with? •  Depauperate system –  70% of tidal marshes, almost if not all with varying degrees of recurring human impacts –  Tiny bits of seagrass –  Shellfish beds overfished and predated by invasive species (green crab) –  Most rivers dammed, fish ladders have declining anadromous runs
  • 32. Impacts from tidal restrictions: • Loss of fisheries (esp. anadromous spp.) • Vegetation change • Subsidence • Exotic invaders • Mosquito problems • Loss of self-maintenance • Fish passage trophic export from: Portnoy, J. and M. Reynolds. 1997. Wellfleet’s Herring River: the case for habitat restoration. Environment Cape Cod 1:35-43.
  • 33. Nekton Production and Export: the Trophic Relay Ethan Nedeau, Biodrawversity
  • 34. Fish caught in minnow traps marked and released upstream and downstream of culverts young resident nekton adult resident nekton young transient nekton adult transient nekton Vegetated marsh Alyson Eberhardt et al. Intertidal channels Subtidal channels Open estuary Ocean
  • 35. Recapture results of fish marking study: Fish Passage Rate Passage rate 0.3 Restricted Restored Reference 0.2 0.1 y=-0.1558x+0.2478 r2=0.8517 p0.0001 0.0 0.0 0.2 0.4 0.6 0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.6 Water velocity (m s-1) Alyson Eberhardt et al. 2011 1.8
  • 36. NEED: New functional indicators: Nekton Production and Export young resident nekton adult resident nekton young transient nekton adult transient nekton Vegetated marsh Alyson Eberhardt et al. 2011 Intertidal channels Subtidal channels Open estuary Ocean
  • 37. Why can’t we see the difference? •  Loss of connection to coastal resources –  Out of sight –  Don’t care •  Acceptance of environmental degradation •  Shifting Baselines http://www.shiftingbaselines.org/lenticulars/index.html –  ‘better than New Jersey’ –  We have more important things to deal with – its not broken . . . yet •  Change is cryptic removed from fundamental causes - increased runoff from impervious surfaces
  • 38. Why don’t we act? Loss of connection to coastal resources Acceptance of environmental degradation Shifting Baselines Change is cryptic and removed from fundamental causes •  Multiple Stable States: change to alternative state is sudden and difficult to reverse •  •  •  • 
  • 39. Why bother? •  Climate Change is coming, we must adapt •  So many attempts fail – but not all are equal –  Great track records for success: •  Tidal Marsh Restoration •  Dam Removal (e.g., Wiswall Dam) –  Fair to poor success / Room for improvement and learning: •  Shellfish Beds •  Seagrass Meadows
  • 40. So, keep the pressure on! •  New restorations of all kinds •  Integrate habitats
  • 41. So, keep the pressure on! •  New restorations of all kinds •  Integrate habitats
  • 42. Habitat Interactions Reduce
suspended
sediments 
 Absorb
excess
nutrients 
 Salt
Marshes
 Seagrass
Meadows
 Reduce
suspended 
 

sediments 
 Absorb
excess
 
 

nutrients 
 High
3de
refuge 
 Selement
sites 
 Preda3on
refuge 
 Prevent
Brown
3des 
 Reduce
suspended 
 
sediments 
 Shellfish
Beds 
and
Reefs 
 Reduce
plankton 
 Low
3de
refuge 
 Reduce
waves 
 Gulf
of
Maine 
 Calm
physical
stresses
 Improve
water
quality
 Provide
alternate
habitat
 Reduce
eutrophicaBon

  • 43. So, keep the pressure on! •  New restorations of all kinds •  Integrate habitats •  Measure results –  Critical for Adaptive Management (site) –  Improve knowledge and future projects (regional) –  Share information (international) –  Demonstrate value •  Case Study: Little River Marsh
  • 44. Case Study: Little River Marsh, NH
  • 45. Case Study: Little River Marsh, NH
  • 46. Restoration can be costly – is it worth it? Assessment: Structural indices (hydrology, soils, vegetation, nekton) Goals: To restore natural functions To provide benefits or values to people -a disconnect
  • 47. Functional values associated with tidal marshes: •  Plant growth to support food webs •  Secondary production •  Plant structure to provide habitat •  Support of biodiversity •  Removal of sediments and excess nutrients •  Aesthetic, Recreational Educational values •  Protection from flooding •  Self-sustaining ecosystems •  Protection from coastal erosion •  Long term carbon storage
  • 48. Gulf of Maine “GPAC” Protocols •  Hydrology Tidal Signal (WL Recorders), Elevation •  Soils and Sediments Salinity (and Sulfide, Eh, %C, accretion) •  Vegetation Abundance, Composition, Invasive spp, Ht. •  Nekton ID, Density, Length, Biomass, Richness •  Birds Abundance, Richness, Behavior Neckles et al. 2002. Restoration Ecology. 10(3) :556-563. Konisky et al. 2004.
  • 49. RPI – An Evaluation Tool Reference Marsh Value Restoration Restoration Trajectory Starting Point Calculates % Change towards Reference /Project Goal Normalizes actual data into a relative index score
  • 50. Value of Tidal Marsh Ecosystem Services per Annum per Hectare •  •  •  •  Costanza et al. 1987: $9,900 In 2008 $ (Gedan et al. 2009): $14,400 Carbon sequestration (European market): $135 Denitrification (Piehler and Smyth 2011): $6,128
  • 51. New Valuation Strategy Take:
 Ecological
Valua3on
‐
structural
and
func3onal 
indicators
used
to
measure
marsh
response
to 
restora3on
 Set
it
equal
to:
 Economic
Valua3on
–
ecosystem
service
values
of 
Costanza
et
al.
1997
(2008:
$14,400/ha/yr)
 Reference Marsh 100% 100% = $14,400 /yr Impacted Marsh 39% 39% = $5,600 /yr Time Restored Marsh 89% 89% = $12,800 /yr Net Gain in Ecosystem Services = $7200/ha/yr
  • 52. RPI Scores for Little River Marsh Calcula3on
of
Value
of
Net
Benefits
from
Ecosystem
Services
 RPI
=
0.91
in
Year
7;

 Value
lost
due
to
impacts
from
Bdal
restricBon
=
41%
 Year
7
value
relaBve
to
reference
marsh
=
0.91%
 SO
.
.
Restored
benefits
=
$14,
400/ha
*
0.41
*
0.91
*
70
ha
 





































=
$376,000

  • 53. RPI Calculations for Little River Marsh
  • 54. OVER first 5 years (2001-2005) = $1.2 million OVER next 6 years (2006-2011) = $2.2 million Cost $1.3 million From: Chapter 15: Tidal
RestoraBon:
a 
Synthesis
of
Science 
and
Management
 Charles
Roman


 David
Burdick,
editors
 ISLAND
PRESSS
 Summer
2012

  • 55. So, Why restore coastal habitat? •  •  •  •  •  Investment in Natural Capital (self maintenance) Increases Resilience (Climate Change is coming) Improves functions of adjacent habitats Reconnects public to local resources Returns value to economy every year (no depreciation) •  $$ goes to hire more people (30 / $million) –  RAE
  • 56. Quantifying Ecosystem Services of Restored Tidal Marshes July 29-August 4, 2012 A Natural History Field Seminar at Eagle Hill on the Eastern Maine Coast An Interactive, Intensive Seminar with Susan C. Adamowicz and David Burdick Humboldt Field Research Institute PO Box 9, Steuben, ME 04680-0009 207-546-2821, Fax 207-546-3042 office@eaglehill.us www.eaglehill.us Information is available on . . . • other natural history science seminars • graduate and undergrad university credits • continuing education units/recert. credits