Climate Ready Estuaries

              2012 PROGRESS REPORT
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                     CLIMATE READ
                         ESTUARI ES

Contact Information

Michael Craghan
Oceans and Coastal Protection Division
EPA Office of Water
Climate Ready Estuaries

National Estuary Program

EPA Climate Change

EPA Climate Change and Water

EPA Climate Change Research

Introduction	2

2012 Climate Ready Estuaries Projects	4

Project Updates	6

Adaptation to Attain Clean Water Goals and
Sustainable Coasts	7

Partners for Adaptation	15

Expert Elicitation for Climate Change
Vulnerability Assessments	17

King Tides	18

Climate Ready Estuaries  National Estuary
Program Partners, 2008-2012	20

2012 is the 25th anniversary of the National Estuary Program (NEP) and marks the fifth year that EPA's
Climate Ready Estuaries (CRE) has supported climate change adaptation activities in NEP study areas.
In 2008-2011, CRE sponsored 31  projects with 19 different NEPs. In 2012, CRE supported another 6
projects, including work with 4 new NEPs. The growing number of adaptation projects and the lessons
that are drawn and shared from them are an invaluable resource for other environmental managers.
       CRE Projects by Year
Cumulative NEPs With Projects
     FY08   FY09   FY10    FY11    FY12
    FY08   FY09    FY10    FY11    FY12
This document highlights the projects that 23 NEPs around the U.S. have undertaken to help their
watersheds and communities adapt to some of the pressing challenges that are emerging. The newest
projects are featured in the section on 2012 Climate  Ready Estuaries Projects (page 4). Climate Ready
Estuaries projects initiated during 2008-2011 are highlighted in the Adaptation to Attain Clean Water
Goals and  Sustainable Coasts section of this report (pages 7-14).
               Photos courtesy of two 2072 CRE partners: the Indian River Lagoon NEP (USGS Sirenia Project)
               will be assessing seagrass and sea level rise, and the San Juan Bay NEP will be conducting a
               climate change vulnerability assessment.

In addition to the CRE projects with the NEPs, the program supports climate change planning and
education. This report summarizes a 2012 joint meeting with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration (NOAA) on climate change vulnerability assessments (page 15). EPA also published two
reports about using the expert elicitation process to conduct climate change vulnerability assessments
for specific ecosystems (page 17). Finally, this progress report highlights how NEPs used king tide
photography to communicate with the public about sea level rise (page 18).
    •  Partnered with 4 new NEPs in 2012; CRE has now supported projects with a total of 23 NEPs.

    •  Sponsored 6 new projects in 2011; CRE has now supported a total of 37 climate adaptation

    •  Completed the first Climate Ready Water Utilities pilot project.

    •  Held a lessons learned workshop with NEPs in Region 1, New England.

    •  Held a joint stakeholder meeting with NOAA.

    •  Promoted Fall 2011 king tide sea level rise education campaigns with 10 NEPs.

    •  EPAs Office of Research and Development published two CRE vulnerability research reports.
Photos courtesy of Trie/a Miller via Piscataqua Region
Estuaries Partnership (above); Diane Has/em via
Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (top right); Barnegat
Bay Partnership (bottom 2 photos).

                     Climate Ready Estuaries projects on adaptation to climate change continue to
                     serve as premier examples for the coastal management community. In 2012 EPA
                     provided support for six adaptation projects with five NEPs. Four of these NEPsare
                     new CRE partners this year:

