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GUIDANCE FOR ANTICIPATING SEA-LEVEL RISE IMPACTS ON LOUISIANA COASTAL RESOURCES DURING PROJECT PLANNING AND DESIGN TECHNICAL

REPORT, VERSION 1.4

19 September 2012

AUTHOR INFORMATION

Kristin E. DeMarco, Coastal Resources Scientist Jennifer J. Mouton, Coastal Resources Scientist Senior James W. Pahl, Ph.D., Coastal Resources Scientist Manager Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana Louisiana Applied Coastal Engineering and Science (LACES) Division Applied Research & Development Section

Suggested Citation: DeMarco, K.E., J.J. Mouton and J.W. Pahl. 2012. Guidance for Anticipating Sea-Level Rise Impacts on Louisiana Coastal Resources during Project Planning and Design: Technical Report, Version 1.4. State of Louisiana, Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. 121 pages. i

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TABLE OF CONTENTS AUTHOR INFORMATION ............................................................................................................ i LIST OF TABLES ......................................................................................................................... iv LIST OF FIGURES ........................................................................................................................ v LIST OF ACRONYMS ............................................................................................................... viii ACKOWLEDGEMENTS .............................................................................................................. ix 1. 2. INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES ................................................................................ 1 STATE OF THE SCIENCE.................................................................................................... 3 2.1. 2.1.1. 2.1.2. 2.1.3. 2.2. 2.2.1. 2.2.2. 2.3. 2.3.1. 2.3.2. 2.3.3. 2.4. 2.4.1. 2.4.2. 2.4.3. 3. 4. Techniques for Measuring Components of Sea Level.................................................. 4 Tide Gauges .............................................................................................................. 4 In-Situ Measurements ............................................................................................... 6 Satellite Altimetry Measurement .............................................................................. 7 Global Historical Sea-Level Rise............................................................................ 10 Historical Regional Sea-Level Rise in the Gulf of Mexico .................................... 14 Global Projected Sea-Level Rise ............................................................................ 20 Projected Regional Sea-Level Rise in the Gulf of Mexico ..................................... 25 Gulf of Mexico Regional Sea-Level Rise Rate Recommended for CPRA Use ..... 25 Estimates of Historical Relative Sea-Level Rise in Coastal Louisiana .................. 27 Subsidence .............................................................................................................. 29 Marsh Vertical Accretion........................................................................................ 31

Estimates of Historical Sea-Level Rise .......................................................................... 10

Projections of Future Sea-Level Rise ............................................................................. 20

Relative Sea-Level Rise in Coastal Louisiana ............................................................... 27

SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS....................................................................... 35 REFERENCES ..................................................................................................................... 39 Appendix A: Reviewer Comments and Responses ................................................................... 3 Appendix B: CPRA-LACES Technical Issues with the US Army Corps of Engineers Engineering Circular No. 1165-2-211 ...................................................................................... 45 Appendix C: Draft Southwest Coastal Feasibility Study, Wetland Accretion Summary ........ 49 Appendix D: Detailed Procedure for Incorporating Sea-Level Rise into Louisiana Coastal Project Planning and Design ..................................................................................................... 57 Appendix E: Consistency between the Technical Report and the Master Plan 2012 Revision Sea-Level Rise Values .............................................................................................................. 63

APPENDICES ................................................................................................................................ 1

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LIST OF TABLES Table and Legend Table 1. Tide gauge data from NOAA CO-OPS stations in geologically stable areas that are representative of historical Gulf-wide sea-level change. Table 2. Historical rates of regional sea-level rise based on satellite altimetry. Table 3. Comparison of derived acceleration constants in NRC (1987) and USACE (2009) for the generalized predictive GSLR equation E(t) = at + bt2. Table 4. A summary of the current NOAA tide gauge stations shows that only two stations relevant to coastal Louisiana have a sufficient period of record to establish an RSLR trend. Table C1. Long-term accretion estimates (137Cs) from different marsh types in the Chenier and Delta Plains from different studies with large numbers of samples. Table C2. Long-term accretion estimates (137Cs) from different marsh types and habitats (interior vs. streamside). Table C3. A comparison of ranges of long-term accretion estimates (137Cs) from impounded and un-impounded brackish marsh sites in the Chenier Plain (summarized in Steyer 2008). Table C4. Summary statistics of recent elevation change data from the Coastwide Reference Monitoring Stations (CRMS) in freshwater (F), intermediate (I), brackish (B) and salt (S) marshes in the Chenier Plain. Table E1. GSLR values used in the 2012 revision to the State of Louisianas Coastal Master Plan were comparable to those recommended in this LACES Technical Report GSLR values. Page Number 19

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LIST OF FIGURES Figure and Legend Figure 1. The confidence interval around sea-level rise projections increases rapidly as tide gauge periods of record decrease below sixty (60) years. Figure 2. A map of the Global Sea Level Observing System Long-Term Trends (GLOSS-LTT) network of tide gauges used for calculating global sea-level rise rates, illustrates the bias in station distribution in the northern hemisphere. Figure 3. The map of the transects used by NOAA Ships of Opportunity deploying eXtendable BathyThermographs (XBTs) for the Low Density and Frequently Repeated transects run by ships of opportunity under the NOAA Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory to measure temperature across the global ocean. Figure 4. The spatial distribution of Argo Array floats for the 30-day period preceding 10 March 2011, illustrates the widespread spatial coverage of the network in the worlds oceans. Figure 5. Global sea-level estimates calculated from satellite altimetry (red line) diverged from MSL based on tide gauge records (blue line) in for about 10 years beginning in 1999 (Church & White 2011), for reasons that are uncertain. Figure 6. NOAA satellite altimetry data, accessed on 10 March 2011 (http://ibis.grdl.noaa.gov/SAT/SeaLevelRise/slr/slr_sla_gbl_free_txj1j2_90.pdf) , illustrate an overall global SLR rate (hTOT) higher than the 20th century average of 1.7 0.3 mm/yr reported by Church and White (2006). Figure 7. Sea-level rise data from Church & White (2011) for the 1860-2009 time period (blue line) was used to calculate an 1880-2009 linear trend of 1.5 mm/yr (0.059 inches/yr.) and the accelerating quadratic trend discussed in the text of this report. Figure 8. Fitting a quadratic function to the 1880-2009 Church and White (2011) dataset available from CSIRO (http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_data_cmar.html) results in a slightly better fit of the data than a simple linear regression. Figure 9. A comparison of altimetry-based annual average global mean sea level (black line) and residual sea level curves illustrate an increase in mass component-driven sea level (red lines), i.e., observed global mean sea level minus thermal expansion (blue line), compared to thermosteric sea level (Cazenave et al. 2008a). Page Number 5

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LIST OF FIGURES (cont.) Figure and Legend Figure 10. Data from the NOAA Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry, accessed 11 March 2011 (http://ibis.grdl.noaa.gov/SAT/SeaLevelRise/slr/slr_sla_gom_free_txj1j2_90.pd f), illustrate an SLR rate for the Gulf of Mexico lower than the 2.9 0.4 mm/yr GSLR trend calculated for the same time period. Figure 11. A spatial depiction of the data from the TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason satellite altimeters clearly shows that regional rates of SLR can be very different at both the global scale (a) and within the Gulf of Mexico (b), covering the grey inset box). Figure 12. A graph of mean SLR trends for NOAA tide gauges in the Gulf of Mexico show that both SLR and the variance around the trend are greater in the western Gulf of Mexico than in the east. Figure 13. Long-term stations in the western Gulf of Mexico in NOAAs NWLON network vary significantly in the period of record. Figure 14. This graph from Zervas (2009) describes how the 95% confidence interval of the SLR trend determined from NOAA NWLON tide gauges is highly dependent on the age of the station. Figure 15. Mitrovica et al. (2009) predicted the possible distribution of sealevel change (meters) in response to a collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet accounting for the rotation of the Earth. Figure 16. The rate of global sea-level rise during the 21st Century is modeled to increase, with the extent of acceleration dependent on the predicted temperature increases associated with the IPCC global climate change scenarios. Figure 17. Observed GSLR for the period 1993-2007 from satellite altimeters exceeded IPCC best estimate predictions of GSLR made in 1995 and 2001. Page Number 16

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LIST OF FIGURES (cont.) Figure and Legend Figure 18. Modifications to the NRC (1987) future sea-level rise curves to account for different assumptions of the historical linear rate of global sea-level rise, such as those made by USACE 2009 (shown), will need to done if any other historical global sea-level rise rate is used. Figure 19. This map predicts local sea level change relative to the global average for the 21st century, as calculated from the results of 16 global climate change models running the IPCC A1B climate scenario. Figure 20. CPRA-LACES recommendations for future global sea-level rise by 2100 are consistent with, if slightly conservative in comparison to, a range of values from recent published scientific literature. Figure 21. NOAAs tide gauge network in Louisiana covers multiple geomorphic settings within the States coastal zone. Figure 22. RSLR trend lines for the Sabine Pass North (a) and Grand Isle (b) NOAA tide gauges illustrate the significance of geological stability on RSLR, and the difference between the more stable Chenier Plan (Sabine) and the less stable Deltaic Plain (Grand Isle). Figure 23. A map of subsidence developed by Britsch in 2007 illustrates the spatial variability in predicted subsidence rates in southern Louisiana. Figure 24. Map of projected subsidence ranges for south Louisiana generated by the Subsidence Advisory Panel for the Louisiana CPRA Master Plan 2012 Update. Figure D1. Map of projected subsidence ranges for south Louisiana generated by the Subsidence Advisory Panel for the Louisiana CPRA Master Plan 2012 Update, following a meeting on 14 October 2010. Figure D2. Screen capture of the spreadsheet that LACES has drafted for calculating RSLR curves consistent with the four-step process recommended in the Technical Report. Page Number 24

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LIST OF ACRONYMS Acronym Description First Reference on Page # 1 31 35 4 2 5 4 7 2 34 2 3 21 3 34 2 1 4 5

CPRA CRMS CVI EC GIA GOOS GLOSS GRACE GSLR HET MSL NOAA NRC NWLON PDT RSLR SLR USACE XBT

Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority (of Louisiana) Coastwide Reference Monitoring System Coastal Vulnerability Index Engineering Circular Glacial Isostatic Adjustment Global Ocean Observation System Global Sea Level Observing System Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment Global Sea-Level Rise Habitat Evaluation Team Mean Sea Level National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration National Research Council National Water Level Observation Network Project Delivery Team Relative Sea-Level Rise Sea-Level Rise US Army Corps of Engineers Extendable BathyThermograph

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ACKOWLEDGEMENTS The authors would like to thank the staff in CPRA and in other State agencies that provided feedback on various drafts of this report, as well as all those who were interested enough in the topic to provide feedback during the public comment period. In addition, the authors would like to thank the following individuals who provided their time and expertise during consultations throughout the preparation of this report: Dr. John Day, Louisiana State University (LSU); Dr. Duncan Fitzgerald, Boston University; Dr. Patrick Hesp, LSU; Dr. Mark Kulp, University of New Orleans; Dr. Andy Nyman, LSU AgCenter; Dr. Torbjrn Trnqvist, Tulane University; and Dr. Chris Zervas, NOAA.

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1.

INTRODUCTION AND OBJECTIVES

Land changes in the coastal zone and high sea-level rise rates are exposing lowland areas to more frequent events of saltwater intrusion, flooding and rapid shoreline erosion, magnifying the negative effects of coastal storms and storm surge. Louisiana is particularly sensitive to sealevel rise (SLR) due to the unique geology and inherent nature of the Mississippi River Delta and Chenier Plains. There is a pressing need to integrate up-to-date SLR estimates into planning activities to anticipate coastal land loss patterns, protect coastal communities and adequately design restoration projects. Projections for future SLR and concurrent coastal vulnerability estimates are numerous and variable. State and regional planning efforts aimed at mitigating the impacts of SLR are iterating between policy development and implementation as projections are refined and confidence in future estimates increases. Adaptability and flexibility are key components to ensure the incorporation of the most current and accurate SLR projections into project planning and policy development for the Louisiana coast. In this document we synthesize historical SLR research, review the state of the current science and identify key principles and recommendations in determining and incorporating SLR into coastal restoration strategies, modeling efforts and project design. The objective of this document is to make technical recommendations for incorporating SLR into Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana (CPRA) planning and engineering of habitat restoration and storm protection projects. The document is structured to:

Deductively summarize the state of the science on the patterns of increase in the surface of the global ocean, regional Gulf of Mexico and local coastal waters, in order to recommend the rate(s) of anticipated SLR most appropriate for incorporating into project design, planning and analysis; and Describe how that recommended rate(s) of local sea-level rise should be combined with the present understanding of the highly variable spatial patterns in coastal landform subsidence and wetland vertical accretion to predict relative SLR at specific points in the Louisiana coastal zone.

It should be noted that only relevant research published prior to August 2011 were included in this version of the report, although accessed data regarding tide gauge and satellite altimetry were updated as this report underwent incremental review and revision. Because global, regional and local estimates of SLR are constantly changing as new data become available, CPRA plans to update this report at a minimum every five years, or as major improvements in SLR understanding or changes in documented rates occur.

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2.

STATE OF THE SCIENCE

Sea-level rise is caused by a variety of dynamic anthropogenic and natural factors. Estimates of past and projections of future SLR are dependent on the interplay between these factors. In order to make confident predictions about future trends it is important to determine the long-term historic trends from the background of natural cycles. However, identifying historical trends and changes in sea level vary temporally and spatially, and isolating regional trends is challenging. In any coastal zone, the actual rate of SLR is a combination of global sea-level rise (GSLR) and local coastal processes including natural astronomical, ocean and atmospheric cycles; glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA); subsidence; accretion; and erosion of shorelines and coastal marshes. These influences result in a local rate of perceived SLR, expressed as relative sea-level rise (RSLR), which may be very different from GSLR. While RSLR is more relevant for management purposes, it is necessary to first evaluate GSLR trends and then focus on local conditions in the Gulf of Mexico offshore of southern Louisiana to inform recommendations on estimating local RSLR. In discussing the current understanding of GSLR, this section will also detail the methodologies for measuring GSLR components, because this information has implications for local understanding of Gulf-specific SLR and RSLR. GSLR is the mean increase in sea surface elevation across all of the world oceans and is caused primarily by two factors: thermal expansion and freshwater influx. Change in the total ocean heat content, also called the thermosteric component of GSLR, refers to the increase in total ocean volume resulting from increasing ocean temperatures (Antonov et al. 2005; Jevrejeva et al. 2008; Leuliette & Miller 2009). Although technically the definitions are slightly different, for brevity in this report we will use the terms thermosteric and thermal expansion interchangeably. Freshwater influx into oceans, termed the mass component of GSLR, causes a change in global sea level resulting from the exchange of water between the ocean and land from glaciers, ice sheets and other land ice, and terrestrial runoff (Cazenave et al. 2009; Jevrejeva et al. 2008; Leuliette & Miller 2005). The term eustatic is frequently used in technical literature and the popular press to describe sea level rise due to a total change in the global ocean. Throughout this report we will also use that term for similar purposes. To accurately determine the long-term historical trend of GSLR and begin making predictions of future patterns, researchers must first identify and remove the effects of natural forcings on the sea-level observation data to evaluate the thermosteric and mass components only. Natural forcings are patterns or processes that can influence mean sea level (MSL); are typically cyclical in nature; and can be atmospheric, meteorological, or caused by alterations in the rotation of the Earth and moon. For example, changes in the orbital pattern of the Earth and the moon can change sea surface elevation over large oceans which will manifest as a short term trend in sealevel monitoring data. It is therefore preferable to have a sea-level record long enough to encompass several periods of any natural cycles to properly account for and remove confounding patterns.

Once the background effect of natural forcings is removed, the sea-level budget, or the sum of the contributions to total SLR, (Willis et al. 2008; Leuliette & Miller 2009) can be expressed as hTOT = hTHERM + hMASS where hTOT is the global sea-level rise rate, hTHERM is the thermosteric contribution and hMASS is the mass contribution due to freshwater influx. Efforts such as Jevrejeva et al. (2008) have attempted to quantify the relative contributions of mass (hMASS) and thermosteric (hTHERM) components to the total sea-level budget and thus determine which contribution dominates GSLR. As researchers attempt to close the budget, independent measurements of steric, mass and total or eustatic sea level are checked against one another. This is not a trivial task, but illuminating the relative contributions of thermal expansion and freshwater influx are critical for making projections of sea-level change into the future. 2.1. Techniques for Measuring Components of Sea Level (Eqn. 1)

When attempting to close the sea level budget it is important to consider the measurement technique used to acquire the data. Currently sea-level data are gathered from three primary sources to determine the GSLR rate: tide gauges, in situ measuring devices and satellite altimetry readings. 2.1.1. Tide Gauges Globally, tide gauge data used for measurement of GSLR are typically acquired from the Permanent Service for Mean Sea level, established in 1933 and managed by the UK Natural Environment Research Councils National Oceanography Centre (http://www.psmsl.org/about_us/). In the US, the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) operates 128 long-term National Water Level Observation Network (NWLON) stations that monitor monthly mean sea-level data. Data are used to determine linear trends, average seasonal cycles, and interannual variability, including estimated errors, by measuring the height of sea surface relative to certain coastal benchmarks. In some areas these data go back hundreds of years. Trends obtained from tide gauge records are extremely valuable due to the length of time evaluated, although regional and local corrections must be made to contribute local data to calculations of global means. Tide gauges measure the RSLR at discrete locations and estimates of GSLR from tide gauge data are an average of all the tide gauge readings over a certain period of time (e.g. Church & White 2004). To obtain a robust estimate of the historic relative mean sea-level change, a longer tide gauge station record is preferable, especially if that rate will be used to predict future SLR trends. A short record can make it difficult to fully account for the impacts of interannual and decadal variations in sea level resulting in misleading or erroneous sea level trends. The Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission (2006) suggests that the duration of a tidal record should be at least two lunar nodal cycles (about 40 years) before being used to estimate a local relative sea-level trend, while Douglas et al. (2001) claims that the length of record should be 4

approximately 60 years and have 85% coverage during that time period to minimize variation. The uncertainty, or noise in data, from record lengths shorter than 40 years in duration can quickly outweigh any SLR projections of a few millimeters per year (Figure 1). A 2009 Engineering Circular (EC) established by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) describes that if the only estimates available from local tide gauges are less than 40 years in length, trends should be evaluated in a regional context, using nearby station records with adequate record lengths ( 40 years) for the same time period to compare with the local data to determine validity. However, as we will discuss later in this report, there are significant limitations to that approach in coastal Louisiana.

Figure 1.The confidence interval around sea-level rise projections increases rapidly as tide gauge periods of record decrease below sixty (60) years. Figure from Zervas (2009).

Tide gauges have traditionally been used for navigational purposes and consequently were placed in areas of heavy water traffic restricted to coastlines and the open ocean. This has led to an uneven spatial distribution of gauges, possibly hindering accuracy when determining longterm global sea-level trends. At present GSLR rate and acceleration statistics used by NOAA are calculated from approximately 190 stations known as the Global Sea Level Observing System (GLOSS) Long-Term Trends network (Figure 2). There are some significant limitations in that data, as NOAA recognizes the present station distribution is biased towards the northern 5

hemisphere (http://www.gloss-sealevel.org/). Additionally, management of the data can become cumbersome and quality assurance /quality control of original long-term datasets can be problematic. While these and other limitations led some researchers (Grger and Plag 1993) to conclude tide-gauge data should not be used to determine GSLR trends, such data are very useful as checks to newer data collection methods as well as being the most appropriate, and often the only, method for obtaining estimates of historical RSLR prior to 1992.

Figure 2. A map of the Global Sea Level Observing System Long-Term Trends (GLOSS-LTT) network of tide gauges, used for calculating global sea-level rise rates, illustrates the bias in station distribution in the northern hemisphere. Map from GLOSS (http://www.gloss-sealevel.org/, accessed 19 August 2010).

2.1.2. In-Situ Measurements In the US, NOAAs Global Ocean Observation System (GOOS) manages a fleet of volunteer observatory ships which use extendable probes, termed eXtendable BathyThermographs (XBTs), to measure ocean temperature (http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/goos/uot/xbt-what-is.php). The ships travel along set transects to take XBT readings; certain areas are sampled 18 times a year to gain insight on interannual and seasonal variability (Figure 3). XBTs are designed to fall through the water column at a known rate; the depth of the probe is not measured but inferred from the time launched by a fallrate equation provided by the manufacturer. Recently, researchers found systematic errors in the fall-rate equations which resulted in temperature readings being assigned to incorrect depths (Willis et al. 2007; Willis et al. 2009). These errors have since been corrected for in reports and provide accurate measurement for the thermal expansion component (hTHERM) of the sea level budget (Lyman et al. 2010).

Argo is an international project started in 2000 as part of GOOS and is made up of over 3000 battery-powered floats. The floats collect temperature and salinity data from the upper 2000 meters of the ice-free ocean. Upon reaching the ocean surface, satellites detect the floats position and the data are transmitted to a data assembly center. Argo floats measure temperature and salinity as a function of depth to describe how much the increase in MSL is thermosteric (hTHERM) in origin, and how the signal is distributed over depth.

Figure 3. The map of the transects used by NOAA Ships of Opportunity deploying eXtendable BathyThermographs (XBTs) for the Low Density and Frequently Repeated transects to measure temperature across the global ocean. Note the absence of any XBT transects in the Gulf of Mexico. There is also no Gulf coverage from AOMLs High-Density XBT Transects (not shown, see http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/hdenxbt/index.php). Figure from http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/phod/goos/ldenxbt/index.php, accessed 22 September 2010.

