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Terms used in climate change are defined here.
In June of 2015, Friends of the Dunes was awarded $249,000 from the State Coastal Conservancy’s Climate Ready Program, to further understanding of how climate change will impact Humboldt’s coastal dunes and test the effectiveness of different adaptation strategies. While Friends of the Dunes is acting as the fiscal sponsor, US Fish and Wildlife Service is taking the lead in this collaborative project involving multiple partners (see below).
Understanding how sediments move in the beach-dune system is key to indentifying the parts of the coast that are most vulnerable to climate change. The Dunes Climate Ready Grant study is the first of its kind to study sediment flow through the entire Eureka littoral cell, a 32-mile unit of coastline that contains a complete cycle of sedimentation.
Not only will the study help us understand sediment dynamics, but it will also test on-the ground adaption strategies designed to moderate the harmful effects of climate change while working with natural dune processes. The Coastal Conservancy’s grant supports the first two years of this five-year project. Additional funding is being sought to complete the data collection portion of the project and develop a predictive model of dune response to sea-level rise along our coast. The first two years of the study has several components:
Detailed foredune topographic data will be collected over the entire, 32-mile littoral cell, and analyzed to better understand long and short-term dune dynamics. Together with the analysis of historic shoreline changes based on the air photo record, this information will be used to develop a preliminary analysis of sea level rise vulnerability.
Two demonstration sea-level rise adaptation projects will be carried out. The first, located at the newly acquired Bair parcel, now part of the Lanphere Dunes, will compare European beachgrass dominated foredunes with foredunes that are restored and planted with different assemblages of native plants to determine the planting composition that optimizes sediment transport and facilitates landward and upward migration of an intact foredune (a desirable response to sea-level rise). A second demonstration project, located at the Eel River Estuary Preserve, will use a combination of native plantings and driftwood to promote natural recovery of foredune morphology following an over wash event.
A native dune grass propagation site will be established at the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center to assist in future dune restoration projects along the North Spit.
Friends of the Dunes will take the lead on developing and implementing an educational/outreach program designed to increase understanding of potential climate change impacts on local coastal dunes, and to ensure that the community is updated on the purpose and progress of the project. To receive periodic updates about the progress of the Climate Ready grant and opportunities to learn more, subscribe to the Climate Ready updates email list here.
The Dunes Climate Ready grant is now in its second year, and surveys of our local beaches and dunes have been able to track dramatic changes during two very dynamic winters. Andrea Pickart, Coastal Ecologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service, will give an overview of the grant background and goals, the progress that has been made, and plans for the future of this innovative research addressing the challenges of climate change and sea level rise on our coastal dunes. Questions and comments are welcome.
On Saturday, February 27, 2016, the public was invited to participate in this interactive meeting at the Humboldt Coastal Nature Center to learn about the current status of the Dunes Climate Ready Study.
Us Fish and Wildlife Service, Friends of the Dunes, State Parks, Bureau of Land Management, The Wildlands Conservancy, The University of Victoria’s Coastal Erosion and Dune Dynamics Lab, California Department of Fish and Wildlife, Humboldt Bay Municipal Water District, Flinders University and the consulting firm GHD.
The first rise above the beach), and characterized by the native grass Elymus mollis ssp. mollis, which is able to tolerate the intense salt spray and sand deposition that occurs in this habitat.
The degree to which a system is susceptible to, or unable to cope with, adverse effects of climate change.
A natural compartment of the coast that contains a complete cycle of sedimentation.
An adjustment of a natural or human system to a new or change environment that moderates harm or exploits beneficial opportunities.
A capacity to anticipate, prepare for, respond and to recover from climate-change related threats.
An abnormal rise in sea level accompanying an intense storm or hurricane.