                        • San Juan Bay Estuary Program, Puerto Rico
                        • Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program, Massachusetts
                        • Peconic Estuary  Program, New York
                        • Mobile Bay National Estuary Program, Alabama
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Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment
The combination of unplanned coastal development with shoreline erosion,
new invasive species, record high temperatures, flooding, more frequent
tropical storms, and dying coral reefs, is focusing attention on climate
change in the San Juan Bay Estuary Program study area. SJBEP has been
coordinating with scientists  and engaging the general public about pressing
concerns. The next step is a climate change vulnerability assessment. SJBEP
will work with its partners to assess risks and evaluate potential adaptation
strategies. The vulnerability assessment will provide an urgently needed
blueprint for municipalities,  community groups, and local government, as
well as for federal agencies, to face the challenges climate change presents
to Puerto Rico. The assessment will also provide a powerful tool for engaging
communities in climate change discussions.
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Climate Change Adaptation Project for New Bedford Harbor
The Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program and Massachusetts Office of
Coastal Zone Management have jointly conducted a preliminary evaluation
of sea level rise impacts to New Bedford Harbor. A hurricane barrier and
dikes protect an environmental justice community, a heavily urbanized and
industrial area, and a nationally important fishing fleet and seafood processing
industry. Sea level rise with expected higher annual rainfalls and more intense
storms, will appreciably impact the wastewater treatment, CSO system, and
municipal stormwater networks of each harbor community. BBNEP has found
that the hurricane barrier could have widespread failures from the 100-year
storm event in conjunction with sea level rise.  BBNEP, in partnership with
MA CZM and the affected communities will evaluate these issues in detail
and develop a long-term strategy for climate change adaptation. BBNEP will
also collaborate with local partners to conduct a climate change adaptation
workshop and incorporate the results of the evaluation study into training
workshops for officials of the harbor communities.

Developing a Climate Ready Critical Lands Protection Strategy
As part of the creation of its Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan, the
Peconic Estuary Program drafted a Critical Lands Protection Strategy which identifies
priority parcels for protection or acquisition based on criteria related to habitat preservation
and water quality protection. PEP will use sea level rise predictions to re-evaluate its original
prioritization strategy with regard to issues such as inundation and erosion, living shorelines
and armoring, or wetlands migration. This strategy update will lead to a new Critical Lands
Protection Strategy that takes climate change into account.

     Raising Community Awareness of Climate Risks and Adaptation
     In partnership with Mississippi-Alabama Sea Grant Consortium, the Town of Dauphin
     Island, the Dauphin Island Water and Sewer Authority, and the Dauphin Island Park and
     Beach Board, the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program will work to improve the ability
     of Dauphin Island to adapt to climate change. Assistance and support will be provided
     to scope climate change impacts to the natural and built environment as well as water
     infrastructure. A climate change risk assessment and a review of the community's adaptive
     capacity will lead to recommendations for addressing the identified vulnerabilities.

     Assessing Climate Risks in the Lower Three Mile Creek Watershed
     Climate change threatens human and environmental resources in the lower Three Mile
     Creek watershed of Mobile, AL Low income and environmental justice communities
     that surround the creek are particularly vulnerable to impacts associated with increased
     stormwater runoff, nonpoint source pollution, and sea level rise. The  Mobile Bay National
     Estuary Program will assess climate change vulnerability and resilience, and increase
     community understanding of how climate change will affect people, water quality, and
     ecological integrity in the Three Mile Creek watershed. This project will improve the
     knowledge and capacity of key stakeholders and local residents to actively participate in
     watershed management and adaptation planning in order to improve the area's resiliency to
     the impacts of climate change.
Prioritizing TMDLs Using Vulnerability to Sea Level Rise
The successful restoration of the Indian River Lagoon is dependent upon the protection of
existing seagrass habitat and the regrowth of seagrasses in barren deeper areas to its ecological
depth limit. The Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program will model seagrass response
to sea level rise to identify and rank areas of probable habitat collapse or robust proliferation.
This project will ensure that scarce resources are directed toward strategies that improve water
quality and achieve TMDL nutrient reductions in places with higher probability of successfully
expanding seagrass coverage.

Climate Ready Estuaries and EPA's Climate
Ready Water Utilities
New York-New Jersey Harbor and Estuary Program, the North
Hudson (N.J.) Sewerage Authority (NHSA), and CRWU have been
working together on assessment and planning for climate change
impacts to utility infrastructure and natural resources. The receiving
waters for the NHSA wastewater discharge are part of the NY-NJ
Harbor ecosystem.

