Restore-Adapt-Mitigate: Responding to Climate Change Through Coastal Habitat Restoration
We treasure our coasts, from the tranquility of lapping waters to the thrill of the catch to the joy of a child building a sandcastle. Our lives and livelihoods are intimately connected with the health and prosperity of coastal waters and land. Our coasts are already suffering from climate change—from the dramatic impacts of hurricanes to the incessant creep of sea-level rise and ocean acidification. Climate change projections paint a dismal picture in which coastal habitats are degraded and lost over the coming decades—along with the coastal communities they support. We have an opportunity to respond to these projections with positive action to build resilient coasts and communities through conservation and proactive restoration efforts. The sooner that we take action, the less costly and more effective these efforts will be, and long-term planning is the most effective way to preserve these critical habitats and sustain our coastal communities.
The purpose of this report is to educate habitat restoration professionals, policymakers, and the public on the impacts climate change will have on coastal habitats and the possible role habitat restoration could play in mitigating those impacts. This is the first report that clearly demonstrates the opportunity to link the interconnectedness between coastal habitat restoration and adaptation and mitigation strategies related to reducing climate change impacts. They are not exclusive of each other, and if designed and managed correctly, can share mutual benefits. Much of this report is focused on policies and programs based in the United States, but many of the concepts, ideas, and recommendations translate easily to other locales.