Argo covers a large portion of the world ocean (Figure 4) and collects continuous data important for GSLR estimates. Researchers recently identified an error in a small portion of the Argo floats that led to a false cold bias from 2003-2006, which has since been corrected in current estimates (Willis et al. 2007). Conversely, there may also be a potential Argo warm bias due to the inability for floats to be placed in ice-covered ocean areas (Roemmich & Gilson 2009). 2.1.3. Satellite Altimetry Measurement The Argo Array was named such to reflect the relationship between that network of floats and the Jason-1 and -2 satellite altimetry missions; data collected by the two methods are coupled to attain more accurate estimates of GSLR and to evaluate relative contributions. The Jason satellites followed the 1992 US-French joint TOPEX/Poseidon satellite mission to track sea-level height with radar altimeters (http://topex-www.jpl.nasa.gov/technology/technology.html). The 7

satellites measure total sea level and are currently active to obtain more widespread coverage. Specifically, Jason-1 measures the total sea level (hTOT) and can be used in concurrence with the Argo data (hTHERM) to estimate the freshwater contribution (hMASS) to total sea level, shown in Equation 2. hMASS = hTOT[from Jason-1] hTHERM[from Argo] where all variables are as in Equation 1. (Eqn. 2)

Figure 4. The spatial distribution of Argo Array floats for the 30-day period preceding 10 March 2011, illustrates the widespread spatial coverage of the network in the worlds oceans. Note the limited coverage of Argo floats in the Gulf of Mexico. Map from http://www.argo.ucsd.edu/index.html.

A more recent satellite mission initiated in 2002 by NASA is the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE), which measures the changes in mass of the world ocean and thus more directly measures hMASS (http://grace.jpl.nasa.gov/information/). Additionally, GRACE was used to determine the ice mass-loss for the Greenland and Antarctic Ice sheets (Khan et al. 2010; Velicogna, 2009). Theoretically, GRACE mass sea-level measurements (hMASS) and the Argobased thermosteric measurements (hTHERM) should equal the total sea level measurement obtained from Jason-1 (hTOT), i.e. hTOT[from Jason-1]= hMASS[from GRACE]+ hTHERM[from Argo] where all variables are as in Equation 1. On global scales, Argo and Jason together with satellite gravity measurements from GRACE, partition global sea-level rise into its thermal expansion and mass-related components (Willis et al., 2008; Cazenave et al, 2009; Leuliette and Miller 2009; Wunsch et al. 2007). Although satellite altimetry-based GSLR rates were in good agreement with those shown by tide gauge 8 (Eqn. 3)

records (Figure 5; Ablain et al., 2009; Prandi et al. 2009) for the first six to seven years of the altimetry record, values between the two data sources deviated between 1999 and 2008 for reasons that were unclear as of the time that this report was drafted (Domingues et al., 2008; Church & White 2011). It is important to recognize that satellite altimetry data, available since the end of 1992, only recently represent a full 18.6-year tidal period, let alone two or three periods as recommended above for defining a trend. However, as described later in this report, the comparability between tide gauge and satellite altimeter data is nonetheless high.

Figure 5. Global sea-level estimates calculated from satellite altimetry (red line) diverged from MSL based on tide gauge records (blue line) in for about 10 years beginning in 1999 (Church & White 2011), for reasons that are uncertain. The deviations lead to slightly different GSLR trends from 1993-2009 (Table 1).

Although Leuliette & Miller (2009) were able to successfully balance the MSL budget, others have demonstrated discrepancies in past efforts to do the same, especially regarding the relative contributions of the mass and thermal expansion components (Bindoff et al. 2007; Lombard et al. 2007; Willis et al. 2008). Differences in data processing and potential biases of collection 9

methods could be the causes for this variance. Altimetry-derived measurements and GSLR estimations need to be processed to account for factors such as barometric pressure, GIA and seasonality. It is also possible that some integral component to the driving processes of MSL change may not be understood. It is essential to understand these components to accurately make predictions for future rates of SLR. For instance, if we are confident that the freshwater contribution will be the dominant component to increases in MSL, we can expect the rate of increase to be nonlinear (Cazenave & Llovel 2010; Meier et al., 2008) and thus neither uniform across the globe nor steady to rise (Gomez et al. 2010). 2.2. Estimates of Historical Sea-Level Rise

2.2.1. Global Historical Sea-Level Rise Estimating a rate for historical GSLR is highly dependent on the specific time period selected for measurement due to the changing contributions of the thermosteric and mass components to total MSL (Jevrejeva et al. 2006). Disagreements in the research about the mathematical nature of historical SLR trends and defined accelerations or decelerations in the rate of SLR over time are due to differential statistical trends in data within specific time frames. For example, Church & White (2006) analyzed a large set of tide gauge data spanning 1870-1935 and calculated a historical linear GSLR rate of 0.7 0.4 mm/yr (0.028 0.016 inches/yr.); however, a revised analysis of the same data in Church & White (2011) that limited the range from 1880-1935 calculated a linear GSLR trend of 1.1 + 0.7 mm/yr (0.043 0.028 inches/yr). Similarly, while Ablain et al.s (2009) analysis of satellite altimetry data for the period 1993-2008 calculated a linear GSLR trend of 3.1 0.6 mm/yr (0.12 0.02 inches/yr), NOAAs Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry reported an altimeter-based linear GSLR trend of 2.9 0.4 mm/yr (0.11 0.02 inches/yr) for the 1992-2011 time period when accessed on 10 March 2011 (Figure 6). In addition to the period of record, estimating a historical rate of global sea-level rise is also influenced by the number and spatial distribution of gauging stations selected for measurement. Much of the debate about calculating historical sea-level rise trends, and the recent debate over both linear vs. non-linear trends in the data and accelerations vs. decelerations in the rate of sealevel rise over time results from choices in which stations are chosen and over which specific time period they are analyzed (Houston and Dean 2011a, b and c; Rahmstorf and Vermeer 2011; Donoghue and Parkinson 2011). Most estimates of the 20th century long term GSLR have been less than 2 mm/yr (0.08 inches/yr; e.g. Church et al.2004; Church and White 2006). In comparison, as introduced above, NOAA satellite altimetry data based on TOPEX/Poseidon, Jason-1 and Jason-2 technologies, accessed on 10 March 2011, calculated an overall 1993-2010 GSLR rate (hTOT) of 2.9 0.4 mm/yr (0.11 0.02 inches/yr; Figure 7). Data from several other altimeters are available, and when those data are incorporated into the analyses, it results in different GSLR trend values. Data used in this report to document Louisiana near-shore water surface changes are taken from all available satellite data for the particular region described.

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Figure 6. NOAA satellite altimetry data, accessed on 10 March 2011 (http://ibis.grdl.noaa.gov/SAT/SeaLevelRise/slr/slr_sla_gbl_free_txj1j2_90.pdf), illustrate an overall global SLR rate (hTOT) higher than the 20th century average of 1.7 0.3 mm/yr reported by Church and White (2006).

Any calculation of a linear rate of historical GSLR leads by definition to a constant value. A generalized linear regression is commonly represented as y = mx + b where y is the dependent variable, m is the slope of the line, x is the independent variable, and b is the 0-intercept on the y-axis. (Eqn. 4)

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Figure 7. Sea-level rise data from Church & White (2011) for the 1860-2009 time period (blue line) was used to calculate an 1880-2009 linear trend of 1.5 mm/yr (0.059 inches/yr.) and the accelerating quadratic trend discussed in the text of this report. Also shown is the 1870-2001 data published in Church & White (2006; red line). The black line is comparable 2002-2009 satellite altimetry data.

Relevant to SLR calculations, and ignoring the concept of the y-axis intercept (which for SLR is arbitrary), the linear regression equation is expressed as E(t) = at where E is the change in GSL over time t, and a is the rate of GSLR (slope of the line). It is typical for researchers to provide a rate of observed historical GSLR as a linear average over a period of time, for example Church & White (2006) calculated the average GSLR for the 20th Century as 1.7 0.3 mm/yr (0.067 0.012 inches/yr). However, examination of the historical data and recent literature conclude that GSLR since the late nineteenth century has not been linear, but instead has been accelerating since that time. In their revised analysis Church & White (2011) identified a statistically significant non-linear acceleration since 1880 and further 12 (Eqn. 5)

observed several significant departures from the overall linear trend. Woodworth et al. (2009, 2011) and Jevrejeva et al. (2008) supported the Church and White (2006, 2011) findings and concluded that an acceleration of GSLR was seen over much of the global ocean and that the acceleration rate was variable over that period. An curvilinear accelerated SLR scenario is simplistically modeled by the equation E(t) = at + bt2 where E, t, and a are as defined in Eqn. 5, and b is an acceleration factor. The actual calculations to determine projected sea-level rise based on the non-linear approach are more complex, and are described further in the Summary and Recommendations section of this document as well as the separate, more concise guidelines included as Appendix D to this report. Because of the considerable variability in the linear-averaged rates and the acceleration rates of SLR, rather than use a historical rate to predict future changes in MSL it is more useful to rely on semi-empirical or process-based models that employ a more easily measurable proxy for determining future trends in GSLR. If a historical trend was used to predict GSLR, those calculations should include an associated acceleration with any extrapolated rate of SLR. As discussed above, research shows that GSLR has been accelerating since the late 18th century (Church and White 2004, 2011; Jevrejeva et al., 2008; Woodworth et al., 2008, 2011). The application of a quadratic, or accelerating, function to historical data developed by Church and White (2011) results in a slightly better fit of the data than the linear, or non-accelerating, function (Figure 8), particularly near both the front and tail ends of the dataset. To reiterate, even if one were to use a historical rate to predict future MSL change, based on the research that calculation should account for acceleration. In support of this caveat at this time we do not support future GSLR predictions based on extrapolating a current rate. Moreover we do not believe that the utilization of any prediction that does not account for some degree of continued acceleration of GSLR over time to be a plausible scenario. Recent analyses suggest that the relative contributions of freshwater and thermal expansion influences on GSLR are in flux. Bindoff et al. (2007) concluded that thermal expansion (hTHERM) accounted for approximately 50% of the total observed GSLR from 1993 to 2003, but since the release of their 2007 report more recent publications and data have suggested thermal expansion has slowed significantly. Cazenave et al. (2008b) determined that since 2003 ocean thermal expansion has significantly slowed and that the ocean mass component has dominated SLR, explaining 75-85% of the observed rate of SLR in from 2003-2008. Research investigating the sea-level budget using satellite altimetry observations has concluded that thermal expansion has plateaued since 2003 and that sea levels are continuing to rise due primarily to accelerated glacier melting and ice sheet mass loss, although at a reduced rate (Antonov et al. 2005; Cazenave & Llovel 2010; Cazenave et al. 2008a; Cazenave et al. 2008b; Jevrejeva et al. 2008; Nicholls & Cazenave 2010). (Eqn. 6)

13

100 MONTHLY MEAN SEA LEVEL (mm, zeroed to December 1982) 50 0 -50 -100 -150 -200 1880 1890 1900 1910 1920 1930 1940 1950 1960 1970 1980 1990 2000 2010 2020 YEAR Figure 8. Fitting a quadratic function to the 1880-2009 Church and White (2011) dataset available from CSIRO (http://www.cmar.csiro.au/sealevel/sl_data_cmar.html) results in a slightly better fit of the data than a simple linear regression. Blue points are the CSIRO data, the black line and statistics describe the linear regression, and the red line and statistics describe the second order (quadratic) function.

y = 0.005x2 - 17.804x + 15743 R = 0.9834 y = 1.5379x - 3060.1 R = 0.972

Concurrent satellite altimetry observations estimate that hMASS may have been up to 80%, or 2.4 0.35 mm/yr (0.094 0.014 inches/yr.), of the total observed increase in MSL from 2003-2007, and that thermal expansion has been slowing (Figure 9; Cazenave & Llovel 2010). These data could have significant implications to how predictable and relevant future GSLR scenarios are to the Gulf of Mexico, given limits in the monitoring networks that define the thermosteric and mass components of GSLR as shown in Figures 3 and 4. 2.2.2. Historical Regional Sea-Level Rise in the Gulf of Mexico The extensive description of sea-level components and measuring technologies above was necessary to help frame the deductive approach in this report and address whether GSLR is valid to predict changes in the Gulf surface elevation. This section will discuss the data available for the Gulf of Mexico, the trends in those data, and the important caveats on those data and data products that must be considered. Altimetry data specific to the Gulf of Mexico do show a slightly lower rate of sea surface elevation change over the past twenty years (Figure 10) than the global observations shown in Figure 6. This could be an artifact of the plateau in thermal expansion of the global oceans combined with the physical nature of the Gulf of Mexico. As a semi-enclosed basin, the mass component increase in GSLR may be delayed in the Gulf of Mexico. However, there are very few GLOSS (Figure 3) or Argo (Figure 4) resources and no 14

XBT coverage (Figure 3) devoted to the Gulf of Mexico to separate either freshwater (hMASS) or temperature-induced (hTHERM) components from the overall observed elevation changes.

Figure 9. A comparison of altimetry-based annual average global mean sea level (black line) and residual sea level curves illustrate an increase in mass component-driven sea level (red lines), i.e., observed global mean sea level minus thermal expansion (blue line), compared to thermosteric sea level (Cazenave et al. 2008a). Red and blue solid and dashed lines refer to Ishii & Kimoto (2009) and Levitus et al. (2009) thermal expansion data, respectively.

Global satellite altimetry data demonstrate that observed GSLR has not been evenly distributed across the world ocean (Figure 11), and Merrifield et al. 2009 discussed that rates of SLR in the southern hemisphere from 1993-2007 were greater than those in the northern hemisphere. Satellite altimetry-based estimates of SLR in the Gulf of Mexico are highly variable, with the general pattern of higher rates of SLR in the center of the Gulf and lower rates in both the eastern and western margins. Complicating the issue further, there is evidence that the tidal hydrodynamics of the western Gulf of Mexico are different than for the eastern Gulf (Figure 12). Quoting Zervas (2009), for the same year range of data, the Pacific, western Gulf of Mexico, and Bermuda stations have wider error bars than stations in the Atlantic, eastern Gulf of Mexico, and the Caribbean The western Gulf of Mexico stations appear to alternate between periods of higher and lower rates of sea-level rise in contrast to the steadier rates seen in the eastern Gulf of Mexico. 15

Figure 10. Data from the NOAA Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry, accessed 11 March 2011 (http://ibis.grdl.noaa.gov/SAT/SeaLevelRise/slr/slr_sla_gom_free_txj1j2_90.pdf), illustrate an SLR rate for the Gulf of Mexico lower than the 2.9 0.4 mm/yr GSLR trend calculated for the same time period.

Unfortunately there is no information regarding the exact cause of this variation and trends across the coast, making it difficult to discern if the trend will impact future SLR rates. This issue will be pursued in future iterations of this document. Supporting tide gauge data must also be approached carefully, because only 6 of the 12 tide gauges in western and central Gulf of Mexico have been in operation for more than 50 years (Figure 13) leading to a high level of error when attempting to make predictions for sea-level trends within the 95% range of confidence (Zervas 2009; Figures 1 and 14). Satellite altimetry and tide gauge data were combined to define the rate of historical SLR relevant to coastal Louisiana. Tide gauges in Louisiana are not appropriate to determine long term sea-level trends for the Gulf due to variable and in many places extreme subsidence. In an approach described by USACE (2009, 2011), the regional historical SLR trend for the Gulf of Mexico was estimated by examining six tide gauges in vertically-stable areas of the Florida Gulf Coast (Table 1). NOAA satellite altimetry datasets for the Gulf of Mexico and AVISO (a French effort associated with the Centre National dEtudes Spatiales and the Collecte Localisation Satellites) datasets for the North Atlantic Basin and the Northern Hemisphere were also considered (Table 2), to account for the global variability in observed GSLR discussed earlier. The average rate of SLR of these datasets is 2.4 mm/yr and is the recommended rate for historic regional SLR in the Gulf of Mexico from this report. This value is consistent with the more recent estimates of GSLR from satellite altimetry (Ablain et al 2009; Cazenave et al 2008). 16

(a)

(b)
Figure 11. A spatial depiction of the data from the TOPEX/Poseidon and Jason satellite altimeters clearly shows that regional rates of SLR can be very different at both the global scale (a) and within the Gulf of Mexico (b), covering the grey inset box). Figures from http://ibis.grdl.noaa.gov/SAT/SeaLevelRise/slr/map_txj1j2_wysiwyg.pdf

17

Figure 12. A graph of mean SLR trends for NOAA tide gauges in the Gulf of Mexico show that both SLR and the variance around the trend are greater in the western Gulf of Mexico than in the east. Figure compliments of Chris Zervas, adapted from Zervas (2009).

Figure 13. Long-term stations in the western Gulf of Mexico in NOAAs NWLON network vary significantly in the period of record. Figure from Zervas (2009).

18

Figure 14. This graph from Zervas (2009) describes how the 95% confidence interval of the SLR trend determined from NOAA NWLON tide gauges is highly dependent on the age of the station. Some separation between eastern and western Gulf of Mexico NWLON stations is evident, emphasizing the issues of differential tidal hydrodynamics described in Figure 11.

Table 1. Tide gauge data for stations in the Gulf coast of Florida generally considered geologically stable, and thus indicative of the Gulf regional rate of historical SLR. Values shown are linear trends for the period of record to the year indicated (e.g. data for the Pensacola gauge show the linear trend from 1923-2006, 1923-2007, etc. The average shown for each station establishes the mean value across the past five years of available data. Data from NOAA CO-OPS. Tide Gauge Period of Record 1923-2010 1973-2010 1947-2010 1965-2010 1965-2010 1913-2010 Gauge Linear Trend to Year Shown (mm/yr) 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 Average 2.10 2.43 2.36 2.40 2.02 2.24 2.08 2.35 2.37 2.34 2.06 2.25 2.34 2.39 2.37 2.32 2.07 2.26 2.38 2.59 2.41 2.42 2.18 2.27 2.37 2.58 2.40 2.39 2.15 2.27 2.25 2.47 2.38 2.37 2.10 2.26 2.31

Pensacola, FL Clearwater Beach, FL St. Petersburg, FL Fort Meyers, FL Naples, FL Key West, FL Tide Gauge Mean

19

Table 2. Historical rates of regional sea-level rise based on satellite altimetry observations, accessed on 11 April 2012. All trends are based on 1992-2012 datasets. Altimeter Mission / Domain Linear Trend (mm/yr) 2.20 2.69 2.35 2.41

NOAA Gulf of Mexico AVISO North Atlantic AVISO Northern Hemisphere Satellite Altimetry Mean

2.3.

Projections of Future Sea-Level Rise

2.3.1. Global Projected Sea-Level Rise The largest uncertainty in predicting SLR over the next century is the response of ice sheets to changes in temperature (Allison et al. 2009). Vaughan (2008) suggested that in the continued presence of warming temperatures the feedback mechanisms which allow the ice sheets to persist may be disrupted to the point that the ice sheet would disintegrate or collapse. The Western Antarctic Ice Sheet alone has the capacity to raise sea-level between 3 and 8 meters (10 and 26; Bamber et al. 2009; Bindoff et al. 2007; Gomez et al. 2009). Since satellite altimetry data have become available, researchers are able to more clearly investigate the dynamics of ice sheets; GRACE is specifically employed to detect ice-mass loss for ice sheets in some cases. Recent observations have shown that the rates of ice mass loss from 2002-2009 for both the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets are increasing, implying that the ice sheet contribution to SLR is increasing (Velicogna 2009). Additionally, in the event of a full or partial collapse of the Antarctic ice sheet, spatial distribution of the sea-level increase would be non-uniform, and could lead to higher sea-levels in the Northern Gulf of Mexico than other parts of the global ocean (Figure 15; Gomez et al. 2009; Mitrovica et al. 2009).The increase may be regionally concentrated along the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of the United States, which may experience an MSL increase 25% greater than the global mean even in the event of a full collapse (Bamber et al. 2009). Although Bindoff et al. (2007) forecasted a range of 0.18-0.59 meters (0.6-1.9) for GSLR by 2100, these values have since been described as too conservative (Fssel 2009) because their accounting for ice sheet dynamics was only done empirically, assuming that high temperature increases (in excess of 3C) could result in a GSLR of 2-7 m (6.6-23) at the century to millennia time scale due to a near or total melting of the glaciers and ice sheets. After investigating the ice sheet contribution, Pfeffer et al. (2008) stated that a predicted GSLR of greater than 2 meters (6.6) by 2100 was the maximum possible increase based on the glacial physics, and predicted a GSLR range by 2100 of 0.8 - 2 meters (2.6-6.6). Future GSLR scenarios will be highly dependent upon the relative contribution of ice sheets and glaciers to the 20

mass component to the GSLR budget, which, as discussed above, contains significant uncertainties. Historical rates of GSLR are difficult to replicate, and predictions of the future will likewise always involve various magnitudes of uncertainty.

Figure 15. Mitrovica et al. (2009) predicted the possible distribution of sea-level change (meters) in response to a collapse of the West Antarctic ice sheet accounting for the rotation of the Earth. The above values are in addition to an underlying effective increase in MSL from ice sheet melt, for example, if GSLR is 1 meter (including mass and thermosteric effects), a partial collapse of the Antarctic ice sheet would result in a MSL increase of 1.3 meters in the Northern Gulf of Mexico.

