Conserving Wetlands in the Face of Rising Seas

Marsh fact sheetOver the past 200 years, Rhode Island has lost over 50 percent of its salt marshes to man-made alterations resulting in a loss of approximately 4,000 acres statewide. Today we see many of the remaining coastal wetlands impacted as we observe higher tides due to sea level rise.  These valuable habitats have multiple benefits – including commercial and recreational fishing and shoreline protection – that will be critically impacted if wetlands disappear. 

To preserve wetlands against threats from accelerating sea level rise and increasing development, it is important to identify critical areas to target for protection, policy, and restoration. Maps that depict current and potential scenarios of Rhode Island’s coastal wetlands will provide a foundation for understanding the options, developing policy and guidelines, and training local and state decision makers alike. The SLAMM—Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model—is a tool for decision makers and resources managers to use in planning how to protect and use marshes in the future when flooding and change becomes an issue. This multi-partner effort improves the chances that wetlands can be sustained as valuable habitats.  These tools can be integrated with other efforts including the Beach SAMP, conservation strategies, and local comprehensive plans.

More information
For more information, please download the project factsheet.
To download the North Kingstown model, click here.

R.I. Coastal Resources Management Council
The Nature Conservancy - RI
Save the Bay
Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve
URI Coastal Resources Center
Rhode Island Sea Grant Legal Program

NOAA Climate Program