Modeling sea level rise impacts to Oregon’s tidal wetlands: Maps and prioritization tools to help plan for habitat conservation into the future

Laura S. Brophy and Michael J. Ewald
Posted on: 10/18/2018 - Updated on: 2/28/2020

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Tidal wetlands are important habitats for salmon and a diversity of other fish and wildlife species. They also trap sediment, buffer coastal communities from flooding and erosion, and perform other valued ecosystem services. Tidal wetlands currently exist just at and above sea level, and healthy tidal wetlands are able to adapt to slow sea level changes. But if sea level rises too fast, tidal wetland plant communities may not be able to persist at their current locations. To survive, these plants may have to move to areas of higher elevation. These higher areas are called “landward migration zones” ("LMZs"); they are potential future tidal wetlands under sea level rise ("SLR"). This project modeled and prioritized these LMZs. It was sponsored and supported by the MidCoast Watersheds Council (MCWC) and the Pacific States Marine Fisheries Commission and funded by the Oregon Watershed Enhancement Board and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service's Coastal Program.