As discussed in Section 2.2.1, many researchers have determined that the historical trend of GLSR is accelerating. We therefore maintain confidence that extension of a linear function defining historical data is most likely an overly-conservative assumption that could put the States coastal human and natural resources at risk. To adequately plan and protect these resources managers should assume a continued acceleration in GSLR. Moreover it is not typically valuable to base a future GSLR prediction strictly on an extension of past data, and most predictions made by researchers are based on detailed modeling linking GSLR to either temperature or plausible ice sheet melt physics (Pfeffer et al. 2008; Rahmstorf 2007; Vermeer & Rahmstorf 2009). More current estimates for GSLR by 2100 range from 0.5 to 2 meters (1.6 6.6; Grinsted et al. 2009; Pfeffer et al. 2008; Rahmstorf 2007; Vermeer & Rahmstorf 2009). Much weight recently has been placed on the predictions of Rahmstorf (2007), who modeled GSLR in response to the 21

IPCC global climate change model scenarios (Figure 16) and predicted a range in GSLR of 0.51.4 meters (1.6 4.6) by 2100, with 1 meter (3.3) being the most likely. Comparisons of empirical data from tide gauges and satellite altimeters from 1990-2006 to model predictions of IPCC scenarios have found that observed GSLR mirrored the highest rates of SLR predicted (Figure 17). This demonstrates that current rates of SLR tracked the highest past IPCC predictions, lending credibility to the higher end of GSLR predictions. A more recent publication by Vermeer & Rahmstorf (2009), supported by a temperature-based SLR model with a 98% correlation with observed data from 1880-2000, increased the predicted GSLR associated with the IPCC scenarios to 0.75-1.90 meters (2.5-6.2).

Figure 16. The rate of global sea-level rise during the 21st Century is modeled to increase, with the extent of acceleration dependent on the predicted temperature increases associated with the IPCC global climate change scenarios. The colored dotted lines are individual scenario-specific predictions of GSLR increase, while the gray dashed lines reflect uncertainty surrounding the statistical fit of the model data. Figure from Rhamstorf (2007).

The common method for predicting SLR is primarily based on a 1987 National Research Council (NRC) engineering document that modeled scenarios of GSLR increase with variable acceleration rates using Equation 6. Acceleration constants (b from Equation 6) were backcalculated for a priori GSLR scenarios of 0.5, 1.0 and 1.5 meters (1.6, 3.3 and 4.9 respectively) by 2100 (Figure 18) shown by NRC Curves I, II and III, respectively. The 0.5meter (1.6) increase represented a minimum GSLR acceleration while the 1.5-meter (4.9) increase was considered to be a maximum value that would occur with a rapid acceleration. 22

Figure 17. Observed GSLR for the period 1993-2007 from satellite altimeters exceeded best estimate predictions of GSLR made in 1995 and 2001. Figure from Pielke (2008).

It is important to realize that the numerical values for the acceleration constants derived by NRC (1987) are specific to the assumption of 1.2 mm/yr historical linear rate of GSLR (variable (a) in Equations 5 and 6). If E(t) from Equation 6 is held steady at 0.5, 1.0 or 1.5 meters by 2100 as shown in Figure 18, but the linear rate of GSLR (a) is changed to account for updated information, then mathematically the acceleration constant (b) must be recalculated. USACE (2009) assumed the historical linear rate of GSLR to be 1.7 mm/yr, which as shown in Table 3 resulted in different acceleration constants from those calculated in NRC (1987). Likewise, the USACE (2011) refinement of the starting date of analysis from 1986 (as in NRC 1987) to 1992 resulted in another recalculation of the acceleration constants (Table 3). The acceleration of SLR is the most difficult value to determine from the historic rate. Due to the high variability within the period of record evaluated, the acceleration utilized for a period of interest ultimately determines the total amount of increase in MSL at any discrete point in time. If the long-term trend in acceleration (approximately 0.01mm/yr2) were to remain constant then sea level would rise 28-34 cm (11-13) by 2100 (Church & White 2004; Jevrejeva et al. 2008). Although the historical record is characterized by an overall long-term acceleration there are shorter periods of greater acceleration and deceleration that vary depending on the period of time and the region the dataset came from (Woodworth et al. 2011). Even though the majority of scientific effort to date has concluded that the rate of SLR is accelerating, Houston & Dean (2011a) claimed that the rate is actually decelerating based on the data and time period evaluated. This conclusion has been the subject of vigorous debate in the literature (Rahmstorf and Vermeer 23

2011; Houston and Dean 2011b; Donoghue and Parkinson 2011; Houston and Dean 2011c). While we choose at this time to support the majority view that SLR is accelerating, this issue will be closely examined in the future. Additionally, if the increasing freshwater contribution to GSLR continues as outlined in this report, a concurrent maintenance or increase in acceleration rates is likely.

Figure 18. Modifications to the NRC (1987) future sea-level rise curves to account for different assumptions of the historical linear rate of global sea-level rise, such as those made by USACE 2009 (shown), will need to done if any other historical global sea-level rise rate is used.

Table 3. Comparison of derived acceleration constants in NRC (1987) and USACE (2009) for the generalized predictive GSLR equation E(t) = at + bt2. See Equation 6 for parameter definitions. GSLR Scenario (meters by 2100) Acceleration Constants (b) (meters/yr2) NRC (1987) USACE (2009) (a) = 0.0012 meters/yr (a) = 0.0017 meters/yr 2.80 x 10-5 6.60 x 10-5 1.05 x 10-4 2.36 x 10-5 6.20 x 10-5 1.005 x 10-4

USACE (2011) (a) = 0.0017 meters/yr 2.71 x 10-5 7.00 x 10-5 1.13 x 10-4

0.5 meters 1.0 meters 1.5 meters

24

2.3.2. Projected Regional Sea-Level Rise in the Gulf of Mexico There has been very little work done to specifically model the overall change in the Gulf of Mexico water surface for the rest of this century. Until these regional investigations are performed, MSL changes must be primarily extracted from satellite altimetry data (Figures 13 and 1), which are less precise due to the wide coverage and the short period of record, or from the average of all the tide gauges, which can be less reliable due to the period of record and differences in geological stability. In the absence of location-specific sea-level budgets it is unclear how the relative contributions of the thermosteric and mass components of SLR will manifest in the Gulf. We must therefore assume that a shift to a freshwater melt-driven increase in SLR will affect the Gulf similarly to the global oceans as described above. A global climate change projection included in Meehl et al. (2007) does suggest that the Gulf of Mexico will respond similarly to the coastal ocean, and it is reasonable to assume that projections of GSLR are appropriate to carry into the Gulf (Figure 19).

Figure 19. This map predicts local sea level change relative to the global average for the 21st century, as calculated from the results of 16 global climate change models running the IPCC A1B climate scenario. Results suggest that sea level changes in the Gulf of Mexico during the next 90 years will not differ substantially from the global mean. Figure from Meehl et al. (2007).

2.3.3. Gulf of Mexico Regional Sea-Level Rise Rate Recommended for CPRA Use To calculate a predicted future sea-surface elevation offshore of coastal Louisiana, and based on the literature reviewed, LACES is recommending that CPRA staff assume that Gulf SLR will be 1 meter (3.3) by 2100, with a bounding range of 0.5 1.5 meters (1.6 4.9). While this 25

recommendation results from an independent assessment of the available data, it is generally conservative when compared to recent publications predicting future GSLR (Figure 20). This recommendation is also consistent with similar efforts ongoing in other states. The Miami-Dade County Climate Change Task Force (2010) recommended that all county agencies include SLR estimates into their planning documents accounting for a 0.46-m (1.5) rise in sea level by 2050 and an SLR of 0.9-1.5 m (3-5) by 2100. The first of three Maryland Coastal Program Technical Guidance reports for Dorchester County (Cole 2008) estimates 0.6-0.9 m (2-3) of SLR for the Chesapeake Bay region by 2100.

Figure 20. CPRA-LACES recommendations for future global sea-level rise by 2100 are consistent with, if slightly conservative in comparison to, a range of values from recent published scientific literature. The red line indicates the primary LACES recommendation of 1 meter GSLR by 2100, with a bounding range of 0.5 and 1.5 meters (green lines). Figure from http://wh.er.usgs.gov/slr/sealevelrise.html.

This recommendation is only part of the overall prediction of future relative SLR, and must be combined with predictions of subsidence and marsh vertical accretion. Those two factors are described next, and the overall recommendation for estimating RSLR for project planning and design purposes will follow in the last section of this report.

26

2.4.

Relative Sea-Level Rise in Coastal Louisiana

2.4.1. Estimates of Historical Relative Sea-Level Rise in Coastal Louisiana Relative sea-level refers to the height of sea level as measured from a particular point or area on the earth's surface. Change in relative sea-level usually results from the interaction of two independent processes: 1) change in the absolute elevation of the earth's ocean (GSLR), and 2) local change (uplift or subsidence) in the absolute elevation of the land mass. Adding to Equation 6, RSLR can be represented by the generalized equation: E(t) = at + bt2 + S (Eqn. 7)

where E is the change in relative sea level at time t a is the rate of GSLR (slope of the line) b is an acceleration factor, and S is rate of subsidence (or uplift in areas of glacial rebound). The exact mathematic calculations of predicted future RSLR are more complex than that shown in Equation 7, however. Close examination of the NRC (1987) acceleration scenarios shown in Figure 18, and those carried through into USACE (2009), highlight the very important caveat that those scenarios assume a 1986 start to achieve the relevant 2100 MSL. As such, the mathematical values of the acceleration constants are dependent on that specific starting point, and the generalized equation last defined in Equation 6 needs to be altered at this point because of this specificity. Specifically, as updated in USACE (2011) the generalized equation needs to be replaced by the more detailed equation E (t2-1992)-E(t1-1992)=a*([t2-1992]-[t1-1992])+b*(([t2-1992]2-[t1-1992]2) + S*([t2-1992]-[t1-1992]) (Eqn. 8) where all parameters are as defined in Equation 7. All other factors held equal, new acceleration constants will have to be calculated if a more contemporaneous date is assumed as t0. Tide gauges directly measure RSLR for the water bottom on which the gauge is located. NOAA presently maintains 19 tide gauges in Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi relevant to the hydrodynamic environment of coastal Louisiana (Figure 21, Table 4). Of these only two have the long-term period of record discussed earlier to justify calculating an RSLR trend line: Grand Isle and Sabine Pass North (Figure 22a and b). The linear RSLR trend lines as calculated in Zervas (2009) are substantially different for the two stations, and illustrate the importance of geology on the physical stability of those stations. Sabine Pass North, in the more stable Chenier Plain of southwestern Louisiana, has a much lower mean RSLR linear trend than Grand Isle, which is located within the Mississippi River Deltaic Plan. Moreover, the RSLR trend for Sabine Pass North is more than triple the 1.79 mm/yr (0.070 inches/yr) average GSLR for the 1958-2006 period of record (data from Church and White 2011, as shown in Figure 8), and the RSLR trend for Grand Isle is more than five times the 1.73 mm/yr (0.068 inches/yr) GSLR linear 27

trend for the 1947-2006 period of record. This comparatively high rate of RSLR is caused primarily by land subsidence, unequivocally the most variable and significant contributor to relative sea-level rise in coastal Louisiana.

Figure 21. NOAAs tide gauge network in Louisiana covers multiple geomorphic settings within the States coastal zone. Note that three stations are not shown on this map: Carrollton, Crescent City Air Gap, and Huey Long Bridge Air Gap. Note also that the Stouts Pass and Mesquite Point stations have been decommissioned. Figure from http://egisws01.nos.noaa.gov/website/co-ops/stations/viewer.htm.

There has been some discussion of the utility of the RSLR trend from the Eugene Island Station (Figure 22c). The period of record for that station is only 1939-1974, so it is neither possible for that data to inform a present understanding of RSLR for the central Louisiana coast nor serve as the basis for estimates of future RSLR. This is especially the case given that the Eugene Island period of record coincides with some of the highest documented rates of coastal land loss in coastal Louisiana (Couvillion et al. 2011). It is, however, possible to compare the Eugene Island data to that from Sabine Pass North and Grand Isle where the periods of record overlap and thus allow for some inference of the historical comparative stability of the central coast versus the western and eastern margins of the coast. The LCA Science & Technology Program is likewise finalizing a report that calculates linear RSLR trend lines for nineteen USACE-operated tide gauges in south Louisiana (Ayres in preparation). That information will be included in this report as an amendment to Table 4 and Figure 21. Once CPRA-LACES, most likely with NOAA assistance, has calculated linear trends for all of the tide gauges shown in Figure 21, we will establish an appendix for the total pool of NOAA and USACE tide gauges as a concise reference for CPRA project delivery teams.

28

Table 4. A summary of the current NOAA tide gauge stations shows that only two stations relevant to coastal Louisiana have a sufficient period of record to establish a RSLR trend. RSLR trends are not shown if not given by NOAA. NOAA has only calculated linear trends for the Grand Isle and Sabine Pass North gauges. Station Bay Waveland Yacht Club Calcasieu Pass Carrollton Crescent City Air Gap Cypremort East Bank Freshwater Canal Grand Isle Gulfport Huey Long Bridge Air Gap Lake Charles LAWMA, Amerada Pass Pilots Station East Port Fourchon Rainbow Bridge, TX Sabine Pass North Tesoro Marine Terminal USCG New Canal West Bank NOAA Station ID 8747437 8768094 8761955 8761847 8765251 8762372 8766072 8761724 8745557 8762002 8767816 8764227 8760922 8762075 8770520 8770570 8764044 8761927 8762482 Period of Record 1978-present 2008- present 1996-present 1984-present 2005- present 2003- present 2005- present 1947-present 1979-present 2009-present 2002- present 2005- present 2004- present 2003- present 1996-present 1958-present 2003- present 2005- present 2003- present RSLR Trend n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 9.24 0.59 mm/yr* n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a n/a 5.66 1.07 mm/yr* n/a n/a n/a

* RSLR trend calculated by Zervas (2009) for Grand Isle was for the time period 1947-2006, and the trend calculated for Sabine Pass North was for the time period 1958-2006.

2.4.2.

Subsidence

The tide gauge data emphasize the importance of being able to document the contributions of subsidence and accretion to the overall RSLR at discrete points in coastal Louisiana. Any effort to confidently incorporate potential SLR impacts on coastal wetlands into planning must account for the sum of factors influencing RSLR: 1) the change in the surface elevation of the Gulf of Mexico, which is the primary topic of this document; 2) subsidence; and 3) marsh vertical accretion, which can offset some SLR impacts. This report does not attempt to exhaustively review the last two topics, but will summarize relevant products from the state of the science that can inform CPRA activities. Subsidence is widely recognized as a significant driver of relative sea-level rise in southern Louisiana, and probably the principal driver in southeast Louisiana for the near-term. There are a number of independent factors that influence the rate of subsidence (Reed and Yuill, 2009). At the local scale the dominant factor may vary and thus we also recognize that rates of subsidence are highly variable across the Louisiana coastal zone. However, our understanding of the exact rates of subsidence at the local level is very limited. 29

(a)

(b)

(c)
Figure 22. RSLR trend lines for the Sabine Pass North (a) and Grand Isle (b) NOAA tide gauges illustrate the significance of geological stability on RSLR, and the difference between the more stable Chenier Plan (Sabine) and the less stable Deltaic Plain (Grand Isle). The RSLR trend for Sabine Pass North, 1958-2006, was 5.66 1.07 mm/yr (0.22 0.042 inches/yr.). The RSLR trend for Grand Isle, 1947-2006, was 9.24 0.59 mm/yr (0.36 0.023 inches/yr.).The RSLR trend line for the Eugene Island tide gauge (c) for the period of record 1939-1974 demonstrates a high rate of RSLR, 9.65 1.24 mm/yr (0.38 0.049 inches/yr.) at that station in the central Louisiana coast. The station has been removed, so only comparisons with historically contemporary stations are possible. Figures from Zervas (2009).

30

Recent attempts have been made to acknowledge that spatial variability in subsidence rates and factor that variability into program and project planning. The hydraulic and hydrodynamic (H&H) model for the proposed Donaldsonville, Louisiana to the Gulf of Mexico Flood Control Project utilized a digitized version of a coarse-scale map developed by Del Britsch of the USACE New Orleans District Office (Figure 23). More recently, as part of the modeling effort informing the 2012 revision of the States Master Plan, a Subsidence Advisory Group met on 14 September 2010 to assemble a draft map of a range of subsidence values that the States coastal zone can expect through 2060 (Figure 24). The ranges in that map are large, both within and across polygons. For the project-effects modeling undertaken for the Master Plan revision, the two subsidence scenarios being analyzed used values of 20% and 50% of the range from the minimum value of the individual polygons shown in Figure 24. Ongoing work by the Louisiana Geological Survey, commissioned by CPRA, will summarize our understanding of the geological framework underlying south Louisiana as well as provide an overview of historical rates of subsidence across the landscape. This work will further build on the summary report Understanding Subsidence in Coastal Louisiana (Reed &Yuill 2009), prepared for the State and the US Army Corps of Engineers by the LCA Science and Technology Program Office. It is hoped that this information, as well as continued monitoring data from the CWPPRA Programs Coastwide Reference Monitoring System (CRMS)-Wetlands stations, will help to tighten the predicted ranges of subsidence shown in Figure 24. 2.4.3. Marsh Vertical Accretion

Our understanding of marsh vertical accretion is likewise evolving. The ability of marshes to keep up with moderate levels of RSLR via accretion of both mineral and organic soil material has long been understood (see summary in Mitsch and Gosselink 2000). Typically coastal marshes have a range of optimum depth and within this range they will respond positively and essentially keep pace with a rise in sea-level until it reaches a certain, heretofore undetermined, rate of rise wherein marshes will no longer be able to accrete and will drown. Organic matter production in coastal marshes is directly related to the rate of RSLR, and that up to a critical collapse threshold marshes in coastal Louisiana have the potential to organically accrete and match substantial levels of RSLR. The optimum depth and marsh collapse threshold is likely unique to each marsh type and will depend upon the ability to maintain elevation via vegetative growth. Note this differs significantly from macrotidal coastlines where marsh accretion is sediment driven. This information will be more difficult than the subsidence predictions to incorporate in program and project planning because accretion in marshes is influenced by natural cycles, spatially dependent on the species mix of the plant communities of interest and is largely dependent on initial elevation relative to the water surface. It would be desirable to generate a map that spatially describes potential accretion in wetlands and identify by wetland type the critical threshold point of MSL increase beyond which marsh elevation collapses. The failure to account for dynamic rates of GSLR under future scenarios risks underestimating the inundation stress that marsh vegetation will see, possibly leading to overly-optimistic predictions of vertical accretion and marsh persistence. While this science is nascent at present, it promises to be a significant contribution to predicting local net RSLR in Louisianas coastal wetlands. 31

(a)

(b) Figure 23. A map of subsidence developed by Britsch in 2007 illustrates the spatial variability in predicted subsidence rates in southern Louisiana. A portion of this map was digitized (b) for use in the hydrodynamic modeling for the Donaldsonville to the Gulf project. Figure (b) from CHT 2010.

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Figure 24. Map of projected subsidence ranges for south Louisiana generated by the Subsidence Advisory Panel for the Louisiana CPRA Master Plan 2012 Update, following a meeting on 14 October 2010.

1 33

A good example of a methodology for predicting marsh vertical accretion can be seen in the activities of the Southwest Coastal Feasibility Study. The methodology adopted by that Project Delivery Team (PDT) and its partner Habitat Evaluation Team (HET) established a 7 mm/yr (0.28 inches/yr.) threshold under which wetland vegetation will continue accreting organic matter (see Appendix C). Beyond that threshold the wetland is assumed to convert to open water. In the case of the analysis predicting future landscapes for that feasibility study, these assumptions were applied to cells in the geospatial grid of land or water (i.e. persistence as a wetland or conversion to open water of a specific grid cell in the model).

