LISS, CTDEEP, and NYSERDA have developed a web-based tool that can help resource managers project the long-term affect of sea-level rise and other environmental stressors on coastal habitats.
Tidal marshes are dynamic ecosystems that provide significant ecological and economic value. Located at the margin between land and water, they are also among the most susceptible ecosystems to climate change, especially sea-level rise (SLR). SLAMM (sea level affecting marshes model) is a tool that can be used to project how marshes may respond to sea level rise. For Long Island Sound, LISS and its partners have created a web-based tool specially designed for Long Island Sound marshes.
SLAMM is widely recognized as an effective model in which long term shoreline and habitat class changes are predicted as a function of land elevation, tide range, sea level rise, and other environmental factors. Subject to additional analysis, SLAMM results can identify the most appropriate adaptation strategies for specific areas regarding land acquisition, restoration, infrastructure adaptation, and other management actions.
The SLAMM work completed for the Long Island Sound area occurred as part of two separate projects. The first project was completed by New York State Energy Research & Development Authority (NYSERDA) and covered Suffolk County, Nassau County, and all of NYC. The second project, completed in parallel to the NYSERDA project, was funded by Long Island Sound Study (LISS) and covered Westchester County, NY and all of the CT coastal counties, completing the immediate coastal area of Long Island Sound. The two projects were completed by the same consultant, Warren Pinnacle Consulting, using similar data inputs and generating compatible outputs.
Since the completion of the projects, LISS, NYSERDA, and partners (i.e., CTDEEP, NYSDEC, and NEIWPCC) have been working on next steps for using, analyzing, and distributing the SLAMM data. LISS and NYSERDA are currently drafting a webpage to desiminate SLAMM project results for Long Island Sound area which will be hosted on the LISS website. The webpage will feature information and guidance on the purpose and uses of SLAMM, along with both simple and more robust web-based map viewers that will allow users without specialized GIS software or skills to manipulate the SLAMM data maps. The viewers will have tutorials that could guide users through the tool and provide samples of queries that can be conducted. A public outreach campaign may be conducted in order to encourage use of the project data and foster collaboration among LISS partners to achieve Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan goals affected by SLR. Other possible next steps include convening the LISS STAC to define best uses for existing project data, arranging a focus group of potential users to pilot a public outreach campaign, and determine possible further enhancement of the SLAMM data to address marsh-specific conservation management issues.
The project leads are presenting the SLAMM project to the LISS Management Committee in order to provide background on the project and update the Committee on the project results, as well as receive feedback on suggested next steps to enhance the utility of the initial project results.