Climate Change and the Delaware Estuary: Three Case Studies in Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Planning
The Delaware Estuary watershed and its natural resources will face a variety of challenges with climate change. Due to the many unique features of the Estuary, some aspects of changing climate may not be as severe here as in nearby watersheds and estuaries, whereas other changes may be more important. Since 2008, the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary has engaged experts from throughout the region to conduct an assessment of the vulnerabilities and adaptation options for three key resources of the Delaware Estuary: tidal wetlands, drinking water, and bivalve shellfish. These provide three case studies – a habitat case study, a human/water use case study, and a living resource case study – for looking at climate change impacts and how best to adapt to them here in the Delaware Estuary. These case studies represent the very first step in an adaptation planning process, the goal of which is to ensure the resiliency of this vast and valuable system as climate changes.