MARSheS on the Move
t naur Csrac
naial ocaic ad Amspric Admiisrai
global sea level is rising and coastal wetlands are changing asa result. Depending on local conditions, coastal wetlands maydisappear under the rising seas, persist in their current locations, ormigrate inland. In many places, these changes
have important ramications for the ecosystem
and economy. Understanding where and howcoastal environments could change in responseto sea level rise, however, is a complex challengedependent upon many factors—from interde-pendent ecological processes to data qualityand availability. As a result, resource managersand other coastal decision-makers need appro-priate tools that can help them to anticipate andprepare for the future effects of sea level rise on coastal wetlands.Many models and methods are being used for this purpose.Managers and other professionals with oversight responsibility forcoastal resources are often presented with model outputs in the formof maps that illustrate projected sea level rise and potential loss ormigration of coastal wetlands. These maps or visualizations may
appear to provide a denitive picture, when in fact each represents acollection of assumptions, compromises, and simplications based on
the amount and quality of available data and information and on themodel’s purpose. As a result, it can be challenging to interpret modelresults and to use the information appropriately. This document is intended for people who need to use modeloutputs for decision-making but who do notbuild models themselves. It provides a basicunderstanding of the parameters and uncer-tainties involved in modeling the future impactsof sea level rise on coastal wetlands. This is a
rst step toward informed use and commu
-nication of these models to support a rangeof sea level rise adaptation activities—fromstakeholder education to habitat management to land conserva-tion. Equipped with this conceptual understanding, managers andplanners will be able to more effectively
ask the right questions of technical specialists regarding modeluse and results,
evaluate the real-world implications of model results, and
incorporate modeling results into management initiatives.
thIS DoCUMent IS IntenDeD foRPeoPLe Who neeD to USe MoDeLoUtPUtS foR DeCISIon-MAkInGbUt Who Do not bUILD MoDeLStheMSeLveS.
Information in this documentapplies to a wide range of coastal wetlands, including
tidal freshwater, brackish,and salt marshes, and
coastal freshwater forestedand riparian wetlands.