Participants worked with CRWU's Climate Resilience Evaluation
and Awareness Tool (GREAT) through a series of EPA webinars that
culminated at NHSA with an in-person meeting. This final meeting
provided an opportunity for participants to discuss the results of
the analysis, and consider lessons learned and next steps. Having
the perspective of a utility company and a watershed organization
in the same project will help CRWU to improve GREAT.
Lessons learned in New England
EPA's Region 1 office held a Climate Ready Estuaries
Lessons Learned workshop on June 21, 2012 in
Boston, MA with representatives from six NEPs and
federal, state, regional, and local partners. Participants
heard from the New England NEPs about ongoing
and completed Climate Ready Estuaries projects.
Later in breakout sessions people discussed what
has been learned and shared ideas for replicating
successful projects elsewhere.
The Climate Ready Estuaries team and EPA Region 1's Oceans and Coastal Protection Unit are
collaborating to produce a brochure featuring highlights of the workshop.

 -•  E S T  J ARIES
Adaptation  to  Attain Clean  Water
Goals  and Sustainable Coasts
        Sustainable means: to create and maintain conditions, under which humans
        and nature can exist in productive harmony, that permit fulfilling the social,
        economic, and other requirements of present and future generations.

                              —Executive Order 13514 of October 5, 2009

Sustainability and Climate Change
Healthy and resilient ocean and coastal ecosystems are directly linked to environmental quality,
human well-being, and national prosperity. Protecting, restoring, and maintaining these ecosystems
and national resources are essential for ensuring a sustainable future.

Current environmental challenges in coastal watersheds loom large. Yet, the climate changes that
are anticipated (such as warmer temperatures, sea level rise, or intensification of the hydrologic
cycle) are going to increase existing pressures on estuaries as well as give rise to new problems.
Management strategies and practices will need to evolve as climate changes. It may not be sufficient
to restore or maintain historical conditions; Sustainability might require creating and maintaining new
environments as well.

Sustainability planning in estuaries encompasses nearly every sector, including human health, natural
resource management, and disaster response. EPA's Climate Ready Estuaries (CRE) program focuses
on the aspects  of climate change that affect the chemical, physical, and biological integrity of coastal
watersheds. Climate Ready Estuaries works to ensure that the goals of the Clean Water Act will
continue to be  achievable.

Adaptation for Sustainability
Clean Water Act legislation that specifically addresses estuaries *f, contains a mandate to control
pollution, to improve estuary habitat, to ensure healthy plant and animal communities, and to
* 33 USC 1330. National estuary program. (Section 320 of the Clean Water Act)
f 33 USC Chapter 42—Estuary Restoration. (The Estuaries and Clean Waters Act of 2000)

maintain human uses. Efforts to incorporate sustainability principles into how the country tries to
reach those goals will be complicated in many ways by the impacts of future changes.

Coastal managers will be faced with climate changes that will affect their systems. Warmer summers
and winters, and warmer water temperatures will have a variety of effects on native plants and
animals. More intense drought and heavy precipitation will complicate efforts to control point
and nonpoint sources of pollution. Estuary habitats, especially coastal marshes, are increasingly
at risk of shoreline erosion, rising sea level, and ecological transition.  Sea level rise also poses a
threat to water and wastewater infrastructure, as well as to drinking water in our rivers and  aquifers.
Adaptation will be necessary to avoid, resist, or absorb those impacts and to  help society achieve
clean water goals under changing environmental conditions.

Many of the strategies that have value for today's situation will also help to adapt to climate impacts.
Preserving healthy watersheds and restoring coastal environments  are thought to be important
ways of maintaining robust fish, plant, and animal communities that can more easily transition with
changing climate conditions. Options for stormwater and pollution management, such  as using
green infrastructure techniques or adopting low-impact development, can be no-regrets strategies
as well.

Adapting to climate change will not simply be a matter of adjusting to a new stable state.
Sustainability will be elusive as climate will be continually evolving. The challenge will be to optimize
needed environmental, economic, and social  benefits, while being aware that climate changes in the
decades to come may mean our work is never done.

Being  Climate Ready
Climate Ready Estuaries works to raise the capacity of the National Estuary Programs (NEPs) and
other coastal managers to anticipate and respond to climate change  impacts. By choosing wisely,
the necessity of adapting to climate change can be leveraged so that present and future generations
of Americans can exist in productive harmony with  nature. Prepared and alert coastal managers will
recognize needs and opportunities to avoid losses  and to guide their systems to sustainability in a
constantly changing climate.

