3.10 Chesapeake Bay - Sea Level Rise Reports

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3.10 Chesapeake Bay: Local Area Coastal Habitat and Environmental Implications of Sea Level Rise: Anticipated Effects by Multicounty Region Author: Ann Shellenbarger Jones, Industrial Economics Inc.

The environmental implications of sea level rise vary in extent and certainty for different habitat types. Section 3.1 provides general background on species and their habitats vulnerable to sea level rise for the mid-Atlantic. This collection of short literature reviews describes where impacts to these vulnerable species may occur in Chesapeake Bay by taking a walk along its shoreline, beginning with Norfolk, Virginia, and continuing up the western side of the bay (traversing the Potomac and Patuxent rivers and up to the Susquehanna River), then returning along the eastern shore of the bay, to the southern tip of Northampton County.

These brief literature reviews discuss species that could be at risk because of further habitat loss resulting from sea level rise and shoreline protection. Existing literature and knowledge of coastal scientists in the area are sufficient in many cases to make qualitative statements about the possible impact if sea level rise causes a total loss of habitat, which might be expected if shores are protected with hard structures or the wetlands are unable to keep pace with sea level rise. Our ability is more limited, however, to say what the impact might be if only a portion of the habitat is lost. The reviews take account of shoreline features, anticipated shore protection, and the potential for wetlands to keep pace with We rely on various published sources of data and rising sea level. Where possible, they assess the information on wetlands, shoreline type and combined implications of those factors, to condition, erosion, future shore protection, and indicate predicted retention or loss of current habitat types and locations to characterize primary habitats. Where available, we delineate current and potential future shoreline ecology of effects associated with a particular location (e.g. Chesapeake Bay.520 unique shoreline type, endangered and threatened species) (see Section 3.1 for descriptions of generalized potential responses). Map 3.8 illustrates the regions of Chesapeake 520 Bay and the key locations for which we have Sources for wetlands information: Tiner and Burke, 1995 (see note 32); and National Wetlands Inventory. data on the species that depend on habitat Sources for shoreline type and condition: Comprehensive vulnerable to sea level rise. We discuss the Coastal Inventory Program, 2005, Shoreline Situation following multicounty sections separately. Reports, Virginia Institute of Marine Science (VIMS), College of William and Mary, Gloucester Point, VA, available at http://ccrm.vims.edu/gis/gisdata.html. These reports, which will eventually be available for all counties on Chesapeake Bay, include surveys of bank condition (height, erosion extent, vegetative cover, land use), presence and condition of fronting marsh or beach, and the extent and types of shoreline protections. Source for accretion estimates, unless otherwise noted: Reed et al., Section 2.1. Source for erosion information in Maryland: Maryland Shoreline Changes Online, from the Maryland Department of Natural Resources. Available at: http://shorelines.dnr.state.md.us/sc_online.asp.

Source for shoreline and habitat types: A set of four maps are available from NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration for all of Chesapeake Bay, showing seasonal changes in the Chesapeake (ESI 1993). Detailed digital maps (GIS format) are available from NOAA's Office of Response and Restoration for the Virginia portion of Chesapeake Bay (ESI 2005). These maps provide detail on shoreline type, nearshore and inshore habitats, and locations of endangered species.

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SECTION 3.10

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Map 3.8. Environmental Importance of Habitat Vulnerable to Sea Level Rise: Locations Examined in this Report. See legend on next page for location name index and associated habi