Thursday, February 2, 2006

The Impacts of Sea Level Change on Wildlife Refuges


    The US Fish and Wildlife Service reports that University of Maryland graduate students, working with the National Wildlife Refuge System, have developed a computer model that predicts the impacts of rising sea levels on national wildlife refuges.
    Graduate students from the university’s Sustainable Development and Conservation Biology Program estimate that sea level rise threatens the loss of 22 percent of the world’s coastal wetlands by 2080. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is responsible for about 1 million acres of coastal wetlands across 159 coastal refuges.
    The results from the new computer model, called Zone Inundation and Marsh Migration, could well be an important step in helping national wildlife refuge staff decide how to protect and manage the wetlands they manage. The result also could help the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service decide where to expand national wildlife refuges in order to continue providing wildlife habitat. The computer model offers four methods of analysis: regional context, diagnosis of present marsh conditions, prediction of changes in marsh zones, and analysis of long-term marsh changes.

Biodiversity, Climate Change, Environmental Assessment, Governance/Management, Physical Science, US | Permalink

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