"Resiliency's Role in Our Coastal Communities"

HDR's Waterscapes, September 2015, Issue No.1
By Lynette Cardoch, PhD - Coastal Resiliency Director and Betty Dehoney, CEP, PMP, ENV SP - Principal Environmental Planner

Read the full article.

Coastal wetlands are among the most productive ecosystems on earth. In 2010, 123.3 million people, or 39 percent of the nation's population, lived in counties bordering the coastal shoreline. More than 50% of commercially harvested fish in the United States depend on estuaries and nearby coastal waters at some stage in their life cycle. And wetlands buffer coastal areas against storm and wave damage and help stabilize shorelines.

Considering all of the beneficial uses, the economic value of our coastal resources is likely to be in the hundreds of billions of dollars, if not more.

But our coastal wetlands, on which many of these benefits rely, face intense survival pressures. Climate change is one of the greatest natural challenges to our coastal wetlands and the economic and social fiber of our coastal communities. Manifestations, such as sea level rise, extreme temperature and precipitation events and increased storm intensities, pose unique challenges to the integrity of our wetlands. Yet the health of our coastal communities relies on the survival of our coastal wetlands. Therefore, how do we help our coastal wetlands systems stay, or become, resilient enough to face climate challenge?