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SUMMARY AND RECOMMENDATIONS

Louisiana is experiencing a higher rate of RSLR than other parts of the world because of naturally occurring regional land subsidence. In a recent USGS Coastal Vulnerability Assessment of the Northern Gulf of Mexico (Pendleton et al. 2010) virtually the entire Louisiana coastline is identified as having a coastal vulnerability index (CVI) risk ranking as very high. This assessment developed CVI rankings for virtually the entire US shoreline by focusing on six variables which strongly influenced coastal response to SLR: 1) geomorphology, 2) historical shoreline change rate, 3) regional coastal slope, 4) relative sea-level change, 5) mean significant wave height and 6) mean tidal range. Although these variables are difficult to separate, the end result is clear: the Louisiana coastline is one of the most at-risk shorelines in the Northern Gulf of Mexico to the impacts of GSLR, the effects of which are clearly manifest in the high rate of RSLR. The scientific literature indicates that the rate of global SLR (GSLR) has been increasing steadily over the past several centuries. This may be seen in an increase from a 20th Century linear average based on tide gauge data of 1.7 0.4 mm/yr (0.070 0.016 inches/yr.) to an average linear estimate for the past eighteen years of 2.4 0.4 mm/yr (0.11 0.016 inches/yr.) in the Gulf of Mexico based on satellite altimetry. Although direct comparison of the two techniques supports the validity of the altimeter readings, there is some concern regarding the short period of record for the altimetry data. However, evidence suggests that SLR for the available period of record is best represented as a single, non-linear function, which has important implications for relating RSLR and GSLR estimates, and especially for assumptions of marsh vertical accretion. More important for CPRA planning purposes is the projection of future GSLR. Based on the available data, LACES recommends that any SLR modeling scenarios models for state restoration projects assume a 1-meter (3.3) MSL rise by 2100 compared to the late 1980s and should be bracketed by GSLR ranges of 0.5-1.5 meters (1.4-4.9) by 2100. The specific recommendation for factoring in the range of GSLR into local calculations of RSLR is given below. While GSLR is an important factor to consider, data has revealed that variations in sea levels exist in the many regions of the earths oceans and water bodies. This regional variation associated with the Gulf of Mexico is much more relevant to coastal Louisiana. This paper examines regional SLR variation and, based on available data, concludes that while it does seem appropriate to bring future global SLR scenarios into the Gulf of Mexico, it is better to utilize more regional data, using both tide gauges and satellite altimetry data. To this end, LACES evaluated tide gauges from several sites with suitable geology and length of record as well as the available satellite altimetry record. However, GSLR presents only one component to consider when anticipating future sea level rise when planning and designing coastal restoration and protection projects. Subsidence and marsh vertical accretion must also be included and may in fact dominate land change dynamics and amplify the effects of SLR. Both are subject to extremely high spatial and temporal variation across the Louisiana coastal zone and are critical for predicting the RSLR that the diverse coastal wetland plant communities perceive. Although work on subsidence and marsh vertical accretion 35

is continuing, this report gives instruction on how to determine these values and how to include them in project design. CPRA has identified a number of technical uncertainties surrounding these recommendations that it plans to address through future research and development activities. It is CPRAs goal that these activities will help constrain the uncertainties associated with predicting the impacts of future increases in sea level and increase our confidence in planning and implementing projects to achieve sustainable coastal Louisiana. Recommendations for Calculating RSLR in Coastal Louisiana Based on the information presented to this point, it is our recommendation that when participating in project planning and design activities, local RSLR be calculated using the following procedure to populate the variables of the generalized RSLR equation E(t) = a*t + b*t2 + S. (Eqn. 7)

1. Use 2.4 mm/yr as the average rate of SLR (mm/yr) in the Gulf of Mexico, variable (a) from the generalized equation. 2. Calculate the acceleration constant (b) that assumes a MSL increase of 1 meter (3.3) by 2100 as the most heavily-weighted project alternative, while also testing MSL increases of 0.5 meters (1.6) and 1.5 meters (4.9) to account for uncertainty in the literature. This provides the change in water levels over time at a project location. To localize further, 3. Add in local subsidence values obtained from the most proximate source, which is variable (S) in Equation 7. In order to predict the persistence the coastal wetland, and specifically the persistence of the wetland surface or conversely marsh surface collapse and drowning, a fourth step is necessary. 4. Use the sum of #s 1-3 above to establish an inundation function, especially the rate of inundation for the period of analysis, in order to predict local responses of marsh vertical accretion as those models and data products become available. This can be inferred from scientific literature if no reliable data exist on site, or can be estimated from vegetation productivity models if available. As discussed in Section 2.4.1., predicting future RSLR must account for the acceleration constants (variable b) being specific to NRC (1987) acceleration scenarios having a starting point of 1986. Appendix D of this report shows specifically how the variables discussed feed into a refined version of Equation 8 that accounts for that specific starting point. Note that this recommended process differs from that described by the US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Engineering Circular (EC) 1165-2-211 (USACE 2009). The EC mandates how the USACE must estimate RSLR during the planning and engineering of water resources projects in the coastal zone, and LACES staff recognize that USACE staff participating on a 36

PDT with the State for projects cost-shared with USACE will have to run RSLR scenarios in accordance with the EC. However, because of a number of significant technical issues with the EC that are described in Appendix B, we recommend that State staff participating on those PDTs also require the RSLR scenarios described in this document be run in addition to the EC-defined scenarios, and that the 4-step recommendation described here supersede EC mandates on any projects that the State is pursuing without the Corps as a cost-share partner.

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APPENDICES

Appendix and Title Appendix A: Reviewer Comments and Responses Appendix B: CPRA-LACES Technical Issues with the US Army Corps of Engineers Engineering Circular No. 1165-2-211 Appendix C: Draft Southwest Coastal Feasibility Study, Wetland Accretion Summary Appendix D: Detailed Procedure for Incorporating Sea-Level Rise into Louisiana Coastal Project Planning and Design Appendix E: Comparison of LACES Technical Report and the Master Plan 2012 Revision Sea-Level Rise Values

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Appendix A: Reviewer Comments and Responses CPRA-LACES released a draft document for internal LACES comment on 27 September 2010. Comments from Honora Buras, Louisiana Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration I only have one technical comment, based on some information I ran across a while back that might be relevant. I was asked several years ago by Karims Ecological Review group to look into subsidence rates to use that were more updated than those based on Shea Penlands work (1988, 1990) using tide gauge data. There were some issues that I ran across related to the use of these data that I never saw any resolution of. This may be relevant or not to your paper, but I just wanted to bring it to your attention, since you reference these tide gauge data in numerous places. Sheas analysis was done before we were aware of the extent of coast-wide sinking of benchmarks that these tide gauges were tied to. It was never clear whether any of the records were later adjusted for this. Fortunately, the tide gauge with the longest record Grand Isle- is one of the most stable of all and apparently subsidence in this location is much less than in most of the coast (according to Dokkas work). However, even this gauge was actually a replacement for a different gauge in a slightly different location. This is not often mentioned when referencing the long-term record. Some said this older gauge was on the opposite side of a fault, thus differentially subsiding. Others disputed this. Only the earliest years of the record are at this other location. The datum used for all of these before NAVD88 was not very reliable. (I was once told that NGVD stood for No Good Vertical Datum.) Another problem with using tide gauge data for subsidence was that many of them are actually strongly influenced by localized runoff or river flow. I remember there was one near the mouth of the Atchafalaya that was obviously influenced by the heavier flows in flood years, I think this is the one at Eugene Island. Since this still is a reflection of water surface elevation, although likely somewhat localized, it may not be the issue in calculating SLR at the local level as it might be for subsidence alone. In fact, Sheas estimates really gave more of a RSLR than subsidence alone, so they worked for the purpose at the time and we had nothing better. This was also before GSLR was so well studied. Since I have not been involved in any of the efforts on subsidence since that time, I do not know if this question has already been addressed by the subsidence team or others. I have not seen it addressed in any white papers or proceedings from any of the subsidence working groups. The issue of sinking benchmarks, and the extent of the subsidence problem was very controversial in house at the time. This was right about the time the draft NOAA technical report 50 (Shinkle & Dokka 2004) on subsidence was being debated. You describe some localized east-west trends in SLR that need to be accounted for in addition to the GSLR rate. Even though you state this was based on altimetry data, is it possible that this trend is related to the subsidence trends that may be manifest in some of the data, especially if it is based on tide gauges? In looking at the map in figure 17, it appeared to have some correlation with the subsidence trends. While I recognize that the information presented in this paper is based on highly technical research and requires the use of terminology that may not be familiar to the reader, I believe the paper, in some cases, focuses more on the details of the scientific debate than the relevance and may not be useful for the average CPRA employee attempting to understand and apply the A-3

information in project planning, design and implementation. I assume this is not meant to be a paper for publication in a climate change journal, but for practical use as applied science for our purposes. Even if meant to be published, white papers are usually much more simplified and summary documents that take the information gleaned from various sources and synthesize it into a format and language that is easy for most readers to understand, even if they have no training in the subject area. You do a good job of defining the terminology where it is more easily understood, but the language in the summaries is difficult to follow. The conclusions need to be explained or at least summarized in language that everyone from engineers, biologists, ecologists, geologists, and oceanographers to senior administrative officials can understand. For example, in the executive summary, I would not use the numbered bullet format in lines 3957 to explain such a complicated concept with such long, complicated sentences. (The same applies to the similar write-up on pp 25-26.) Bullets should be reserved for simplified concepts or points. These are paragraphs. If I was merely trying to figure out what rate of GSLR to use, and didnt care about all the background information that you used to derive it, I would have a hard time putting my finger on it easily. Provide the description in text then give an example of its use in one or more typical applications that are anticipated. Where the process is described for determining what number to use for SLR at specific locations, the format is especially awkward. It would be useful to separate the explanation of how the numbers are derived from the actual number to use and the formulas. The executive summary overall should be more of a very simplified explanation of how you determined a number or method to use and give an example of its use. The summary should also, in plain language, tell of the caveats and describe uncertainties and what type of future work is necessary or planned to resolve them. Additionally, I would have liked to see at least some discussion of potential implications of this rate of SLR and any associated uncertainty in how projects are designed and implemented. For example, under the scenario given, are there potential implications to using rocks on shorelines? Should we be abandoning some areas as unsustainable along the outer fringes of the coast? Should we spend so much time worrying about sculpting marsh to the exact intertidal elevation, or should we build in some additional height or heterogeneity of heights into our projects to account for it? You give an explanation of how to incorporate this information into determining marsh elevation, but also should give some examples of using this information for structures or other types of projects, not just marsh restoration. Remember we are in the realm of applied science, so show us how to apply this information in our work. One additional thing I would change throughout the text, for clarity, is how the rate of change is given. You present it as an overall increase in sea level by 2100, but the starting reference year is not necessarily given in each case (i.e. what is the time period of this 1m rise?). Therefore, it is hard to determine from this what annual rate is presented, and if it is the same for each reference. For example, if you state that we (or some other state) will use an increase of 1m by 2100, is that from this year or the year of the particular publication? Is it a linear rate? I think presenting annual rates in each case would be more useful, especially since this document is meant to be a living one and will be referenced in future years as well as this one. I also would have liked to see the reasonable range of the uncertainty (sort of a margin of error) expressed somewhere in the summary, in addition to the number recommended for now. A-4

Response: We agree that the format and organization of the document could be improved. In order to make the document easier to use, we have simplified the process for determining the rate of GLSR into a step-by-step process that engineers and scientists can easily calculate. We have moved this information to the front of the document so it is easy to locate. We do feel, however, that it is important to retain the scientific background information for reference. Therefore, we have adjusted the organization of the document, corrected any formatting or typographical errors and moved the technical discussion to the back. Satellite altimetry works by orbiting satellites emitting signals that travel to the earth and are then reflected back to the satellite. The time it takes for the signal to travel that distance is then used to calculate the distance between the satellite and the surface. My continually emitting and receiving signals, the satellites can record the surface of the ocean. This allows us to monitor the sea surface height or sea level. Because this method of measurement does not require the use of a benchmark anchored to a land surface for reference, such as is used for tide gauge measurement, subsidence is not an issue. Therefore, the satellite altimetry is not influenced by subsidence so the east-west trend that is identified in the white paper is not related to the subsidence trend the commenter mentions. Subsidence can be a factor in tide gauge data; however, the east west GLSR trend depicted in the white paper is based on satellite altimetry data. While those questions are important to answer, this white paper was prepared to inform policy on sea level rise and, therefore, is limited to that discussion. We approached this paper by researching and synthesizing the current science related to GSLR, using that information to estimate the most likely GLSR over the next century, and how to best incorporate GSLR into CPRA project planning and design. There are many other factors other than just GLSR that must be factored into any specific project as the commenter points our; however, this white paper is limited to estimating a GLSR. The issues commenter mentions should be addressed during project design and not by this white paper.

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CPRA-LACES released a draft document for internal CPRA comment on 23 November 2010. Comments on 20101123 CPRA LACES SLR Document FINAL DRAFT, 12December 2010, from Summer Martin, Louisiana Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration Comment on Line 189 through 191: Why would you want to remove [the influence of natural cycles on sea level rise estimates]? Its still a change in SL whatever the cause? Comment on Line 583 through 586: I dont understand this sentence; what is it you are recommending?

Authors Response: Regarding lines 189-191, GLSR generally refers to the increase in MSL that is not natural and/or cyclical and is long term. We are primarily interested in this trend because it is assumed that natural systems, marshes in particular, are quite capable of persisting in the event of natural cycles. It is the long term change in sea-level against this background of natural forcings that will ultimately affect the ability for coastal areas to maintain elevation. Moreover, a change in MSL long term will significantly alter the degree to which natural cycles will affect an area. For example, if the 18.6-year lunar cycle tends to increase sea-level in an area by 2 cm over 10 years and the GSLR rate in that area is 1mm/yr then the overall effect of the natural cycle in those 10 years will be 3 cm, and when the 18.6 year cycle ebbs, it will ebb by only 2 cm, leaving 1cm of overall increase in MSL. We believe that this was unclearly described in the section you referenced and have altered that section to clarify. Regarding lines 583-586, we are recommending that in order to account for the change in water level (not accounting for land change and RSLR at this point) at a specific project, that management teams assume that by 2100 sea-level in that area will increase by 1 meter and use the associated acceleration constant from the curve NRC II, 6.2 x 10-5and apply this to the yearly trend found from satellite altimetry or local tide gauges to determine the change in MSL for any other date, see equations 5 and 6 for clarification. We believe this was unclearly described in the section you referenced and have altered the text to clarify.

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CPRA-LACES released a draft document for comment by select State agencies on 17 May 2011. Written comments were received from the Department of Natural Resources and the Department of Wildlife & Fisheries. Informal comments were also received from the Department of Environmental Quality and the Department of Transportation & Development, and the Governors Office of Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness. Comments from Louis E. Buatt, Assistant Secretary, Office of Coastal Management, Louisiana Department of Natural Resources The Office of Coastal Management appreciates the opportunity to review the document referenced above. While we recognize that the document is being distributed for informational purposes to persons and groups with responsibilities and interests in the issue of sea-level effects on coastal resources, I do want to take this opportunity to provide feedback for your consideration in future iterations of the document at such time as it may be revised to reflect the progress of state of knowledge on the subject. I and my staff have found the document to be an excellent review of a complex and often controversial topic and appreciate the work you and your staff have done to provide a readable and comprehensive synopsis of the issue as it pertains to the Louisiana coast. I believe the white paper will be a useful tool to those working with issues affected by relative sea-level rise and appreciate the effort to discuss the related factors that distinguish these effects seen in Louisiana in the context of observed subsidence and vertical marsh accretion. I would offer only two comments for your consideration in future editions of the whitepaper. First, I believe the Executive Summary might be enhanced by a slightly expanded discussion of the issue as observed in Louisiana and the Gulf of Mexico and of the process being recommended in the paper. While readable to its intended technical audience, it will inevitably be read by many not versed in the jargon of SLR terminology, and who will read little else but the Executive Summary. Second, I believe it would be appropriate to mention in the context of planning and design of structural and non-structural projects and management measures of the Master Plan, that the State's Coastal Management Program, through its regulatory authorities, does have enforceable policies related to subsidence and inundation and the risks associated with them, whether caused by SLR or other phenomena. This could be useful particularly in planning exercises undertaken to implement the Master Plan. Finally, I am obliged to point out one very minor editing miscue which remains in the document as a result of the automated editing which we all now use. In line 937 of the document the word "of' appears when it seems obvious that the writer intended that the word be "or." Once again, let me offer kudos to you and your staff who have prepared an excellent and useful document dealing with a very complex and constantly changing subject.

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Authors Response: We agree with the need for a revised discussion and have removed the Executive Summary from the Technical Report. In its place we have created a stand-alone Summary of the Technical Report for Coastal Managers, which is more comprehensive but is written without the jargon of the earlier Executive Summary.

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Comments from Heather Warner-Finley, Louisiana Department of Wildlife and Fisheries Thanks very much for the opportunity to review this work. We think that RSLR is a critical parameter to consider and monitor relative to restoration efforts and protection and navigation planning. Its great that you guys are taking it seriously, and were particularly pleased that additional research / modeling is planned. Contribution of freshwater from melting glaciers and ice sheets the papers authors acknowledge that this phenomenon may be THE primary contributor to global sea level rise. These data could have significant implications to how predictable and relevant future GSLR scenarios are to the Gulf of Mexico given limits in the monitoring networks that define the GSLR components The paper then goes on to identify the acceleration constants that will be used and recommend use of a bracketed model to estimate sea level rise. Would it be valuable to try to estimate the uncertainty that is brought into the equation by the addition of freshwater from ice melt? Is that well accounted for in the high SLR scenario of 1.5m? Subsidence seems to be another variable that will require much more research and modeling. Nymans data cited in the SW Coastal study that a deteriorating marsh appeared to accrete at a higher rate is fascinating. This seems to introduce another large source of uncertainty in any attempt to predict how coastal projects will perform in the future.

We applaud you for beginning this work.

Authors Response: We have added language highlighting the uncertainty involved in the eustatic contribution to GLSR and, to support that language, included Figure 18.

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CPRA-LACES released a draft document for public comment on 6 February 2012. Comments from Joe Conner (no affiliation given), Received 9 February 2012 This is not a comment its a question. So is there's a chance that Louisiana maybe under water in the near future? Sent via BlackBerr\ from T-Mobile

Authors Response: Thank you for your attention to this matter. Our intention in developing this report and the recommendations therein was to best define the anticipated level of sea-level rise that Louisiana could face in the near-term future, so that our protection and restoration actions can be as robust as possible, thus ensuring a sustainable a coastal zone .

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Comments from Thomas Cronin, US Geological Survey, Received 10 February 2012 James I went through the report quickly, wish I had more time but here are a few comments. Its a really nice job. The best aspect is you brought out the many uncertainties. Lets talk sometime again TOM I cant criticize the text very much except to note there are other references on SLR rates, but it would be impossible to review them all. Tectonic processes, both abrupt events like earthquakes and long term thermal subsidence and uplift from erosion [isostacy but not GIA]. Another problem [in addition to the tidal cycles you describe) with using tide gauges relevant to discerning acceleration are regional differences due to interannual to multidecadal ocean dynamics. See Bingham and Hughes, 2009, Yin et al. 2009, 2011. Line 181 what is meant by natural cycles? [also line 207] Tides? Orbital Milankovitch climate cycles? Also for some coasts tectonic activity including earthquakes changes shoreline elevation. Lines 501-520. Nice job explaining the acceleration controversy. Am I correct you may get some readers agreeing with the ACOE method, or those who suggest no acceleration? Page 12-13. New Nature paper by Jacobs et al 2012 giving new contribution from ice at 1.48 mm/yr Figure 17. There are many GIA related geophysical graphics you could use, but this one about a WAIS collapse might not be the best one. Figure 23 and text. If future rates or SLR are expected to be higher than the 2007 IPCC report, do you still want to show this figure citing it as a possible G of Mex. Rate? Figure 24. did Horton 2008 estimate future SL Rise? This paper is not in the references.

Authors Response: Thank you for your review. In reference to your comments above: Regarding lines 181 and 207, we generally were referencing natural atmospheric and oceanic forcings, and may have misstated the reference to cycles per se, as it was not our intention to introduce the relevance of orbital and other millennial-scale cycle. We have adjusted the text in that paragraph accordingly. Regarding lines 501-520, much of the reason why we began the development of the information in this report and the resulting recommendations was the recognition that the recommendations by the US Army Corps for addressing SLR, as defined in the 2009 and 2011 ECs, was of limited use for coastal Louisiana. Please see Appendix B for a more thorough review of that criticism than we can reasonably provide here. Interestingly, CPRA conversations with multiple Corps counterparts indicate that the Corps likewise recognizes the limitations in applying the EC to coastal Louisiana. We fully intend on working with the Corps in whatever capacity they prefer to address those limitations and find a common but robust approach to the matter. We would hope that the information in this technical report and the resulting recommendations that we have made would form a more reasonable starting point for that conversation. A-11

Regarding the text on pages 12-13, thank you for bringing the Jacobs et al 2012 paper to our attention. Similar to the approach that IPCC has taken, we set an August 2011 cutoff of material to consider for this report; however, we will most definitely keep the Jacobs reference in mind for our next iteration of this report. Regarding Figure 17, it was not our intention to use that figure from Mitrovica et al. 2009 to illustrate glacial isostatic adjustment, but to illustrate a predicted response of future Gulf of Mexico sea-level rise to a collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Please see the text preceding that figure. Regarding Figure 23, the results of Meehl et al. 2007 may be specific to the IPCC A1B climate scenario and the SLR project contained therein, but it was the only projection that we could find discussing geographic variability in projected sea-level rise, from which we could compare predictions of global versus local Gulf SLR. If any future modeling efforts predict a different comparability between global compared to Gulf SLR response, we will certainly revisit that discussion. Regarding Figure 24, we have added Horton et al. 2008 to the list of references.

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Comments from Jamar Melton (no affiliation given), Received 10 February 2012 All computer generated modeling work used to evaluate or to predict the potential effectiveness of any given restoration strategy, including river and sediment diversions and sediment placement projects, should also be required to include SLR rates and known local subsidence rates. The omission of this information when generating computer modeling renders these models unreliable and misleading in terms of determining the potential effectiveness of a particular strategy in a given area. Jamar Melton <jamarmelton@hotmail.com>

Authors Response: We agree. The points you bring up were much of the impetus for generating this report.

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Comments from Jim Boudreaux (no affiliation given), Received 11 February 2012 If you would visit: http://jboudreaux.page.tl Your future and protection is awaiting you since 2005. If you notice, the ideas on my website are being done with method that are used currently. That will never work. Like pouring new wine in old bottles. Their pride and greed for money and reconition has blinded them to the simple project that was and is dropped into their laps. At a cost between 4 to 6 million a mile. Once in place, nature will provide the sediments. How? The earth rotates. Moving sediments along the coast lines of the world. This system trapps these sediments and provide protection against erosion, while also providing cat. 5 Hurricane Protection. Study my website and learn the concept of this System. Feel free to contact me. I am in Houma, La. Enclosed is just one of many Power Point Solution this System has to offer. This System will stop the erosion and rebuild our coast. Invest in this project, and you will not be disappointed. It is time to take politics out and support a system that will provide multible protection. If their is a system that offers more mulible protection than this system, why has it been built? Because their is none. Jim Boudreaux P O Box 4414 Houma, La. 70361 Phone (985) 868-6270 Email: jboudr1@bellsouth.net

Authors Response: Thank you for attention to our report. Our recommendations are certainly intended to increase the long-term efficacy of all of CPRAs protection and restoration projects, including those utilizing innovate approaches such as that you have developed.