This progress report highlights some of the ways that NEPs have used CRE projects to continue
reaching for a sustainable future where the aspirations of the Clean Water Act can be achieved.

Pollution  Control
Effectively controlling point and nonpoint sources of pollution and  pollution cleanup are important
aspects of the Clean Water Act. Legislation also calls for improving and maintaining water quality
and cleaning up pollution for the benefit of estuary habitat. Pollution  control activities will be
affected by climate change impacts, including changes in air and water temperature; changes in
amounts, frequency and distribution of rain and snowfall; sea level  rise;  and ocean acidification.

Point sources of pollution
In regions experiencing  more frequent drought, critical-low-flow criteria for discharging may not
be met and pollutant concentrations would increase if sources stay the same as flow diminishes.


Warmer winters with less snow accumulation could affect point sources of pollution by reducing
spring or summer flow volume which would affect pollution concentrations in receiving waters.
Increased water temperature can make it harder to meet water quality criteria, and could increase
the toxicity of pollutants. Floods may cause treatment plants to go offline. More intense precipitation
events can cause combined sewer overflow events to increase and sea  level rise may also produce
seawater backflows into combined sewer systems. Sea level rise might  require operational changes
at sewage treatment plants. Additionally, sea level rise could lead to flooding or shoreline erosion at
contaminated sites.

Water  quality problems and nonpoint sources of pollution
Climate  change will also affect the ability to effectively manage nonpoint sources of pollution.
Warmer water temperature could cause increased algal growth; and parasites and bacteria can have
greater abundance, survival, and transmission. Higher surface temperatures may lead  to stratification
within the water column and warmer waters will hold less dissolved oxygen. Warmer summers may
increase the frequency of wildfires and lead to soil erosion. In regions experiencing more intense
precipitation, streams might also have  greater erosive force. Where drought is more frequent,
nonpoint sources of pollution could  increase from the buildup of pollutants on land, followed by high
intensity runoff when rain does come. Urban areas may be  subject to more floods and flood control
facilities might be inadequate. Excessive rainfall can also cause septic systems to fail. Sea level rise
will cause tides to reach higher and flood new areas. Finally, acidification could be exacerbated in
coastal waters when decomposing organic matter interacts with  pH changes in the oceans.
Climate Ready Estuaries partners are working to identify how particular climate change impacts
will affect their ability to manage point and nonpoint sources of pollution and pollution cleanup
activities. The Piscataqua Region Estuaries Program conducted a study of how increases in
the frequency and intensity of rainfall events are likely to impact hydrology and the drainage
infrastructure within the Oyster River watershed. The analysis demonstrated that implementing
low-impact development techniques in the watershed would allow for better management of
stormwater runoff. The Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program held a series of listening
sessions to discuss residents' concerns about sea level rise and population growth. Residents spoke
about nonpoint source runoff from development, issues of poor drainage of water on the landscape,
and other results of population growth, such as the increase in green lawns  and the resulting
chemical runoff from these residential areas. The Sarasota Bay Estuary Program developed a
sea level rise viewer to show a range of sea level rise and storm surge scenario impacts to coastal
development and infrastructure, including stormwater drainage systems. The viewer is online to
facilitate education of officials and the  public. The Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program
completed a sea  level rise vulnerability assessment for the City of Satellite Beach, FL to aid city
planning. They are working with the city's Comprehensive Planning Authority Board to include
climate considerations into  its comprehensive plan. The Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership
is incorporating climate change into their Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan. This
will ensure consideration of climate change in future management of conventional and toxic water

Estuary  Habitat
Establishing chemical, physical, and biological qualities of estuaries which will support a balanced
population of living resources, is a goal of the Clean Water Act. Coastal and near-shore marine
ecology and the ecosystems services they provide are vulnerable to a host of climate change-related
effects including increasing air and water temperatures, sea level rise, changes in runoff from the
land, and altered currents.

