This project will increase the knowledge and capacity of all partners to make informed management, conservation, restoration, and enhancement decisions in these important coastal ecosystems in the face of climate change and sea-level rise.
Assessing Estuary Resilience to Sea-Level Rise
At each site, The Nature Trust and Coastal First Nations will use a variety of equipment to collect data and implement the MARS tool. Data will be collected for five categories of resilience during the study: distribution of marsh elevation, change in elevation, sediment supply, tidal range, and rate of sea-level rise. Within each category, metrics will be given a score of 1 to 5, indicating level of resilience from low to high. These will be used to calculate an overall score indicating the level of resilience to sea-level rise for each site.
Implementation of Ecological Restoration Projects
The output of the MARS scoring will provide baseline information to inform the ecological restoration phase of the project. Identification and subsequent feasibility studies of candidate restoration projects will be undertaken in Years 2 and 3 of the project. In Years 4 and 5, The Nature Trust will deliver two transformational projects that restore core natural estuarine processes (including the collection of pre- and post-restoration monitoring metrics).
Examples of restoration activities The Nature Trust and our partners have previously implemented include removal of historical agricultural dykes/berms, and construction/reconnection of tidal channels, aimed at restoring estuarine hydrology and improving tidal connectivity which benefits fish, wildlife, plants and other coastal species.