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Comments from Dr. Julia Smith Wellner, University of Houston, Received 21 February 2012 Tue 2/21/2012 4:21 PM Dear Paul, Thank you for alerting me to this report and giving me the chance to comment. Please note that this email is being cc'd to the "LACES@la.gov" address as an official submission of my comments at the same time. Overall the report is detailed and very nicely done. My comments focus on some concerns about sea level predictions for the future. Since it is these future predictions that will lead to all future efforts at coastal protection, it is important to make sure that they are not only accurate, but also clear and precisely presented. 1) Using figures or information from web sites is not ideal; it is OK to get raw data from government web sites, but that should be it. In many places in the report, for example Figure 10, the only source is a workshop web page. Use plots from peer-reviewed literature only, this plot is in question just based on source. 2) Following on the above, doesn't most literature cites thermal expansion rather than addition of more water to the ocean as the primary driver of sea-level rise currently? If going to call for thermal expansion to be much less than more broadly interpreted, need to document published literature. (For example, see plot in Figure 18. Numbers presented here should broadly match those in Figure 10.) 3) Figure 18--colors not explained. Will affect comment above. 4) There are so many groups, including the IPCC, that have worked at fitting lines to sea level data. This is a science unto itself. Is the discussion of line fitting to the data (Figure 9) appropriate? It seems over-simplified and at the same time unnecessary. This becomes particularly important in Figure 19---almost no one in the business of sea level prediction is predicting future just based on a line--whether straight or quadratic--through past data. Use IPCC predictions as a guide--and those predictions are based on more detailed modelling. This is indicated clearly in Figure 20--so 19 not really needed without further clarification.. 5) Figure 13 should be oriented the other way, so it matches 14 more clearly. Just a few thoughts. Good luck finishing report. Sincerely, Julia -Dr. Julia Smith Wellner Research Assistant Professor A-15

Co-Director, Geoscience Learning Center Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences University of Houston 312 Science & Research Building 1 Houston, Texas 77204-5007 713 893 1273 FAX: 713 748 7906 jwellner@uh.edu Julia Smith Wellner jwellner@uh.edu Dear Julia, Given your interest in Gulf of Mexico sea levels, you might be interested in a newly released draft report by the Louisiana Applied Coastal Engineering and Science Division (LACES). This report reviews, summarizes, and evaluates what is known about sea level rise along and subsidence associated with the Louisiana Coastal Plain. Links to this report and an executive summary can be found in "LACES Sea-Level Rise Recommendations" at: http://coastal.louisiana.gov/index.cfm?md=pagebuilder&tmp=home&pid=240 This is likely an important report that will have a significant influence on coastal restoration within the Louisiana. The expert opinion of you, Dr. Kristy Milliken, Dr. Anderson, and others concerning the technical and other content of it could be quite helpful and contribute greatly to the wise management of the Mississippi River Delta. As indicated by the above web page, LACES is requesting such comments before March 7, 2012. I would certainly encourage you to take the time to look at and comment on it and encourage others to also examine and comment on it. The report is: Recommendations for Anticipating Sea-Level Rise Impacts on Louisiana Coastal Resources during Project Planning and Design: Technical Report PDF file at: http://www.lacpra.org/assets/docs/LACES/LACEStech02_06_12.pdf CC: Kristy Milliken kristy.t.milliken@exxonmobil.com Yours, Paul Paul V. Heinrich Louisiana Geological Survey Louisiana State University A-16

Baton Rouge, LA 7080 Authors Response: Thank you for your review. Regarding your specific points above: The original Figure 10 was based on a PowerPoint by Casenave published online by the World Climate Research Programme for a 2006 UNESCO workshop on sea-level rise. However, because of several comments received about that specific figure, we have replaced it with a similar figure from Casenave et al. 2008. You were correct in identifying the discrepancy between Figures 10 and 18. We have rectified the apparent conflict by removing Figure 18, because we believe the body of literature more clearly supports the increasing influence of eustatic over thermosteric-induced sea-level rise. Regarding Figures 9 and 19, we have removed Figure 19 from the report at this time, recognizing the legitimate unresolved statistical issues with forward projections of an historic non-linear trend. The issue, though, of forwarding-projecting the historic trend with a linear function is germane to this discussion because the US Army Corps of Engineers has chosen to base part of its strategy for accounting for SLR by establishing a scenario where they assume a future extension of the historical linear trend (see Appendix B). We agree fully that assumption is unwarranted based on the available scientific information, and in fact this report was intended to present the information to justify a State policy deviating from the use of that type of scenario. Zervas has provided us with a revised version of Figure 13 that matches the comparable geographic orientation of Figure 14.

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Comments from Josh Willis, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Received 21 February 2012 Hi Jim, Thanks for the email and pointing me to your report on sea level rise in Louisiana. I noticed one figure and some text that should probably be updated. In the paragraph that begins on line 522, the Lyman et al. 2006 paper was later shown to contain biases that had not yet been discovered and addressed. Hence, the rapid cooling that occurs at the end of the record shown in the Lyman et al. (2006) paper was not correct. More recent estimates of ocean warming (and hence thermal expansion) show less rapid warming after 2003, but no actual cooling: http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v465/n7296/full/nature09043.html Figure 10 also needs to be updated, I belive. I've copied Steve Nerem on this email as well. Steve, do you know of any place where a figure similar to this one: http://www.lacpra.org/assets/docs/LACES/LACEStech02_06_12.pdf (see Figue 10) has been published recently? I know several such plots have been made and the total and thermosteric sea level curves have been published separately, but I don't know if they have been published anywhere together since the biases in the ocean temperature data were addressed. Best, Josh ********************************************************** Josh Willis, Ph.D. joshua.k.willis@jpl.nasa.gov Jet Propulsion Laboratory M/S 300-323 office: 300-323F 4800 Oak Grove Dr. phone: (818) 354-0881 Pasadena, CA 91109 fax: (818) 393-6720 ********************************************************** Authors Response: Thank you for your review of the report. We have removed the reference to Lyman et al. 2006 as well as Figure 10, which we replaced with a figure from Casenave et al. 2008. We believe that the remaining references and the new figure support our original discussion of the changing relative influences between eustatic and thermosteric factors on global sea level.

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Comments from Jason Curole, CPRA, Received 23 February 2012

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Specific comments: Lines 212-213: This sentence doesnt make sense to me. Lines 286-287: This seems the opposite of what is suggested. If long term estimates are available shouldnt they be used? Did you mean only if? Lines 322-323: Awkward construction. Line 477: Multiplication symbol should be used here and throughout. Lines 486-488: Awkward. Lines 717-718: What transformations? Lines 719-726: This is vague. Lines 813-824: Why? Lines 827-832: Doesnt assuming 1 m defeat the purpose of driving factors? Line 2013: The subscript for E should be 1986-2100, not 2015-2100. Same for lines 2014 and 2043.

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Authors Response: Thank you for your review of this report. Your analysis of the Grand Isle tide gauge data is interesting, and consistent with recent proposals that subsidence in the Grand Isle area may be slowing due to reductions in the rate of subterranean fluid withdrawal (water, oil and gas, etc.; see recent work by Alex Kolker and other). Given that underlying causes for the differential patterns of subsidence as shown in Figures 27 and 28 likely differ across the coast, your analysis highlights the limitation in extrapolating observations of relative SLR at any one location to other sites in southern Louisiana. We look forward to working with you more on this. The specific editorial comments that were identified in the attached sheets were addressed and revisions made. Regarding the specific comments above: Lines 212-213: We removed the entire discussion of the 18.6-year lunar nodal cycle based on the review provided by Stephen Gill (see later in this Appendix). Lines 286-287: We agree that this was confusing and came across incorrectly, the text has been revised accordingly. Lines 322-323: The text has been revised for clarity. Line 477: Those equations have all been revised to include multiplication symbols. Lines 486-488: The text has been revised to more clearly discuss the information. Lines 717-718: We have removed Figure 19 and the pertinent text from the report at this time, recognizing the legitimate unresolved statistical issues with forward projections of an historic non-linear trend. Lines 719-726: The text has been revised to more clearly discuss the information. Lines 813-824: We are unsure if the question is related to why the lack of focused SLR predictive modeling for the Gulf of Mexico, or why some of the proposed limitations arise due to that lack of effort. We will follow up with you on this point. Lines 827-832: We dont believe so. The driving factors discussion earlier in the report was intended to establish the rationale for comparing global patterns versus those in the Gulf of Mexico, and whether estimates of global SLR are appropriate to consider for the Gulf. Line 2013: Correct, the text has been revised accordingly.

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Comments from Stephen Gill, NOAA NOS Center for Operational Oceanographic Products and Services (CO-OPS), Received 24 February 2012 Thank you for the opportunity to review your important report. I have two significant concerns relative to the discussion: 1) Page 3, Lines 219 - 235. The authors overstate the relationship between the 18.6 yr nodal cycle and the changes in rates of SLR. Rates of SLR from tide gauge records are computed using monthly mean sea level observations. Monthly mean sea levels are determined by averaging the observed hourly heights each month. As such, they are effective in pretty much de-tiding the record for the 18.6 yr. cycle. The nodal cycle certainly affects the monthly ranges of tide; i.e the monthly excursions. This is very important when looking a long-term records of highest and lowest tides and their variations over the 18.6 yr. period, but not so important when looking at changes in sea level trends themselves. The authors mis-label Figure 1. from Gratiot et al, 2008. It is not a plot of sea-level, but a plot of the MHWL's (high waters) tabulated from the observations. The time series of high and low tides will show this dependancy, which is the point of the reference paper. Gratiot et al state in their paper; "While tides have no effect on the long-term sea-level trend, they induce important flucuations of the mhwl.....". Our time series analyses of monthly mean sea level records (from which the SLR trends are produced) show very little correlation with the nodal cycle and no significant energy spikes in the frequency spectrum at the 18.6 yr period (see http://tidesandcurrents.noaa.gov/sltrends/index.shtml for plots of the monthly data). The main point of Douglas et al recommending 60-years of data is not for closure on successive 18.6 yr. cycles, but for obtaining linear trends with meaningfully low standard errors. In summary, the rates (and changes theren) of SLR have very little to do with the 18.6 nodal cycle. As a result of this discussion, the statements made on Page 18, lines 645 648 are also incorrect regarding the 18.6 yr dependancy and changes in trends. 2) Pages 11, 12, 13 Discussion and references to Figure 9. Figure 9. should not be used to support the authors assertions of concerns with a linear fit to the monthly mean sea levels. The correlations of fit for the quadratic fit, although slightly lower than the linear trend, are not statistically significant given the standard error in those curve fits themselves. No implications can/should be made because they are not supported. The quadratic fit is an artifact of the values at the beginning and end of the time series chosen, and no physical meaning can be drawn. Regards, Stephen Gill

Authors Response: Thank you for your review of this report. We acknowledge that we may have misstated the relationship between the 18.6-year nodal cycle and Douglas recommendations for 60+ years of tide gauge records. We may need to reintroduce a discussion of the lunar nodal cycle at some point in the future for other reasons, but for now we have removed most of that discussion from the report. A-22

We disagree that the quadratic fit is an artifact of the beginning and end of the period of record analyzed by Church and White 2011; the patterns in the observed data at the tails define a quadratic relationship as a more appropriate fit should not be viewed as an artifact. The comparison between the linear and quadratic historical fits are relevant given the discussion of defining the trends in Church and White, and by other authors, and is important in discussing the appropriateness of future projections and the comparison of our recommendations versus those put forth by the Corps of Engineers in their 2009 and 2011 Engineering Circulars.

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Comments from Dale E. Berner, Ben C. Gerwick, Inc., Received 3 March 2012 To Whom It May Concern, While the accompanying draft RSLR guidance document is focused on California, it has considerable relevance to the state of Louisiana. It is expected that the proposal associated with this draft RSLR guidance will be finalized by June of 2012. Please let me know if the State of Louisiana would be interested in joining this proposed study and if so, to whom I should send the final proposal. Regards, Dale E. Berner President Ben C. Gerwick, Inc. A COWI Company 1300 Clay St. 7th Floor Oakland, CA 94612 Tel 510 839 8972 Direct 510 267 7132 Fax 510 839 9715 Email deb@gerwick.com www.gerwick.com www.cowi.com

Authors Response: Thank you for bringing this effort in California to our attention. We are certainly interested in exploring your work in California and any potential for collaboration.

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Comments from Paul Heinrich, Louisiana Geological Survey, Received 4 March 2012 Dear Sirs and Ladies, I am retracting my public comment of February 10, 2012, as it contains information about research currently in progress. In its place, I am submitting the below comment. ++++ Public comment below this line ++++ Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana 450 Laurel Street, Suite 1200 Baton Rouge, LA 70804-4027 LACES@la.gov In reference to section "2.3.Projections of Future Sea-Level Rise" of LACES (2012), the potential maximum sea level rise that the Louisiana coast might experience is constrained by the location of the shoreline of the Gulf of Mexico during the last Interglacial, Marine Oxygen Isotope Stage 5e, about 122,000 - 132,000 years ago. In Southwest Louisiana, the position of this shoreline was at the 19 mile-long (32 km-long) Houston Ridge. The Houston Ridge is an ancient barrier island, which now lies in northern Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana about 4 miles (6.4 km) north of Sulphur, Louisiana (Heinrich 2007). It demonstrates that during the last interglacial period, the Gulf of Mexico shoreline lay north of Lake Charles, Louisiana. It shows how far inland within Southwest Louisiana the Gulf of Mexico could move during an interglacial period like we are in at present. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to contact me. References Cited, Heinrich, P. V., 2007, The Houston Ridge: An Ancient Shoreline in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. Louisiana Geological Survey NewsInsights. vol. 17, no. 1, pp. 1-4. (Summer 2007) LACES, 2012, Recommendations for Anticipating Sea- Level Rise Impacts on Louisiana Coastal Resources During Planning and Design, Technical Report. Louisiana Applied Coastal Engineering & Science (LACES) Division. Office of Coastal Protection and Restoration Louisiana, Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Best wishes, Paul Paul V. Heinrich Louisiana Geological Survey A-25

Enegry, Coast, and Environment Building 3079 Louisiana State University Baton Rouge, LA 70803 http://www.lgs.lsu.edu/deploy/staff/staff.php?sectionID=5

Authors Response: Thank you for bringing this material to our attention. Historical patterns of SLR-driven coastal inundation are certainly valuable for checking any predictions of future inundation driven by expected SLR.

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Comments from Camille Stagg, Brady Couvillion and Hongqing Wang, US Geological Survey, Received 6 March 2012 Response to Recommendations for anticipating sea-level rise impacts on Louisiana coastal resources during project planning and design: Technical Report. Camille L. Stagg, Ph.D., Ecologist1; Brady Couvillion, Geographer1; Hongqing Wang, Ph.D., Research Ecologist1 1 U.S. Geological Survey, National Wetlands Research Center, Coastal Restoration Assessment Branch . General Comments: 1. We agree that the term global sea-level rise is a clear and well-defined term for the change in global sea-level relative to the center of earths mass. However, given that the term eustatic is used interchangeably with global sea-level rise frequently in the literature, the authors need to provide better evidence for their definition of eustatic sealevel rise. The authors define eustatic as the mass change in ocean water. Minimally, at least one literature citation that defines eustatic as the mass change contribution to sealevel rise must be included in the document. 2. The use of parenthetical notation of English units is not useful. To reduce confusion, remove parenthetical notation. Use one unit system throughout the document, SI, and provide a conversion table in an appendix. 3. In regard to projections of future sea-level rise, we feel that the upper bound should be set at ~2m instead of 1.5m (Pfeffer et al., 2008; Vermeer and Rahmstorf, 2009). Reasons: a. Vermeer and Rahmstorf (2009)'s semi-empirical method has been validated using observations from 1880 to 2000 to be very accurate, and they found that there is a strong correlation between observed sea level and reconstructed sea level. b. The semi-empirical method uses the relationship between sea level and global temperature that can be predicted by GCMs with different GHG emission scenarios. This method can be used for predicting regional SLR by down-scaling the GCMs. c. Restoration planning should "prepare the worst" although +2m/century is a lower chance scenario. Specific Comments (all comments and line numbers reference the full document NOT the Summary of the Technical Report for Coastal Managers): LINES 1. Line 193: The authors use thermal expansion and steric changes interchangeably. This is incorrect. Steric represents volumetric changes that are not specific to thermal drivers. Thermosteric changes indicate thermal expansion, but there are also other steric changes, such as halosteric changes, which indicate volumetric changes influenced by freshening of the water (IPCC, 2007). A-27

2. Line 194: Please see overall comments (1)- provide a citation that supports this definition of eustatic sea-level rise. 3. Line 479: E is the global sea-level at time t, not the global sea-level rise at time t, which is what the authors suggest with GSLR. Either write out global sea-level or change to GSL. 4. Line 484. Run-on sentence. Do not add period after yr abbreviation. 5. Line 501. Remove shown in figure 8. 6. Line 505: Remove visual examination..seen that. Begin sentence with The linear trend line shows a departure Other text is superfluous. 7. Line 508: How can a non-linear historical GSLR curve support a deviation from US ACE if their method also employs a non-linear, accelerating rate of sea-level rise? It should be supportive of the ACE curve not deviate from it. Again edit to remove excess wording. Remove and perhaps most importantcalculate RSLR. Change curvilinear to non-linear to avoid repetitive curve. 8. Lines 553-565: Run-on sentence. Separate into two sentences. This statement needs multiple citations. Is the assumption that the GOM is warmer because of the geomorphological setting the authors own idea, or has this been presented elsewhere? It is probably not just a reasonable assumption, but actually supported by data published in the literature. 9. Line 646: Published data would be preferable to a personal communication. NOAA probably has the current lunar nodal cycle information available. 10. Line 715: change aquatic to quadratic. 11. Lines 714-726. This paragraph needs serious attention. If the authors maintain that the projections in Figure 19 are not accurate and only a simple effort, quantitative predictions should not be given (e.g. 15 and 26 cm). On the other hand, if the authors wish to give a quantitative prediction, the correct statistical procedures should be used to project the linear and quadratic functions. Merely stating the fact that they are aware of better statistics does not provide an excuse for presenting inaccurate data. 12. Lines 720-721: remove be it the 1.5 mm/yr .as reported in Church and White (2006). This information is not necessary and only confusing. 13. Lines 723-726: If the authors are ultimately going to recommend the use of satellite altimetry data with the non-linear function, this observation on the discrepancies with the linear function is not useful. Remove entire sentence. 14. Lines 822-824: Please see comment on Figure 16 below. This statement supports our recommendation that a mean global rate of sea-level rise derived from satellite altimetry data should be used in place of a Gulf-specific satellite altimetry rate. 15. Lines 831-832: Se comment above. 16. Lines 870-875. E should be specifically defined as the relative sea-level at time t, not as defined by Eqn.6. E as defined by Eqn. 6 represents Global sea-level at time t. The whole point of this section is to differentiate between Global and Relative sea-level rise. 17. Line 993: CRMS = Coastwide Reference Monitoring System (not coastal). 18. Lines 1009 and forward: We have collaborated extensively with CPRA, specifically Leigh Anne Sharp, LFO CRS Supervisor and chair of the CRMS Soils Analytical Team, to develop a Submergence Vulnerability Index for CRMS sites that applies many of the ideas you are presenting here. I have read their comments and will kindly refer you to her recommendations on accretion and subsidence theory, terminology and application. A-28

FIGURES 19. Figure 8. The legend labels are not consistent with the figure descriptions. The colored lines should be labeled with the time-span of the data OR the publication date of the data source. Old relative to what? Also, what is GRL? This is the first time this acronym appears. 20. Figure 10. Figure description: The term bulk eustatic water volume is contradictory to the authors use of eustatic throughout the rest of the document. Change to eustatic mass change. 21. Figure 16 and Figure S3. Data were derived by USGS from satellite altimetry data. This is an incorrect citation. USGS did not derive this data. USGS only created a visual of NOAA Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry data. This visual was merely sent in an email to a group of scientists for consideration of the utility of this type of data for projections of future sea level rise. Serious concerns regarding the use of this data for future projections were raised by members of this group and as such, the method was abandoned. This visual is not an official USGS product, and USGS was not consulted or informed prior to using the visual in an official publication. We recommend that this data not be incorporated into the official recommendation by LACES. If the authors choose to keep this data, any citation of this data should reference the NOAA Laboratory for Satellite Altimetry after obtaining permission from NOAA. Furthermore, given the very wide range of uncertainty already being incorporated into the model because of ice sheet dynamics, it is inappropriate to attempt to account for error on the micron/millimeter scale by simply choosing 3 points in proximity to the site in question. There should be a more systematic approach in determining what data is included in this model. How can user error be accounted for with this method? We recommend that the global value reported by IPCC 2007 (3.1 mm/yr) be used in place of this data. Also see lines 822-824.

Authors Response: Thank you very much for your detailed review of this report. Addressing your specific points above: General Comments 1. We have clarified this issue in the document. 2. The express purpose of our report and recommendations is to inform CPRA project planning and design. As such one of our immediate target audiences is our engineering group, who as a matter of common practice in the field calculate in English units. We therefore try as much as possible throughout our actions to provide information both in metric and English units to best serve CPRA. 3. We disagree with the need to account for a 2-meter rise in sea level by 2100 as the upper bound of our recommendations. The justification for a 2-meter scenario is highly dependent on a significant increase in global temperature by 2100 and the attendant impacts on global glaciers and ice sheets. Our review of the information available during A-29

the preparation of this report illustrated a significant amount of uncertainty on both fronts, and especially on the latter issue of ice sheet melt and eustatic contribution. We acknowledge in the report that some may feel our range and centerline recommendation are conservative, and we hold open the option of revising our recommendations upward if the state of the science on climate change and ice sheet dynamics warrants such action. However, our present recommendations also remain consistent with both the same high bound on global SLR as the 2012 revised Coastal Master Plan as well as that of the Army Corps of Engineers in their 2009 and 2011 Engineering Circulars. Specific Comments: 1. Line 193: Language throughout the report has been amended to specify thermosteric as the proper term. 2. The text describing eustatic sea-level rise as specifically the mass change in oceans has been removed, and we have since modified the document to use the terms eustatic and total sea level rise interchangeable, as is typical for most sea level rise research. A definition has been included in State of the Science section of the report. 3. The variable in the equation has been changed accordingly. 4. The entire paragraph containing that sentence has been revised for clarity. Additionally, the mm/yr. has been changed to mm/yr 5. The reference to Figure 8 has been removed. 6. The entire paragraph discussing this information has been revised. 7. Line 508: We disagree. This statement refers to historical rates as non-linear, not future rates, which we agree the Corps Engineering Circulars (ECs; 2009 and 2011) consider. The Corps ECs assume a linear historical rate of global SLR. It is only by that assumption that global SLR can be subtracted from a linear relative SLR rate from the local tide gauge to get a constant (linear) subsidence rate by difference. It is mathematically impossible for a non-linear accelerating rate of historical global SLR, subtracted from a linear RSLR at the local tide gauge, to allow by difference a constant rate of subsidence. See Appendix B. 8. The text has been modified. 9. The section referenced was removed based on comments by another reviewer included earlier in this appendix. 10. Line 715: The text of that paragraph has been revised significantly, and this correction provided for.

