Tidal marshes and the services they provide are products of the shifting interface between oceans, estuaries, and upstream watersheds. NHI is working in South San Francisco Bay to develop an analytical framework to investigate this interface under current and potential future conditions. A central tenet is that change in ecosystem services provided by tidal marshes cannot be based solely on sea level rise. Importantly, the fresh water and sediment issuing from watersheds could aid in mitigating service reductions due to climate change, while still providing watershed services. The watersheds of many intertidal zones are heavily managed and opportunities likely exist for climate change adaptations.
The project will link a set of models to produce estimates of water and sediment flux to the intertidal zone, then simulate and predict the distribution of wetlands and marsh vegetation classes under sea level rise and changes in salinity. Multiple scenarios to drive the models will be derived from sea level rise scenarios and climate scenario ensembles via statistical downscaling. We will use these to develop watershed management strategies to ameliorate the negative impacts of global warming and sea level rise on the ecosystem services of the tidal marsh