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Web Pages Provide Resource for Understanding Computer Model’s Predictions on Potential Habitat Impacts from Sea Level Rise

The SLAMM model shows the likelihood of where coastal marsh will exist in Clinton Harbor (Hammonasset Beach State Park) in 2100. Red areas are more likely.

The SLAMM model shows the likelihood of where coastal marsh will exist in Clinton Harbor (Hammonasset Beach State Park) in 2100. Dark red areas are more likely.

 

Long Island Sound Study’s website has added new web pages to assist conservation commissions, land trusts, academic institutions, NGOs and others interested in understanding a computer model’s  predictions on how salt marshes  in Long Island Sound may to respond to sea level rise.

Information about how  the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model, known as SLAMM, was applied to Long Island Sound was developed as a resource to assist land use planners and natural resource managers in making decisions on how to manage the region’s changing salt marsh habitats.

The pages provide access to easy-to-use web based map viewers for SLAMM, which was applied to each segment of the Sound’s shoreline to predict how each coastal area is expected to respond to sea level rise. The website also includes a fact sheet

hammonassett

SLAMM predicts that infrequently flooded high marsh-dominated salt marshes, such as this along the Hammonasset River, are expected to change to low marsh-dominated systems with more mudflats, affecting the suite of plants and animals that use the high marsh to breed and feed.

describing SLAMM, data viewer user manuals, and data summaries by State and for the entire Sound.

SLAMM has been used by coastal managers since its initial development by EPA in the 1980s. A recent enhancement to the model not only predicts how salt marshes are expected to migrate in response to sea level rise, but the likelihood that a marsh will exist in a location at different time steps. This information will help resource managers most effectively target limited resources to areas with greatest potential for supporting marshes in the future. SLAMM is also unique in that it predicts not only where marshes are expected to occur in the future, but how different habitat types within a marsh are expected to change. For example, even under a moderate sea level rise scenario, the existing high marsh dominated plant communities at Hammonasset Beach State Park are expected to change significantly before the end of the century, posing significant marsh habitat and park management issues that will need to be addressed in the near term.

Check out how your local marsh may respond to sea level rise at different time steps through the year 2100 and learn more about the Sound’s tidal marshes and ecological processes affecting the Sound’s marshes in the future by visiting the LIS SLAMM web site at http://longislandsoundstudy.net/research-monitoring/slamm/.

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