11.We have removed Figure 19 from the report at this time, recognizing the legitimate
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unresolved statistical issues with forward projections of an historic non-linear trend. 12. Lines 720-721: The text of that paragraph has been revised significantly, and this correction provided for. 13. Lines 723-726: We disagree. Although our recommendations are based on the satellite altimetry data, our attention to the tide gauge historical trends is consistent with the discussion by multiple authors that the satellite altimetry data exhibits the same trends as that of the tide gauges. That discussion is necessary to establish the validity of the use of the altimetry data. 14. Lines 822-824: We have removed figure 16 and the accompanying recommendation to use a spatially-variable historical Gulf sea-level rise rate due to implementation difficulties identified during internal CPRA discussions. However, we have taken the position that a Gulf-specific rate of SLR is more appropriate than application of the overall historical global rate of SLR, and have developed text and data in the report to establish that rationale. Please see section 2.2.2 of the revised report. 15. See 14 above. 16. The variable description in the equation has been revised accordingly. 17. The text has been revised accordingly. 18. See the accompanying response to those comments below. 19. Figure 8 of the version of the report was taken directly from the Church and White 2011 document. The legend included is virtually the same as their legend. The text has not been changed. Additionally, due to the reference of the acronym GRL, which is not anywhere in the Figure or the legend, we are not certain that the correct figure is being referenced for this comment. 20. Figure 10 has been replaced in the document and the legend revised to reflect the new figure. 21. Figure 16: As discussed under our response to comment #14, we have removed Figure 16 and the part of recommendation referencing a spatially-variable rate of historical SLR. That information has been replaced with a recommendation of a single value for the ratte of historical Gulf SLR of 2.4 mm/yr. That information was developed consistent with the approach in USACE 2009 and 2011. Please see section 2.2.2 for that revised information.

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Comments from Leigh Anne Sharp and Tommy McGinnis, CPRA Lafayette Regional Office, Received 7 March 2012 Comments on LACES Recommendations for Anticipating Sea-level Rise Impacts on Louisiana Coastal Resources During Project Planning and Design Technical Report, 77 pages. From: Leigh Anne Sharp, LFO CRS Supervisor and chair and CRMS Soils Analytical Team and Tommy McGinnis, LFO CRS and member of CRMS Soils Analytical Team General: The short version of the report lacks the precision and clarity of the long version. It needs a lot of attention, particularly to grammar and sentence structure. We are reviewing the long version. Many sentences have complex lists (long clauses and items with multiple parts). Although not a technical rule, inserting commas before the and for the last item of the list will help the reader navigate these sentences (example: lines 148-151). Tommy and I are both on the CRMS Soils analytical team which deals extensively with issues of submergence vulnerability and rates of elevation change, vertical accretion, and subsidence. I believe we need to come present some of our work so that we can all be on the same page when it comes to terminology and theory. We acknowledge that it would have been helpful if we had reviewed this document the first time. LINE 143: Need citations for numerous and variable estimates. 153-171: Needs to be rewritten; it is repetitive and has many misplaced commas. 191-199: Global Sea Level Rise (GSLR) is conventionally used interchangeably with Eustatic Sea Level Rise (ESLR). State this as clearly as you can and make sure it is very clear that when you use eustatic in this report, you arent referring to ESLR. The short version of the report incorrectly states that ESLR is part of GSLR. 518: Not clear here what USACOE recommended that is different from this report. 605, 657: There is no publication for this figure because it was not meant for publication, but rather for discussion. 831: Are you referring to an equation? It should be nearby. This needs more details. 842: Is this recommendation consistent with what the master plan modelers did? 874: Take the time to redefine the terms. 963: Surface elevation change is not exclusively represented as subsidence. Surface elevation change is directly measured whereas subsidence is derived rate calculated from the difference between vertical accretion rates and surface elevation change rates. 993: Coastwide Reference Monitoring System, not Coastal. Also not Coast-wide as on List of Acronyms 1009: Should be Marsh Elevation Change although we deal with swamp systems too so maybe it should be Wetland Surface Elevation Change. Vertical accretion is the deposition of material on the marsh surface. It is a part of surface elevation change but is not the whole story. Elevation is also affected by belowground production, compaction, and subsidence. You are using accretion and elevation change interchangeably and that is incorrect. The critical rate is the rate of surface A-32

elevation change, not accretion. Accretion gives an indication of subsidence by calculating how much material built up but did not contribute to elevation, but the overall change in surface elevation, surface elevation change, is of interest here. The CRMS data provide both rates. If people are using CRMS data for the subsidence part of the equation, they need to get the elevation change rate, not the accretion rate. 1015: Again, accretion is not the only process occurring that affects wetland elevation. Belowground production and decomposition also drive elevation. 1020: What is f? 1023: State that E(t) is GSLR prior to referencing the other equations. 1018-1024: I would not present an equation (Eqn. 9) here; it is too easily pulled out as a fact. It is a faulty concept to set Vertical Accretion (or Surface Elevation Change) equal to GSLR or RSLR. I would mention that ideally surface elevation keeps pace with RSLR. 1027: I find this model (equation) to be more representative of a sediment driven system than organicsedimentation directly related to flooding. 1033: The CRMS analytical group has developed a Submergence Vulnerability Index that does just that (see figure below). Note that the primary metric is elevation change and that the accretion data comes into play in the calculation of shallow subsidence (Accretion rate elevation change rate). The Site RSLR = calculated shallow subsidence from each site + an estimate of deep subsidence which for us is Kulp + ESLR (3.1 mm/yr until we get a better number). We are considering accelerating the Site RSLR. Initial water elevation for the hydrologic threshold is the first and third quartile of 5 years of hydro data from each site and initial marsh elevation is the marsh elevation survey from construction. This has been worked up by LA Sharp and Camille Stagg along with Greg Steyer and Sarai Piazza and will be published as a framework document in a USGS publication. We need to get on the same page as far as terminology and theory are concerned. I will send it to you for review when it is ready.

Simultaneous linear model used to generate SVI scores

1041: pull out team particulars. Ex. A good example of a methodology for predicting marsh vertical accretion from the Southwest Coastal Feasibility Sturdy established a 7 mm/yr (0.28 inches/yr.) threshold under which wetland vegetation will continue accreting organic matter (see A-33

Appendix C). 1045: A note on appendix C. The paper deals specifically with accretion and they mean accretion, not elevation change. There are notes in the paper that highlight this point on lines 1901 and 1911. Review Cahoon 2006. 1047: add of land or water b/n grid and (. 1090: Again, accretion is part of subsidence. The sentence should read Rates of surface elevation change which include vertical accretion and shallow subsidence should be included 1096: This statement is not true. You really didnt give guidance on how to determine or include subsidence. How are people supposed to use Figure 28? The range is so large that there is no real useable number. The minimum is too low, the maximum is too high and the midpoint is too high. The CRMS analytical team recommends using a regional estimate of shallow subsidence and a useable estimate of deep subsidence. Perhaps the outliers could be identified as points for planning so that the other rates could be smaller with shorter ranges. Kulp gives rates of subsidence since the Holocene that represent distinct, small ranges. The points on the figure below are CRMS sites. Recall, RSLR = Shallow subsidence + Deep Subsidence + GSLR.

Figure 4. Regional deep geologic subsidence rates derived by Kulp (2000). As for what rates of Shallow Subsidence to use (Recall Shallow subsidence = Vertical Accretion rate Elevation Change Rate), I would recommend the best literature value available for the area OR CRMS data. We dont recommend using accretion or elevation change rates calculated over short durations but there will be enough CRMS data (5 years) for calculation of elevation change, accretion, and shallow subsidence at the end of this year. Also, your review of RSLR tide gauge data at line 893 does not explicitly dissuade planners from just tacking on the RSLR rate from tide gauges to the end of the equation. Since shallow subsidence, deep subsidence, and GSLR are part of the RSLR rate from tide gauges, using that rate would count GSLR twice. It is not clear what people are meant to do with those values. 1112: Until the referenced data is authorized for use, I think you should use the average rate of historic SLR for the coast (3.1?). Essentially you are recommending a very precise rate to be A-34

accelerated and then later adding a very imprecise subsidence rate. The uncertainty in the subsidence number negates the necessity of getting so specific on the historic rate. Also there is not a good way to get a specific rate nearshore along the coast as the Figure 16 data is preliminary and un-vetted. 1120: Add something here to address remaining consistent with the COE guidance; this would demonstrate cooperation rather than just conflict. 1124: Where does Eqn 9 come in? (see 1018-1024 above) 1130: Step 4 is lacking key elements. More goes into determining persistence of a coastal wetland surface elevation relative to water elevation than SLR and subsidence. Factors such as starting surface elevation and water level elevations are critical to forecasting persistence or drowning into the future (see SVI discussion above). Also, surface elevation dynamics are very dynamic and change based on surface elevation relative to the water prism (relation to mean high and low waters); therefore, long-term projections are not suggested. Appd D: Good tutorial (except for step 4). 2120: Marsh vertical accretion is not essentially local coastal elevation at the coarseness of subsidence that you have suggested. There are many more moving parts here than described. A key component that has been missing (not only in step 4, but in the entire document) is the starting marsh surface elevation relative to water level. This single component is highly variable across and intersecting the coast in its own right, and it exceptionally variable within the context of the SLR, subsidence, and surface elevation change rates being discussed. Starting marsh surface and water prism elevation is the starting point of the SVI developed for CRMS. I really think both of our groups would benefit from a meeting. I have offered to come over and go through the CRMS accretion and elevation change data with the LACES group and the offer stands. I have tools for calculating the actual rates of elevation change, accretion, and shallow subsidence from the CRMS data and think we should all understand the inter-workings of the data and be unified in our terminology, particularly when the Submergence Vulnerability Index (SVI) goes live later this year. The SVI will provide values online that planners can plug into their models but we need to make sure they understand which to use and how to apply it. Feel free to give me a call to set something up. Leigh Anne Sharp Coastal Resources Scientist Supervisor Lafayette Field Office 337.482.0659 (Office) 337.278.0830 (Cell) leighanne.sharp@la.gov

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Authors Response: Thank you for your detailed review of the technical report. Addressing your comments above: General Comments The executive summary has been revised accordingly. The report has been revised accordingly. We welcome the opportunity to collaborate on these issues in the future. We welcome the review whenever possible.

Specific Comments; Line 143: We feel that full citations in support of this statement in the Introduction is unnecessary the rest of the technical report is dedicated to full discussion of that material. Line 153-171: We disagree. Line 191-199: While the use of eustatic specific to the portion of global sea-level rise was consistent with a report from Jevrejeva et al, we recognize that the term has more widespread usage as equivalent to global SLR. Accordingly, we have revised the text to specify mass change as a replacement term. Line 518: Appendix B more clearly describes the differences between our recommendations and those of the US Army Corps of Engineers recommendations as outlined in the relevant 2009 and 2011 Engineering Circulars. Line 605, 657: See the response to the USGS comment on Figure 16, above. However, that figure has also now been published as contributing information in Appendix C of the 2012 revised State Master Plan. Line 831: A reference to the appropriate equation has been added. Line 842: The Master Plan Moderate Condition scenario assumes a global SLR of 0.5 meters by 2100, which is the lower bound of our recommendations, and the Less Optimistic Condition scenario assumes a global SLR of 1 meter by 2100, which is our primary recommendation. Line 874: We redefined the terms as suggested. Line 963: This portion of the discussion is intended to refer solely to the relative upward or downward movement of the underlying geological platform. We have revised our text accordingly.

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Line 993: We have corrected the text accordingly. Line 1009: We dont fully agree. In this set of recommendations we are defining the rate of water surface elevation change (GSLR for lack of a better term) and subsidence to reference the two primary processes leading to a relative decline in the marsh surface elevation, as the driver for the organic matter production response of the marsh vegetation that maintains the relative position of the surface of the marsh within the tidal frame. As defined, eg. by Nyman et al 2006, while this includes mineral matter accretion on the surface of the marsh when a source of that material is present, in a microtidal and largely sediment-starved environment like coastal Louisiana, that is primarily organic, via adventitious and surface root generation, as well as new production of belowground roots that helps increase the surface elevation of the marsh from the bottom up. Surface elevation change is not the parameter of interest of section 2.4.2 and step 4 of these recommendations; surface elevation is the target end calculation. Line 1015: See response to Line 1009 above. We have not attempted at this point to attempt to estimate wetland organic matter decomposition and the resulting loss of marsh surface elevation that results. Line 1020: F in this case was used as mathematical shorthand for function of. However, that information has been removed to clarify the discussion. Line 1023: The variable description has been added to the equation. Line 1018-1024: It is not our intention in this expression to show vertical accretion absolutely equal to relative SLR, which is why equation 9 stated that MVA is a function of RSLR. In the text we explain that for most species observed, the rate of plant vertical accretion (organic matter only, as defined above) is variable and to a point dependent on the rate of RSLR (the current state of wetland predictive modeling as a component of SLR modeling is replete with this information), but admittedly only to a threshold value. That is the basis of the 7 mm / yr benchmark used by the Southwest Coastal project delivery team as described in Appendix C. Line 1027: We disagree, given the definition of MVA discussed above. Line 1033: We have attempted in this document to describe that while accounting for marsh accretion is critical in realistically predicting future sea level rise impacts, and specifically in order to avoid overly pessimistic future scenarios. Along those lines we have described one model by which marsh organic matter accretion can be brought into consideration, that being the accretion threshold definition approach that was used for the Southwest Coastal Feasibility Study (Appendix C). Others, such as the accretionary process model used for the Master Plan, was not ready for incorporation into this set of recommendations as they were being drafted. As described in your comments, the CRMS Analytical Teams SVI approach may represent a third, although it was well does not sound appropriate for full usage at this time. Consideration of that approach will require future technical review beyond the CRMS Analytical Team prior to adoption. We look forward with working with both groups to find the most appropriate model for accounting for the mechanisms allowing positive surface elevation change in the future.

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Line 1041: Were unsure why this material would need to be pulled out. The documentation in Appendix C was generated specifically for the Southwest Coastal Feasibility Study, and has received buy-in from the State and at least the New Orleans District Office of the USACE. It is, for now, the only project that has attempted to account for marsh organic matter vertical accretion in its predictive modeling. (Note that at the time of the drafting of the report the full documentation of the Master Plan modeling). Line 1045: This comment agrees with our position that our recommendation on this matter is restricted to marsh vertical accretion. Line 1047: The suggested text has been added. Line 1090: We disagree. See replies above. Line 1096: We agree that the ranges shown in Figure 28 are excessively large. However, while we explore the issue of how best to account for subsidence, our advociating for the use of this figure is consistent with the approach that was used by the analytical teams pursuing the 2012 revised Master Plan. That consistency extends to the recommendation at this time of also specifically using a value 20% into the range of each Figure 28 polygon as used in the Master Plan for the Moderate scenario. Kulp is one set of information that we have available, but it is unfortunately not the only dataset predicting subsidence rates. We intend to work with a full set of partners to further develop our predictive understanding of subsidence in order to best account for this factor in the future. That may include CRMS data, once a full examination of the available data is available. As you mentioned, there has been a hesitancy to use the CRMS elevation data because of the short time for which data is available. As that temporal coverage increases we will most certainly use that data to its fullest appropriate extent. Line 1112: We have removed figure 16 and the accompanying recommendation to use a spatially-variable historical Gulf sea-level rise rate due to implementation difficulties identified during internal CPRA discussions. However, we have taken the position that a Gulf-specific rate of SLR is more appropriate than application of the overall historical global rate of SLR, and have developed text and data in the report to establish that rationale. Please see section 2.2.2 of the revised report. Line 1120: Much of the reason why we began the development of this report was the recognition that the recommendations by the US Army Corps for addressing SLR, as defined in the 2009 and 2011 ECs, was quite simply inappropriate for coastal Louisiana. We would point to Appendix B for a more thorough review of that criticism than we can reasonably provide here. Interestingly, conversations by multiple CPRA staff with Corps counterparts indicate that the Corps likewise recognizes the limitations in applying the EC to coastal Louisiana. We fully intend on working with the Corps in whatever capacity they prefer to address those limitations and find a common but robust approach to the matter. We would hope that the information in this technical report and the resulting recommendations that we have made would form a more reasonable starting point for that conversation.

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Line 1124: The specific use of equation 9 is not necessary because it states that MVA is a function of RSLR, but does not establish a specific mathematical relationship. However, we have added reference to that equation to clarify the discussion. Line 1130: While we agree that step 4 itself is lacking key elements, some of those are specific to the exact planning or design step being undertaken for a specific protection or restoration project. However, these steps are necessary because of the mandate for newer projects (beyond the CWPPRA historical process) to model project effects to +50 years. Thus we feel strongly that long-term projections of all the functions in these recommendations are necessary. Appd D: See discussion above regarding step 4. Line 2120: See discussion above.

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Comments from Scott Eustis, Gulf Restoration Network, Received 7 March 2012

7 March 2012 Kristin DeMarco Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority of Louisiana 450 Laurel Street, Suite 1200 Baton Rouge, LA 70804-4027 ATTN: LACES SLR Comments RE: DRAFT Recommendations for Anticipating Sea-level rise impacts on Louisiana Coastal Resources during Project Planning and Design. Ms. DeMarco, LACES, I am writing on behalf of the Gulf Restoration Network (GRN), a diverse coalition of individual citizens and local, regional, and national organizations committed to uniting and empowering people to protect and restore the resources of the Gulf of Mexico. We have strong concerns that the LACES technical report (the report) is shying away from the uncomfortable truth that anthropogenic climate change is threatening would-be gains of CPRAs coastal restoration program, including the 2012 draft comprehensive master plan. The LACES report should recommend CPRA staff consider an upper bound to Global Sea Level Rise of 1.9 meters by 2100. Because half of the studies cited as guidance for the LACES sea level rise projections exceed 1.5 meters, LACES should recommend an upper bound of 1.9 meters for managers and planners, as a worst-case or least optimistic scenario. An upper bound of 1.9 meters (6.2) is consistent with other optimistic modeling scenarios and educational efforts focused on Southeastern Louisiana, and consistent with the upper bound projection of a recent Sea-level rise publication that correlated very closely with the observed data.1 This particular study is one that a recent SLAMM model from NWF takes as a basis for modeling the marsh response to Sea-level rise. The SLAMM analysis, like LACES recommends, takes local subsidence and marsh accretion into account in its analysis of habitat change.
1 Vermeer, M. S., & S. Rahmstorf. (2009). Global sea level linked to global temperature. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106: 2 1527-2153

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Glick, 2011. Sea-level rise scenarios examined for Southeastern Louisiana. Most Likely scenario is near the current upper bound currently recommended by the report. The reports lower boundary, 0.5 m, is only considered part of a Rapid Stabilization scenario.

Figure from http://wh.er.usgs.gov/slr/sealevelrise.html. Cited in the LACES technical report and the NWF SLAMM modeling effort. A worst-case of 1.9 meters would also be in line with common NOAA educational materials, which show sea level rise to 6 feet 2 or a bit less than 1.9 meters.3
2 NOAA, Sea Level Rise Visualisation for Gulf Coast. http://gom.usgs.gov/slr/index.html

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The current upper-bound scenario is closer to what is considered most likely by more up-todate publications and reports. The current range of 0.5 1.5 m does not reflect LACES review of the literature, and fails to cover a range of scenarios presented by different studies referenced. Rather than choosing bounds based on results of confidence intervals of a particularly optimistic study, the LACES recommendations should seek to cover a range of scenarios. Furthermore, all projections assume a range of different fossil fuel emissions scenarios. To date, the older projections have been made assuming that the fossil fuel use would stabilize or decline, and even decline rapidly. Later publications all show higher upper bounds. As the regulatory agencies stall, and global governance fails to lead the world toward a rapid stabilization of the climate, we can expect that the studies upper bounds will continue to rise.4 If the purpose of the document is to inform managers and planning staff of likely implications of Sea- level rise, it would be best to have managers hope for the best, but prepare for the worst. LACES has hoped for the best, in its recommendation of lower bound that assumes a Rapid Stabilization of the climate. LACES should recommend managers and planners prepare for the worst by increasing its recommended upper bound of GSLR to 1.9 m. ADCIRC models should account for increasing storm frequency and intensity Climate change, among many other things, is also increasing storm frequency, which is relevant to CPRAs planning efforts. Different climate scenarios for storm surge are being incorporated into storm surge models by scientists for other states,5 and Louisiana should keep pace. Attached is a copy of a very recent study that outlines a methodology for incorporating different climate scenarios into storm surge modeling. We look forward to a response to these comments. Thanks for your consideration. Please contact me for copies of any reports or papers referenced herein. For a Healthy Gulf, Scott Eustis, Coastal Wetland Specialist, Gulf Restoration Network Cc: Matt Rota, Gulf Restoration Network
Sea-level Rise and Coastal Habitats in Southeastern Louisiana (SLAMM). Draft Technical Report, July 2011, NWF. Presented by Patty Glick for GOMA in New Orleans, August 2011 presentation accessed Feb 2012 4 Id. P.9 5 Physically based assessment of hurricane surge threat under climate change. Ning Lin, Kerry Emanuel, Michael Oppenheimer & Erik Vanmarcke Nature Climate Change (2012) doi:10.1038/nclimate1389 3

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Authors Response: Thank you for your attention to our report. As stated in our response to comments from USGS, we disagree with the need to account for a 2meter rise in sea level by 2100 as the upper bound of our recommendations. The justification for a 2-meter scenario is highly dependent on a significant increase in global temperature by 2100 and the attendant impacts on global glaciers and ice sheets. Our review of the information available during the preparation of this report illustrated a significant amount of uncertainty on both fronts, and especially on the latter issue of ice sheet melt and eustatic contribution. We acknowledge in the report that some may feel our range and centerline recommendation are conservative, and we hold open the option of revising our recommendations upward if the state of the science on climate change and ice sheet dynamics warrants such action. However, our present recommendations also remain consistent with both the same high bound on global SLR as the 2012 revised Coastal Master Plan as well as that of the Army Corps of Engineers in their 2009 and 2011 Engineering Circulars. Thank you for the attached article by Lin et al. While the specific application of climate change scenarios to storm surge modeling is beyond the scope of this report, we will be certain to incorporate it into State technical efforts where appropriate.