Aquatic environments
Surface water and ground water resources in coastal watersheds may be affected by a greater rate
of evaporation. Where temperatures are warmer or drought is more frequent, ground water tables
will be affected and base flow in streams could decrease. A change to ground water and surface
water resources can force municipalities to switch between drinking water sources, which may have
effects in estuaries. Managers at hydropower dams might react to greater electricity demand in the
summertime by changing how much water they release from reservoirs. The amount of water in
streams would also be affected by stronger storms that lead to more intense flooding and runoff.
This in turn can lead to less infiltration and also increase turbidity of surface waters. Changes in the
proportion of rain and snowfall might also change the runoff/infiltration balance, causing the base
flow in streams to change. Additionally, warmer winters may prevent rivers from freezing, eliminating
the spring thaw and a spring  runoff pulse. Sea level rise will push tidal influence and saline water
farther upstream, and freshwater habitat would become more brackish.

Terrestrial environments
Stronger coastal storms can lead to greater shoreline erosion, and also cause coastal overwash or
island breaching. Even what are now routine storms would have enhanced effects because of sea
level rise. Intertidal environments are at risk  of erosion and also to progressive drowning from rising
water. People may increasingly turn to bulkheads, sea walls, and revetments in an effort to preserve
the existing shoreline. In places where salt marshes will not be able to keep up with sea level rise
there is likely to be large wetland losses. Marshes and beaches can also be exposed to erosion in the
winter storm season by the loss of protective ice.
Climate Ready Estuaries partners are considering how changing climate conditions affect the
integrity of estuarine habitats and the shellfish, fish, and wildlife populations they support.
Implications of sea level rise and changing precipitation patterns to estuaries have been of particular
interest to NEPs. The Narragansett Bay Estuary Program is analyzing dams and other in-stream
structures in the Pawtuxet River watershed to assess their vulnerability to climate change and
flooding and resulting impacts on watershed restoration efforts. The Partnership for the Delaware
Estuary and the Indian River Lagoon National Estuary Program used the Sea Level Affecting
Marshes Model (SLAMM) to conduct an analysis of sea level rise impacts on coastal wetlands.
The Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission is conducting a vulnerability assessment of the
Ballona Wetlands to changes in temperature, precipitation, and sea level rise. Study results and
recommendations are being applied to wetland  restoration planning and water quality management.
The Partnership for the Delaware Estuary is designing a living shoreline approach for maintaining

ecological quality in tidal wetlands. The Tampa Bay Estuary Program is likewise leading the creation
of a "Gulf Coast Community Handbook" which will identify best practices and lessons learned for
incorporating climate change resiliency into habitat restoration and protection plans. The Puget
Sound Partnership, the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, and the Long Island Sound
Study have all developed climate change indicators which will allow them to track climate-driven
changes and identify vulnerabilities or ecological thresholds.

Animals and  Plants
Protection and propagation offish, shellfish, and wildlife is another focus of the Clean Water Act.
This includes the control of nonnative and invasive species and the reintroduction of native species
to maintain the biological integrity of an ecosystem. Animals and plants are sensitive to changes
in climate such as warmer air and water temperatures or changes in the frequency and intensity of
precipitation. Threatened and endangered species that are already stressed may be particularly
susceptible to climate change.

Temperature impacts
Species that cannot tolerate warmer temperatures may die or migrate and biota at the southern
edge of their range could disappear from ecosystems. Warmer winters can raise pest survival,
increase invasive species'  ranges, and alter food sources and supplies. Changes in water temperature
will affect aquatic animals and plants. Habitats might become unsuitably warm for particular species
or for the food on which they depend; the dissolved oxygen capacity of water would decline; coral
bleaching episodes may occur more frequently; and some fish reproduction can be affected if they
require specific water temperatures.

