Coastal Adaptation Strategies: Case Studies

Innovative and unique solutions are being devised throughout the national park system to adapt to climate change in coastal parks. The 24 case studies in this document describe efforts at national park units in a variety of settings to prepare for and respond to climate change impacts that can take the form of either an event or a trend. Examples of these impacts include increased storminess, sea level rise, shoreline erosion, melting sea ice and permafrost, ocean acidification, warming temperatures, groundwater inundation, precipitation, and drought. The adaptation efforts described here include historic structure preservation, archeological surveys, baseline data collection and documentation, habitat restoration, engineering solutions, redesign and relocation of infrastructure, and development of broad management plans that consider climate change. Each case study also includes a point of contact for park managers to request additional information and insight.

These case studies initially were developed by park managers as part of a NPS-led coastal adaptation to climate change training hosted by Western Carolina University in May 2012. The case studies format follows the format created for EcoAdapt’s Climate Adaptation Knowledge Exchange (CAKE) database that identified a list of adaptation strategies. All case studies were updated and modified in September 2013 and March 2015 in response to a growing number of requests from coastal parks and other coastal management agencies looking for examples of climate change adaptation strategies for natural and cultural resources and assets along their ocean, lacustrine, and riverine coasts. 

Restoring the Jamaica Bay Wetlands, Gateway National Recreation Area, New York

Location

07732 Highlands , NJ
United States
40° 24' 13.392" N, 73° 59' 29.4972" W
New Jersey US
Author Name(s): 
Patricia Rafferty, Amanda Babson
Summary: 

Gateway National Recreation Area partnered with other state and federal agencies to restore wetlands in Jamaica Bay, a eutrophic urban estuary, through sediment addition and plantings. While the project was not driven by climate change concerns, addressing marsh elevation loss is consistent with methods to address sea level rise.

Eroding Shoreline Threatens Historic Peale Island Cabin, Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming

Location

United States
44° 25' 52.8492" N, 110° 22' 12.2484" W
US
Author Name(s): 
Rebecca Beavers, Courtney Schupp, Ian Slayton, Maria Caffrey
Summary: 

Yellowstone National Park collaborated with the National Park Service Geologic Resources Division (NPS GRD) to examine the causes of shoreline erosion on Peale Island and to identify adaptation options for protecting the shoreline and a historic cabin on the island. 

Shell Mound Sites Threatened by Sea Level Rise and Erosion, Canaveral National Seashore, Florida

Location

32168 New Smyrna Beach , FL
United States
29° 1' 32.9484" N, 80° 55' 37.1928" W
Florida US
Author Name(s): 
Margo Schwadron
Summary: 

Canaveral National Seashore contains several of the largest, most intact, and most significant prehistoric shell mounds in North America. Four of these mounds are threatened by erosion induced by sea level rise and increased storm activities.

Preparing for Impacts on Archeological Sites and Traditional Resources, Olympic National Park, Washington

Location

United States
47° 58' 32.8404" N, 124° 39' 57.546" W
US
Author Name(s): 
Dave Conca
Organization: 
Summary: 

Archeological sites and traditional resources of significance to indigenous groups along the Olympic Coast are being affected by climate change. The goals of this project can be split into three facets. The first is for the park to foster communication, data sharing, and cooperation between the eight federally listed tribes on the Olympic Peninsula and the National Park Service (NPS) to ensure proper alignment of resources and priorities for climate change adaptation.

Reservoir Water Level Change Impacts on Cultural Resources, Amistad National Recreation Area, Texas

Location

TX
United States
31° 58' 6.9564" N, 99° 54' 6.5268" W
Texas US
Author Name(s): 
Jack G. Johnson, Brenda K. Todd
Summary: 

Amistad National Recreation Area, Texas, protects many archeological sites in the Lower Pecos Canyonlands region of southwest Texas. Sites are affected by lake level fluctuations related to climate change impacts including precipitation, storms, and changes in agricultural water use. Park managers are documenting the impact of changing water levels on the cultural resources in the park. 

There are three geographic units: Sandy Hook, New Jersey; Jamaica Bay and Staten Island, New York City. The NYC units include Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, Fort Tilden, Riis Park in Queens, Floyd Bennett Field and Canarsie Pier in Brooklyn. Staten Island has Great Kills Park, Miller Field and Fort Wadsworth. These sites and others make up the 27,000 acres of Gateway, one national park. 

Preparing for Climate Change in Eastern Long Island, New York

The Peconic Estuary Program is using EPA’s publication, “Being Prepared for Climate Change: A Workbook for Developing Risk-Based Adaptation Plans” to create a risk-based climate change vulnerability assessment. This video describes some climate change impacts that are already affecting eastern Long Island. Local people explain why they are conducting the assessment and describe some of the ways they are starting to respond to climate change risks.

Educating Sportsmen in Montana about the Impacts of Climate Change

Location

MT
United States
47° 5' 2.6376" N, 111° 39' 30.7728" W
Montana US
Summary: 

The Theodore Roosevelt Conservation Partnership (TRCP) is an organization dedicated to land stewardship, expanding habitat and increasing public access to quality hunting and fishing. In 2007, Bill Geer of the TRCP piloted the Sportsmen's Values Mapping Project in Montana, which captures sportsmen’s input to delineate highly valued hunting and fishing areas.