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Appendix B: CPRA-LACES Technical Issues with the US Army Corps of Engineers Engineering Circular No. 1165-2-211 Please note that this appendix was drafted prior to the release of EC 1165-2-212 in 2011, that updated EC 11665-2-211. The only substantive change from USACE 2009 to USACE 2011 was a directive to change the start date of analysis of future scenarios from 1987 as outlined in NRC (1987) to 1992. As such, the commentary on EC 1165-2-211 developed for this appendix applies to USACE 2011 with no significant changes. References to updated ECs will be corrected in the next iteration of this report. The US Army Corps of Engineers released Engineering Circular (EC) 1165-2-211 on 1 July 2009 to guide Corps staff on how to account for local relative sea-level rise in water resource project planning and engineering. The recommendations in this report have been proposed because we recognize that there are several significant technical issues, with the EC that limit its use in southern Louisiana. While the EC is not a mandate per se for non-Corps entities such as the State to use during project implementation, it does become a required component of any water resources project for which the State is the local sponsor because it is Corps internal policy. While there is a requirement in the EC for Corps staff to account for specific RSLR scenarios in project planning, there is the flexibility for the local sponsor to add other scenarios for consideration. The four-step process of accounting for RSLR described in this document represents such an alternative and, if adopted, internal CPRA policy. The EC process begins in Step 2 (page C1 of USACE 2009) by looking for local tide gauges that can serve as a data source for RSLR calculations. The EC requires that tide gauges are appropriate when the data period of record is greater than forty years, for the reasons of excessive confidence intervals with shorter data records discussed in Section 2.1.1. There are only two NOAA tide gauges that have that period of record, the Grand Isle (NOAA Station ID #8761724) and Sabine Pass North (NOAA Station ID #8770570) gauges. RSLR can be mathematically represented as E(t) = a*t + b*t2 + S*t (Eqn. B1)

where E(t) is MSL at time t, a is the observed rate of GSLR, b is the acceleration constant, and S is rate of subsidence (or uplift in areas of glacial rebound). For the Grand Isle gauge, NOAAs calculation of RSLR for the time period 1947-2006 was 9.24 0.59 mm/yr (Zervas 2009). Referencing the variables in Eqn. 6, the 9.24 mm/yr rate of RSLR is equal to (a + S), the linear rate of GSLR plus the subsidence function, with no acceleration constant because of the linear definition and no marsh vertical accretion function because the gauge is in open water. With this information it appears that we pass EC's step 2 and proceed to step 4, where it must be decided if the "... long-term gauges can be used ... [to] represent local ... conditions at [the] project site." Steps 4 and 5 essentially seek to establish if the physical gauge location is A-45

representative of the project location, which for coastal Louisiana would imply that the Sabine Pass North gauge is representative of the Chenier Plain and the Grand Isle gauge is representative of the Mississippi River Deltaic Plain. If we assume yes to both, we are then asked in Step 8 if there is a stable geologic platform within the same region as the project site. Our recommendation is that no, data from these two specific gauges in Louisiana cannot be used to characterize conditions throughout the Chenier and Delta Plains, because of the high degree of variability in subsidence rates illustrated in Figures 23 and 24 of the Technical Report. Fallback answers on the decision points of the EC are to "Consult with a tidal hydrodynamics expert." The implication of this is that the geological complexities of coastal Louisiana render the EC approach to predicting SLR unusable. If for arguments sake we do to accept that the two gauges at Grand Isle and Sabine Pass are appropriate representatives for the Delta and Chenier Plains, respectively, the EC then instructs mathematically estimating subsidence by subtracting GSLR from the RSLR gauge record. To determine the rate of subsidence, the EC instructs an assumption that GSLR is a constant linear rate of 1.7 mm/yr, which was the overall linear rate of GSLR for the 20th century defined by Church & White (2006). Subtraction of the linear GSLR function of 1.7 mm/yr from the linear RSLR function of 9.24 mm/yr gives an assumed constant rate of subsidence at the gauge of 7.5 mm/yr. The first technical concern with the EC approach involves the determination of subsidence from the RSLR tide gauge data by subtraction of the linear rate of GSLR for the 20th century, and specifically the problem that there are two linear curves being compared even though they represent different time periods (1900-2000 for GSLR, 1947-2006 for RSLR). Examination of the Church & White (2006) dataset shows that while the overall GSLR rate for the 20th century was calculated at 1.7 0.3 mm/yr, there are two evident curves of different slope embedded in the overall 1870-2001 graph, with the 1936-2001 time period having a linear GSLR rate of 1.84 0.19 mm/yr. This discrepancy reiterates the importance we discussed in the main report of understanding the period of record of the SLR data. Data should only be compared where there is direct temporal overlap, which in the case of the Church & White vs. Grand Isle gauge data would be the time period 1947-2001, because there is no reason to expect that the actual slope of either line for the restricted time period would be equal to the slopes for either GSLR or RSLR for their full periods of record. To illustrate the difference, while the subtraction using the EC gave an assumption of 7.5 mm/yr as described above, comparison of more comparable data for the rate of RSLR for the Grand Isle tide gauge of 9.85 0.35 mm/yr (1947-1999; Zervas 2001) and GSLR for 1936-2001 equal to 1.84 0.19 mm/yr gives the difference of 8.01 mm/yr, which by the EC would be the assumed subsidence rate. The implication here is a potential miscalculation of the rate of subsidence that will be carried out into the project lifespan planning horizon because of the assumption that subsidence will remain constant. Although the difference is minor, this example is illustrative only, since a direct comparison of 1947-2001 data is needed and the results would be expected to likewise differ. The next technical concern, however, is the assumption that the 20th century mean rate of GSLR is appropriate to compare with the tide gauge data. Specifically, both tide gauge and more recent A-46

satellite altimetry data indicate that the present rate of GSLR has accelerated beyond the 20thcentury rates determined by Church & White (2006). As shown in Figure 7 of the main report, the present linear rate of GSLR from the satellite altimetry data is 2.9 mm/yr for the 1992-2010 period of record. The EC does not advise using data with periods of record shorter than 40 years, though it does say that

If estimates based on shorter terms are the only option, then the local trends must be viewed in a regional context, considering trends from simultaneous time periods from nearby stations to ensure regional correlation and to minimize anomalous estimates. The nearby stations should have long enough records (greater than 40 years) to determine reasonable trends, which can then be compared to the shorter, local sea-level records USACE 2009, Page B-4 This leaves pursuing projects in coastal Louisiana in a conundrum. If faith is placed in the global data showing an acceleration of the rate of GSLR during the past two decades, continuing to use the lower long-term GSLR rate will result in a difference calculation of subsidence that is probably greater than in reality. In the case of Church & White (2006) vs. satellite altimetry data, that difference would be as much as 1.2 mm/yr. The other option is to use adjacent gauges with longer-term data, but that option is of little use in southern Louisiana because of the recognition that there are very evident spatial differences in both observed SLR and subsidence (Figure 24). Not using current estimates of the rate of GSLR also will underestimate future MSL in EC scenarios because the acceleration scenarios (b in Equation B1) are applied to the base rate of GSLR. Admittedly, some of these differences in calculated subsidence rates and magnitudes when carried out over a typical 50-year project life span are of questionable ecological or engineering significance. The underlying philosophical question is whether we accept a process that gets to a number thats close enough even though we recognize that the mathematics behind the calculations are flawed. However, the discussion to this point presupposes that continued use of a linear function for either GSLR or the tide gauge RSLR is appropriate. The remaining two technical issues have much more of a potential for significant differences in calculated depths of RSLR. The fact that the rate of GSLR has consistently increased across discrete periods of time between 1870 and 2010 suggests that even the historical rates of GSLR need to be assigned a non-linear function instead of a linear function. The data were not available as of the writing of this version of the report to discuss the difference in fit between a linear and exponential function for the RSLR tide gauge data at Grand Isle. Visual examination of the data, however, does suggest a more linear response than that shown for GSLR. This has extremely important implications because evidence of a more exponential GSLR rate and a more linear RSLR rate means that there is no mathematical possibility for subsidence to have been historically constant. In fact, if we retain subsidence defined as the difference between RSLR and GSLR, subsidence must have decreased during the period of record. This is in agreement with recent data from Morton et al. (2009) which suggests that reduced subsurface fluid withdrawal in the recent past compared to A-47

the 1950s-1970s may be leading to declining rates of subsidence. The assumption in the EC of a constant, subtraction-based calculation of subsidence rate carrying into the future then becomes invalid. Subsidence would decline over time, and the EC process would substantially overpredict RSLR for the projects period of analysis. While on the issue of subsidence, it is also a concern that the EC says to assume the subsidence rate calculated as discussed above across the entire coastal area for which the specific tide gauge is representative. Even with its existing limitations, Figure 27 of the main report illustrates our current understanding that subsidence varies across Louisianas coastal zone, and that using the Grand Isle gauge to represent the deltaic plain and the Sabine Pass North gauge to represent the Chenier Plain is unrealistic. Any attempt to remove the subsidence calculations from the EC process and replace that data with a more spatially-explicit estimation of coastal zone subsidence pushes any SLR analysis closer to our recommendations. The final technical issue is concern over the future sea-level rise scenarios that are mandated in the EC process. Specifically, the EC requires that three future scenarios be examined: A continuation of the current linear rate of RSLR at the tide gauge for the project period of study (50 years), defined as the Low Scenario; An accelerated rate of SLR over the period of study, defined by the NRC (1987) Scenario I curve, which uses the acceleration constant of 2.36 x 10-5 mm/yr2 to accomplish a 0.5-meter rise in SLR by 2100, defined as the Intermediate Scenario; and An accelerated rate of SLR over the period of study, defined by the NRC (1987) Scenario III curve, which uses the acceleration constant of 1.005 x 10-4 mm/yr2 to accomplish a 0.5-meter rise in SLR by 2100, defined as the High Scenario.

As discussed in the main report, there is a strong argument for a non-linear (i.e. accelerating) trend for present and predicted future SLR. Although the argument has been made that consideration of the Low Scenario only increases the range of potential outcomes studied, with such a low probability for this scenario any attempt to model a future linear rate is a questionable use of limited time and financial resources. For planning and design scenarios we believe the NRC I curve to be the most appropriate low value for the future. Our recommendation in the main document was to plan for a 1-meter rise in MSL by 2100, based on the general consensus of the scientific literature. This is not one of the standard scenarios listed in the EC. Bracketing an analysis of SLR with the NRC (1987)-based acceleration constants for a 0.5- and 1.5-meter rise in MSL by 2100 does not allow us to estimate the impacts of a 1-meter GSLR unless the slope of the landscape is constant, which it is not. The EC does stipulate that The analysis may also include additional intermediate rates, if the project team desires. In joint state-Corps projects LACES and CPRA should require analyzing the 1meter projection of MSL increase by 2100. However, given the discussion above regarding the EC calculation and assumption of a linear subsidence rate, we recommend that CPRA only push for a 1-m SLR scenario using the 4-step process described in this report.

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Appendix C: Draft Southwest Coastal Feasibility Study, Wetland Accretion Summary VERTICAL SOIL ACCRETION ESTIMATES IN LOUISIANA MARSHES Background Coastal marshes can adjust vertically and maintain a dynamic equilibrium with Relative Sea Level Rise (RLSR) up to a certain rate (Morris et al. 2002). This active adjustment, to a great degree, is controlled by organic matter production and mineral sediment deposition (Turner et al. 2001, Nyman et al. 2006). While erosion with tides can remove surface detritus from the marsh, a large proportion of the organic matter storage that helps maintain the vertical elevation of the soil can be linked to belowground root production. Along the gulf coast, soil organic matter accumulation controls vertical accretion of the marsh, and mineral matter contributes less to the process of vertical adjustment. This is because organic matter occupies more than twice the volume of an equivalent mass of mineral matter (clay, silt, sand). Louisianas mature marshes (outside of the active deltas) rely on organic matter accumulation, through plant production, to adjust to relative sea level rise. Soil organic matter can be preserved or lost by reducing or oxidizing soil conditions. Persistent saturation favors long-term organic matter storage, while drought and moisture loss can cause oxidation, resulting in soil elevation loss. Thus, for coastal wetlands, long-term soil elevation is in a dynamic equilibrium with water-level variation. Also, there is an optimum elevation where plant production, organic storage, and soil elevation gain is optimized. A marsh at a high elevation in the tidal frame may have high plant production but organic matter oxidation is high, resulting in a static soil elevation. The converse situation, where marsh elevation is low and inundation is severe, plant production and organic matter accumulation are impaired. While these general relationships are recognized, quantitative relationships of soil elevation, hydrology, and plant production have not been fully developed for Louisiana wetlands. The purpose of this technical memorandum is to review the data pertaining to wetland vertical accretion in Louisiana to support the development of future landscape projections with sea-level rise. One of our objectives is to contrast geographic and coast-wide accretion patterns, but another objective is to understand the capacity of herbaceous coastal wetlands to accrete regardless of geography. Understanding the upper limit of wetland accretion is important since there is substantial sea level rise anticipated with a future coastal landscape. Data synthesis and results Most of the work done in Louisianas coastal marshes to understand longer-term (since 1963) accretion processes has been done using 137Cs. Shorter-term estimates of accretion use feldspar marker horizons placed on the soil and cored over time to measure the vertical accumulation of sediments. The marker horizon measurements can be coupled with vertical elevation measurements with a Rod Surface Elevation Table (RSET) to understand how much surface compaction occurs over time. Our goal here is to see if general patterns of accretion emerge between marsh types and provinces and provide suggestions for consideration. Here we present A-49

four tables of data summarized from various sources. Longer- term, coast-wide patterns, Cesium 137 (Table C1): This is a comparison of delta and Chenier Plain accretion estimates from Nyman et al. (2006), which comprises some of his work with colleagues R. DeLaune and W. Patrick; they present information from 68 cores. Also in Table 1, Turner et al. 2000 present research in salt marshes of the Delta Plain with data from 52 cores. A study was led by USGS (Piazza et al. in press) that analyzed 48 cores from the Delta and Chenier Plain following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.
Table C1. Long-term accretion estimates (137Cs) from different marsh types in the Chenier and Delta Plains from different studies with large numbers of samples. (DP=Delta Plain; CP=Chenier Plain).

Marsh type Nyman et al. 2006 Stable fresh brackish salt Deteriorating brackish salt Turner et al. 2001 salt Piazza et al. in press fresh brackish salt fresh brackish brackish mean median

Province Hydrology

Cores (n)

Accretion rate cm yr-1

DP/CP DP/CP DP DP/CP DP

14 12 12 8 22

0.82 (0.15) 0.88 (0.14) 0.59 (0.14) 0.96 (0.32) 0.98 (0.36)

DP

52

0.66 (0.21)

DP DP DP CP CP CP

natural natural natural natural natural impounded

15 5 10 5 3 10

0.57 (0.13) 0.72 (0.14) 0.64 (0.16) 0.57 (0.25) 0.65 (0.23) 0.38 (0.04) 0.70 0.66

1) Mean estimates of accretion average 0.70.2 cm yr-1 and fall within a range of 0.38-0.98 cm yr-1 regardless of marsh type or province. 2) There is coherence of salt marsh accretion in the Delta Plain regardless of study: 0.590.14 cm yr-1 (n=12, Nyman et al. 2006, from stable marshes) 0.660.21 cm yr-1 (n=52; Turner et al.) A-50

0.640.16 cm yr-1 (n=10; Piazza et al. in press) 3) In the Delta Plain, deteriorating salt marshes exhibit higher rates of accretion (0.980.36 cm yr-1) than stable salt marshes (0.59 0.14 cm yr-1) (see Nyman et al. 2006). 4) Mean estimates of accretion have error terms of 0.15-0.3 cm yr-1. Thus, any comparison of mean accretion among marsh type or province is not likely to be considered significantly different enough to warrant separation. 5) Fresh marshes have the capacity to accrete at equal or higher rates than salt marshes, regardless of geological province (individual estimates of fresh or salt marshes accreting at 1.0 cm yr-1 are not uncommon).
6) In the Chenier Plain, data from Piazza et al. in press suggest that accretion could be significantly lower for impounded marshes; this needs further investigation (see Table 3).

Longer-term, coast-wide patterns, Cesium 137 (Table 2): Jarvis (2010) assembled a literature review of accretion estimates of streamside and interior marshes where available. The Jarvis (2010) summary presented estimates from various radiometric and physical measurement techniques, but only the 137Cs estimates are used here.
Table C2. Long-term accretion estimates (137Cs) from different marsh types and habitats (interior vs. streamside). Compiled by Jarvis (2010).
Marsh type F I B S F S S F S S S F S S B I 0.56 (0.11) 0.78 0.78 0.65 1.1 1.1 Interior marsh accretion rate (cm yr-1) 0.65 0.64 0.59 0.75 0.90 (0.10) 0.75 0.47 (0.09) 0.65 (0.18) 0.66 0.48 (0.09) 2.26 (0.09) >1.59 0.67 (0.49) 0.80 (0.17) 0.57 (0.10) 1.35 Streamside marsh accretion rate (cm yr-1) 1.06 1.35 1.40 1.35 0.99 (0.17) 1.10, 1.35 0.68 (0.17)

Province Delta Delta Delta Delta Delta Delta Delta Delta Delta Delta Delta Delta Delta Delta Chenier Chenier

Site Name Barataria B. Barataria B. Barataria B. Barataria B. Palmetto B. Barataria Lafourche P. Breton Sound Fourleague B. Old Oyster B. B. Chitigue Delta NWR Barataria B. Breton Sound Cameron P. Calcasieu L. mean median

Source
Hatton et al. 1983 Hatton et al. 1983 Hatton et al. 1983 Hatton et al. 1983 DeLaune et al. 19891 DeLaune et al. 19781 DeLaune et al. 19891 DeLaune and Pezeshki 20031 Baumann et al. 1984 Rybczyck and Cahoon 2002 Rybczyck and Cahoon 2002 Wilson and Allison 2008 Wilson and Allison 2008 Wilson and Allison 2008 DeLaune et al. 19891 DeLaune et al. 19831

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1) A consistent accretion pattern is detectable with streamside greater than interior marsh. 2) For interior marshes, mean and median accretion rates were 0.78 and 0.65 cm yr-1, respectively. Longer-term, Chenier Plain patterns, Cesium 137 (Table 3): Steyer (2008) summarized Chenier Plain accretion studies and made comparisons among and impounded and un-impounded (open) sites. He also examined how accretion may vary with distance inland from the Gulf of Mexico in the areas of Sabine basin and Rockefeller WMA.
Table C3. A comparison of ranges of long-term accretion estimates (137Cs) from impounded and unimpounded brackish marsh sites in the Chenier Plain (summarized in Steyer 2008).
Hydrology Impounded accretion rate cm yr
-1

Un-impounded accretion rate cm yr


-1

Source

0.33-0.64 0.31-0.38 0.16-0.38 0.31-0.60

0.27-0.58 0.46-0.54 0.28-0.35 0.26-0.50

Foret 1997 Foret 2001 Phillips 2002 Steyer 2008

1) Impounded and un-impounded marshes have the capacity to accrete up to 0.6 cm yr-1 in the Chenier Plain. 2) Sabine Basin: Steyer (2008) concluded accretion in the Sabine basin was significantly greater in un-impounded (0.510.05 cm yr-1) than impounded (0.360.02 cm yr-1) marsh. However, along a gradient inland from the coast (0-8 km) there was no discernible difference in accretion rate. 3) Rockefeller WMA: The opposite was true of the Rockefeller study area, where Steyer (2008) found a significant effect of distance inland on accretion which was highest close to the gulf (0.7-0.8 cm yr-1) and decreased (0.4-0.5 cm yr-1) 8 km inland. The impoundments only occurred far inland so that impoundment effects could not be adequately evaluated. Shorter-term, Chenier Plain patterns, marker horizon accretion (Table 4): This is a statistical summary of accretion (using feldspar), vertical elevation change, and subsidence rates measured through 2010 at more than 120 Coast-wide Reference Monitoring Stations in Southwest Louisiana. These CRMS data are available at www.lacoast.com/crms_viewer and were compiled by Tommy McGinnis, OCPR Lafayette Field Office. 1) Examining the recent CRMS data, mean vertical accretion among marsh types range from 0.68 to 1.01 cm yr-1. 2) Mean elevation change among these wetlands is less than 0.65 cm yr-1. 3) If we integrate all marsh types together, the mean accretion, elevation change, and A-52

Table C4. Summary statistics of recent elevation change data from the Coast-wide Reference Monitoring Stations (CRMS) in freshwater (F), intermediate (I), brackish (B) and salt (S) marshes in the Chenier Plain. Some stations have different record lengths, and the data are representative of conditions through the year 2010 (Data compiled from www.lacoast.com/crms_viewer by T. McGinnis, OCPR Lafayette field office). Subsidence (cm/yr.)
100 0.39 0.45 1.70

(ft., NAVD88)

Accretion (cm/yr.)
101 0.89 0.83 1.61

Marsh Elevation (ft., NAVD88) Marsh type


# stations mean median std deviation

Vertical Accretion (cm/yr.) S


9

Elevation Change (cm/yr.) F


20

Subsidence (cm/yr.) S
9

F
20

I
53

B
44

F
16

I
39

B
39

S
7

I
49

B
44

F
16

I
38

B
39

S
7

All marsh types combined


126 122

1.12

1.21

1.31

1.24

1.01

1.06

0.68

0.80

0.00

0.58

0.30

0.65

0.65

0.43

0.29

0.19

1.23

1.12

1.24

1.36

1.27

0.89

1.03

0.76

1.12

-0.01

0.58

0.38

0.66

0.38

0.42

0.46

0.58

1.27

0.53

0.52

0.34

0.40

1.08

2.30

0.93

0.76

1.79

1.26

0.68

0.73

1.32

2.40

1.01

1.01

0.46

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change (cm/yr.)
0.39 0.50 1.17

subsidence rates are 0.89, 0.39, and 0.39 cm yr-1, respectively. 4) Shallow subsidence is an important process that affects surface elevation adjustment of Chenier Plain wetlands. General Conclusions The 137Cs dating technique is well accepted and has been used across the coast. The method is particularly useful for understanding the upper limits of vertical accretion and estimating the relative contributions of organic and mineral accretion among different marsh types. Examining the summary data presented by different investigators, marsh types from fresh-to-salt apparently have a similar capacity for high rates of accretion, on the order of 1.0 cm yr-1 (and even higher in the streamside habitats). Deteriorating salt marshes (22 cores, 0.98 cm yr-1, Nyman et al. 2006) seem to have an upper limit threshold of 1.0 cm yr-1. That high accretion is associated with marshes in a deteriorating landscape may be explained by their topographically low position, where deposition is favored and organic matter remains saturated. Nyman et al. 2006 suggest that Louisiana marshes can compensate for a RSLR rate up to about 1.0 cm yr-1. Submergence rates in excess of this would likely result in a reversion of emergent marsh to open water (also termed marsh collapse). There are limitations on what we can infer with accretion estimates. In the past, accretion estimates have been used to conclude whether the wetland is keeping up with sea level rise. A problem with this approach is that the elevation of the wetland (with respect to the mean tidal range or landscape) is unknown or ignored. The practical consequence is that the time to a critical submergence threshold (with respect to plant health) occurs sooner for a low lying marsh than that of a higher marsh. In other words, a higher or lower rate of accretion is needed to offset submergence simply depending on the marsh elevation. Moreover, a high accretion rate may be a symptom of a relatively low marsh elevation (compensational deposition in low areas) if we assume over a long time period that peat accretion is in equilibrium with mean water or tide level. The added problem that accretion cannot predict actual elevation change can be problematic (Cahoon 2006). General considerations can be made about long-term accretion estimates and wetland processes: 1) It is generally accepted that vertical soil elevation maintenance (peat accretion), is in dynamic equilibrium with mean water level (or sea level). 2) Theoretically, accretion rates should vary with elevation within a wetland system (this relationship is not well established for different Louisiana wetlands). Ultimately, the elevation of a wetland determines the length of time before it succumbs to a critical submergence. 3) Long-term accretion may not reliably predict the actual elevation change in high subsidence (shallow or deep compaction) environments. A long-term accretion estimate of 0.7 cm yr-1 captures the central tendency of all herbaceous marsh data that have been reviewed. Currently, there seems to be a lack of evidence to support applying a habitat specific accretion rate; that is, there is evidence of high accretion rates in both salt and fresh marshes. The long-term data show that Chenier Plain marshes have accreted over the last 50 years at rates of ~0.50.2 cm yr-1 while shorter-term data (CRMS) shows mean A-54

accretion rates of ~0.8 cm yr-1 (Table 4). At 120 stations, median elevation change was 0.50 cm yr-1 (Table 4). This elevation gain corresponds well with the long-term RSLR rate of 0.56 cm yr-1 measured at Sabine Pass. In other words, wetland elevation gain should be approximately equivalent to contemporary RSLR rates. In general, comparatively high RSLR rates in the Delta Plain have produced greater vertical elevation change and accretion than that observed in the Chenier Plain. Without considering other stresses to wetland health, Chenier Plain marshes should be stable to RLSR rates on the order of 0.7 cm yr-1, as herbaceous wetlands in the Chenier Plain should respond similarly to increasing submergence as those of the Delta Plain.

Literature Cited Cahoon, D.R. 2006. A review of major storm impacts on coastal wetland elevations. Estuaries and Coasts. 29:889-898. DeLaune, R.D., R.H. Baumann, and J.G. Gosselink. 1983. Relationships among vertical accretion, coastal submergence, and erosion in a Louisiana gulf coast marsh. Journal of Sedimentary Petrology 53:147-157. DeLaune, R.D., J.H. Whitcomb, W.H. Patrick, Jr., J.H. Pardue, and S.R. Pezeshki. 1989. Accretion and canal impacts in a rapidly subsiding wetland. 137Cs and 210Pb techniques. Estuaries 12:247-259. Foret. J.D. 1997. Accretion, sedimentation, and nutrient accumulation rates as influenced by manipulations in marsh hydrology in the Chenier Plain, Louisiana. M.S. Thesis, Univ. of Louisiana, Lafayette. Foret. J.D. 2001. Nutrient limitation of tidal marshes on the Chenier Plain, Louisiana. Ph.D. Dissertation, Univ. of Louisiana, Lafayette. Jarvis, Jessie. 2010. Vertical accretion rates in coastal Louisiana: A review of the scientific literature: 1-14. Morris, J.T., P.V. Sundareshwar, C.T. Nietch, B. Kjerfve, and D.R. Cahoon. 2002. Responses of coastal wetlands to rising sea level. Ecology. 83:2869-2877. Nyman, J.A., R.J. Walters, R.D. DeLaune, and W.H. Patrick, Jr. 2006. Marsh vertical accretion via vegetative growth. Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science 69:370-380. Phillips, L.A. 2002. Vertical accretion and marsh elevation dynamics on the Chenier Plain, Louisiana. M.S. Thesis, Univ. of Louisiana, Lafayette. Piazza, S.C., G.D. Steyer, K.F. Cretini, C.E. Sasser, J.M. Visser, G. O. Holm, Jr., L. A. Sharp, D. E. Evers, and J. R. Meriwether. In press. Geomorphic and ecological effects of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita on Coastal Louisiana Marsh Communities: U.S. Geological Survey Open File Report. Steyer, G.D. 2008. Landscape analysis of vegetation change in coastal Louisiana following Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. Louisiana State Univ. Ph.D. Dissertation. 158p. Turner, R.E., E.M. Swenson, and C.S. Milan. 2001. Organic and inorganic contributions to vertical accretion in salt marsh sediments. Pgs. 583-595. In: M. Weinstein and K. Kreeger (eds.) Concepts and Controversies in Tidal Marsh Ecology. Kluwer Academic Publishing, Drodrecht, Netherlands.

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Appendix D: Detailed Procedure for Incorporating Sea-Level Rise into Louisiana Coastal Project Planning and Design The following is an example of how relative sea-level rise would be calculated using the recommendations in the main report and can be used as a stand-alone instruction manual. To predict the future relative sea-level rise for programmatic planning and project-level engineering and design, we recommend the following four-step procedure. To describe this more fully we use a hypothetical wetland restoration project on Marsh Island State Wildlife Management Area as an example, with a construction date of 2015 and a period of study that carries through 2100. The recommendations presented in the Technical Report begin with a three-step process to define relative sea-level rise (RSLR), represented by the generalized equation E(t) = (a*t + b*t2) + S*t (Eqn. D1)

where E is RSLR over the time increment t, a is the historical linear rate of global sea-level rise (GSLR) (Step 1), b is the acceleration constant for predicted GSLR (Step 2), and S is rate of subsidence (or uplift in areas of glacial rebound) (Step 3). Specifically, the equation illustrates that in order to calculate RSLR through 2065, the first component needed is a prediction of the change in sea (Gulf of Mexico) surface elevation. Subsidence is added to this value to define the total change in elevation of that location relative to the water surface. The first two steps of the recommendations apply to the change in elevation of the Gulf of Mexico sea surface, and define the values for the function in Eqn. D1 represented by (a*t + b*t2). However, for actual predictions of future RSLR at a specific location, we use a detailed equation that acknowledges that most sea-level predictions use a starting point in 1992 (the starting point for GSLR scenarios as updated in USACE 2011). E(t2-1992)-E(t1-1992)=a*([t2-1992]-[t1-1992])+b*([[t2-1992]2-[t1-1992]2) (Eqn. D2) where E, a and b are as defined for Equation D1, t1 is the initial year or first year of project, and t2 is the final year or last year of project. Although for our scenario the t1 and t2 values for the operational equation would be 2015 and 2100, respectively, we recommend building the GSLR scenario starting at 1992, to more properly define the acceleration constant (b) as well as providing a valuable check on the calculations out to 2100. E(2100-1992) - E(1992-1992) = a*([2100-1992]-[1986-1992]) + b*(([2100-1992]2[1992-1992]2),

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which simplifies to E 1986-2100 = a*108 + b*11664. (Eqn. D3)

This equation becomes the base operating equation for applying the values to the variables as described in our recommendations.
1. To begin the two-step process for estimating the future rate of change in the absolute sea

level of the Gulf of Mexico, use 2.4 mm/yr as the a value. Note that in the update shown below, the subsidence term is omitted, since the first two steps are only interested in calculating the anticipated change in the sea surface of the Gulf of Mexico, and not fully calculating RSLR. E1986-2100 = 0.0024*108 + b*11664, which simplifies to E1986-2100 = 0.2592+ b*11664. (Eqn. D4)

2. We recommend that CPRA staff assume that Gulf sea-level rise will be 1 meter (3.3) by 2100 as the most heavily-weighted project alternative. To account for variability around that prediction given the debate in the scientific community, we recommend a bounding range of 0.5 1.5 meters (1.6 4.9) also be considered. These recommendations establish three a priori values for E. In doing so, and as a result of having defined (a) in the previous step, we must calculate the relevant acceleration constants (b) for each scenario. For the 0.5 meters scenario: 0.5 = 0. 2592+ b*11664, which simplifies to b = 2.064 x 10-5. For the 1.0 meters scenario: 1.0 = 0. 2592+ b*11664, which simplifies to b = 6.351 x 10-5. For the 1.5 meters scenario: 1.5 = 0. 2592+ b*11664, which simplifies to b = 1.064 x 10-4. The two steps completed so far establish the values for (a) and (b) in GSLR predictive function shown in Equation D2. We can then use that function, with the included parameter values, to define the GSLR curve from 1992 to 2100. The importance in defining that curve is to calculate the annual incremental increases in Gulf sea-surface elevation. Since Steps 1 and 2 only provide an estimate of the elevation of the Gulf of Mexico at the target point in the future, these calculations must be combined with a prediction of local subsidence in order to craft an RSLR curve that will be used to predict marsh vertical accretion and overall persistence/collapse of A-58

marsh. We recommend: 3. Applying these calculations to either spatially-explicit empirical observations of subsidence or a map of predicted subsidence rates. In the case of our hypothetical Marsh Island project, the range of subsidence values identified by the Master Plan revision team for that area, Zone 15 on Figure D1, is 1-15 mm/yr. Applying the Master Plan most plausible scenario of 20% into each zone shown in Figure D1, we calculate a value of 3.8 mm/yr. Functionally, 3.8 mm are added onto the annual incremental GSLR defined after Steps 1 and 2, in order to define the annual incremental RSLR. This highlights some of the concern with Figure D1 as an operational product. If instead we were to use the coastal subsidence map generated by Britsch in 2007 (Figure 27 in the Technical Report), we would instead use a subsidence value of 0.5 feet per 100 years, which is equivalent to 1.524 mm/yr. The Britsch value is only 39% of that shown in Figure D1, which could have significant effects on the calculation of the annual RSRL increment that is applied to the marsh vegetation accretion model described in Step 4. Much more work will need to be done to refine the subsidence estimates of subsidence at the local level for predictive modeling purposes. Following steps 1-3 yields a RSLR curve for Marsh Island for each of the three acceleration scenarios discussed in Step 2. These curves will then be compared to marsh collapse values established for the Chenier Plan, as exemplified in Appendix C. For this example, we will only calculate the RSLR curve for the primary recommendation of a 1-meter GSLR by the year 2100. Part of the template spreadsheet that LACES has created for this purpose is shown in Figure D2 below.

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Figure D1. Map of projected subsidence ranges for south Louisiana generated by the Subsidence Advisory Panel for the Louisiana CPRA Master Plan 2012 Update, following a meeting on 14 October 2010.

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Figure D2. Screen capture of the spreadsheet that LACES has drafted for calculating RSLR curves consistent with the four-step process recommended in the Technical Report. In this example, the historical linear GSLR rate (green) is combined with the acceleration constant associated with a 1-meter GSLR by 2100 (red) to establish annual incremental increases in Gulf sea-surface elevation (blue). That calculation is then combined with an estimate of subsidence from Figure D2 (brown) to establish a yearto-year incremental RSLR value (yellow).

The annual incremental RSLR values for this example scenario range from 9.2 to 18.6 mm/yr (0.36 to 0.73 inches/yr), and the models predict a total increase in relative sea level of 0.613 meters (2.01 feet) between 2015 and 2065. In order to predict the persistence the coastal wetland, and specifically the persistence of the wetland surface or conversely marsh surface collapse and drowning, a fourth step is necessary. 4. Use the sum of #s 1-3 above to establish the annual incremental rate of inundation for the period of analysis to predict local responses of marsh vertical accretion; essentially local coastal elevation. Marsh vertical accretion can be inferred from scientific literature if no reliable data exist on site, or can be estimated from vegetation productivity models if available. Appendix C of the Technical Report shows information of this type that was used by CPRA and U.S. Army Corps personnel conducting the Southwest Coastal Integrated Hurricane Protection and Coastal Restoration Feasibility Study. In this example, if we assume the 7 mm/yr (0.28 inches/yr) threshold for marsh plant vertical accretion used by the Southwest Coastal Feasibility Study team, the models predict that the marsh will not be able to keep up with projected RSLR. Theoretically the calculations show how much elevation needs to be added through the use of marsh creation or nourishment in order to accommodate continued marsh vertical accretion, and thus marsh persistence in the face of RSLR. A-61

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Appendix E: Consistency between the Technical Report and the Master Plan 2012 Revision Sea-Level Rise Values The Master Plan Sea-Level Rise Range Initially for the Master Plan 2012 revision global sea level rise (GSLR) estimates, or, increased water levels overall in the Gulf of Mexico, were created to include the lower and upper-most plausible boundaries for potential levels in future sea level change. It is important to recognize that at this point this range was not assigned any degree of probability and was developed simply to encompass all of the projections that are currently being recognized by sea level rise (SLR) experts. The low boundary for GSLR assumed no acceleration of the current rate beyond a recent observed linear rate of 3.1mm/yr, determined by satellite altimetry, and yielded a total GSLR of 0.12 meters over 50 years. The high boundary for GSLR assumed a 1.5-meter increase in sea level by 2100, consistent with the National Research Council scenario used to define the high SLR scenario for the Corps, and resulted in an SLR of 0.65 meters over 50 years (by 2060). Per input from the 2012 Coastal Master Plan Science and Engineering Board, CPRA may also consider a SLR of 0.78 meters over the next 50 years, equaling a 2-meter rise in sea level by 2100 in later modeling efforts, but that is not known to what degree it will be utilized at this time. Once it became clear that due to time constraints a few discrete scenarios were needed to evaluate the projects proposed for the prioritization tool in the Master Plan, LACES was asked to select scenarios that most appropriately reflected 2 different landscapes in the future, one being slightly more optimistic, but not best case, and another that was less optimistic, but not worst case. These values were selected with input from the LACES technical report but were similarly not assigned any probability associated the scenarios. However the lower, moderate, and the higher, less optimistic, projections used to evaluate sea level rise uncertainty in the Master Plan do correspond with the lower boundary and most likely values selected by LACES in their technical report, which are considered to be probable future scenarios. For both the Master Plan and the LACES technical report the same simplified equation was used: E(t) = a*t + b*t2 where E is GSLR at time t, a is the rate of GSLR (slope of the line), and b is an acceleration factor. Integrated over time this becomes: E (t2-1992)-E(t1-1992)=a*([t2-1992]-[t1-1992])+b*(([t2-1992]2-[t1-1992]2) The 1992 initial time is from USACE (2011), which revised the original 1986 start date discussed in the National Research Council Report that arbitrarily selected three scenarios to evaluate uncertainty surrounding GSLR, which happened to be 0.5 meters, 1.0 meter, and 1.5 meters by 2100, but t1 can be any start time. Once these end points of sea level change and the A-63

time period of investigation are established a rate for a must be determined. In the Master Plan, GSLR is the same coast-wide, and is 3.1mm/yr, based on the 2007 IPCC Report (Bindoff et al 2007). The LACES report uses more recently available data from both satellite altimetry and tide gauges, providing a value of 2.4 mm/yr, applied coast-wide for consistency with projects and planning. Once all these values E(t), a and t are selected the acceleration constant, b, is back calculated, and is dependent on the other values. Essentially, the end points are selected based on predictions made for 2100 and then based on the time period evaluated and the current sea level trend an acceleration value is calculated. We infer from the literature review that the acceleration of SLR is the most difficult value to determine from the historic rate and that it changes with the period of record evaluated, ultimately determining the total amount of increase in mean sea level at any discrete point in time. However, this is the same process used by the most researchers investigating GSLR as well as both Corps and the Master Plan, so LACES determined it was prudent to follow that methodology. The LACES Sealevel Rise Range and why the range is different For the LACES report the goal was not to set the upper and lower most boundaries for global sea level rise (GSLR), but to determine a most likely change in sea level over time based on research and to bracket that most likely value with a possible lower and higher value to account for uncertainty. LACES found little evidence to suggest that GSLR would follow a linear track with zero acceleration and therefore eliminated the use of the lower most boundary as defined by the Master Plan. However, the value selected for the lower GSLR scenario in the Master Plan, the Moderate projection of 0.5 meters of sea level rise by 2100, was also used for the lowest bracket for possible sea level rise in the LACES report. In other words, the lower SLR scenarios for both the Master Plan and LACES are consistent, and although may yield different results based on the yearly value (a) selected, are essentially the same. Additionally, the Less Optimistic projection in the Master Plan corresponds to the 1 meter GSLR scenario by the year 2100, and is in agreement with the most likely value developed in the LACES report. The Values for Water Level Change Master Plan Plausible Range over 50 years (2060): 0.12 - 0.65 meters LACES Technical Report Scenario Range over 50 years (2060): 0.29 0.71 meters

Table E1. GSLR values used in the 2012 revision to the State of Louisianas Coastal Master Plan were comparable to those recommended in this LACES Technical Report GSLR values. Values shown are meters by 2060. Source Master Plan LACES Technical Report Moderate/Lower 0.27 0.29 Less Optimistic/Most Likely 0.45 0.50

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Slight differences in values can be attributed to the need to assign an index to the values in order to use them in the prioritization tool for the Master Plan and small changes perpetuated over time from rounding. However, the values are overall consistent and are not in conflict with one another because both are based on the premise that by 2100 in a lower SLR scenario MSL will increase by 0.50 meters and in a higher scenario it will increase by 1.0 meter. The Values for Subsidence It is important to note that these values only refer to the change in the sea surface and do not include any estimate of subsidence or accretion. To calculate subsidence both the LACES technical report and the Master Plan use the ranges developed by local experts in Figure 25 of the main body of this report. Similar to the development of the SLR ranges, subsidence values shown in this map include the lowest and highest subsidence rates found in those areas by researchers. Because high values in the subsidence ranges account for outliers, for the Moderate scenario the Master plan selected the lower 20thpercentile values of the plausible ranges under the assumption that a moderate projection would be on the lower end of the range. Similarly, because historical observations may represent maximum values to expect in the future, the Master Plan assigns mid-range, 50th percentile, values within the plausible range for each zone as the less optimistic projection values. Although the LACES technical report primarily focused on estimating the most probable change in the water surface of the Gulf of Mexico, subsidence was definitely a large component to developing relative sea level rise estimates. A report similar to the current technical report is in development, but in the interim LACES determined that applying the 20th percentile value to all the sea level rise scenarios was the best method. This rationale comes from the notion that although sea level will change in the future and is dependent upon oceanic and atmospheric changes, subsidence is not. Basically, since subsidence and sea level rise are completely independent variables, there is no reason to think that they will follow the same trajectory for future predictions. However, the LACES report suggests that if geotechnical samples or data proximate to the project exist that managers are more confident in, they utilize that number. To account for subsidence the above simplified equation becomes: E(t) = a*t + b*t2 + S where E, t, t2, a and b are as defined above, and S is rate of subsidence This equation is the relative sea level rise function that a specific location will see. To further refine these results the LACES report suggests incorporating a marsh vertical accretion estimate, and should be added in to determine marsh persistence, or marsh collapse threshold, once those values are determined for the project site.

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