Process impacts
During droughts, freshwater flow in streams will diminish and changing freshwater inputs might
affect salinity distribution in estuaries, particularly affecting shellfish habitat. Additionally, sensitive
species may not tolerate prolonged dry spells.  Conversely, increases in frequency and intensity
of precipitation, will lead to greater soil erosion and can increase turbidity, decrease water clarity,
and increase sediment deposition in estuaries. This has particular consequences for the survival of
benthic species. Sea level rise would cause salinity to change, pushing saltier water farther upstream.
Sea level rise may also prevent sunlight from penetrating through the full depth of deeper water.
Animals that are dependent on  coastal marshes might find that wetland losses will accelerate under
increasing rates of sea level rise. Ocean acidification brings into question the  long term sustainability
of shellfish and changing pH could cause adverse affects to fish during particular development
stages. Furthermore, the effect of ocean acidification on calcifying plankton might lead to cascading
effects in the food chain.
Climate Ready Estuaries partners are working to document and monitor climate change impacts on
animals and plants in their watersheds and to determine how changing management techniques will
help improve the resilience of the biological integrity of estuarine systems. In partnership with EPAs
Office of Research and Development, the Massachusetts Bays Program and the San Francisco

Estuary Program used expert elicitation to conduct vulnerability assessments of birds that use the
mudflats and salt marshes in their estuaries. The expert elicitation process was demonstrated to be a
useful methodology for adaptation cases with similar parameters. The Partnership for the Delaware
Estuary conducted a vulnerability assessment and developed a detailed case study of impacts and
adaptation options for bivalve shellfish. The Barnegat Bay Partnership held a series of stakeholder
workshops to advise its Climate Change Work Group and inform its adaptation activities. Participants
identified species loss, and migratory bird flyways among their concerns. The Tillamook Estuary
Partnership is updating their management plan to incorporate climate change impacts. Areas
of concern include pathogen contamination affects on shellfish, sedimentation affects on habitat
for bay shellfish and fish, and changes in living  resources due to the loss of spawning  habitat for
anadromous fish.

Human  Uses
The Clean Water Act calls for managing and protecting water resources for human uses. In estuarine
areas, this includes allowing recreational activities in and on the water and protecting public water
supplies. The ways people use natural resources developed in conjunction with past climate
conditions, thus any changes to the generally prevailing climate will have impacts  on  human systems.

Public water  supplies
Warmer summers and winters may lead to changes in water supply and demand. Water supply can
be affected by increased evaporation from reservoirs and ground water; summer water supplies that
are derived from snow pack might be threatened. Ground water may also become salinized  due to
insufficient freshwater input or higher demand on aquifers. Also, with more frequent drought, ground
water tables would drop. Saltwater intrusion into ground water could be more likely and sea level
rise may also push salt fronts upstream past water diversion points. Sea level rise and increases in
precipitation will also cause water plants or pumps to be more vulnerable to flooding, inundation,
or erosion.

Where surface water is warmer, it can lead to increased growth of algae and  microbes. Water
treatment processes might need to change in response to health threats and changes in water
quality (for example, warmer water can hold more dissolved material). Flood waters may increase
downstream turbidity, negatively affecting the quality of the waters. Finally, in cold places, warming
temperatures could induce more freeze/thaw cycles that can affect water infrastructure.

Recreational activities in and on the water, such as swimming, fishing, or boating will also be
impacted due to climate change. Increases in water temperature can make harmful algal blooms
(HABs) more likely, and jellyfish might become  more common in some  regions. Decreased freshwater
flows in  streams may impede recreational uses. More frequent or more intense bad weather would
reduce recreational opportunities. Increased precipitation will cause greater nonpoint source
pollution, which may also impede recreation. Sea level rise might cause beaches and  public  access
sites to be threatened by coastal erosion. Boaters could have to contend with decreased clearance
under bridges or invasive plants that might clog creeks and waterways. With more frequent drought,

increased estuary salinity may drive away targeted recreational fish and salinity or temperature
changes can cause fish habitat ranges to shift. Desired fish might no longer be around, or they may
be present at different times of the year. Finally, ocean acidification  could lead to the loss of shellfish
harvests, as well as to the degradation of eco-tourism resources and attractions, such as diving or
Climate Ready Estuaries partners are considering how climate change impacts in their watersheds
will affect sustainability, and they are identifying potential adaptation options. Through consultation
with stakeholders and local decision makers, the Casco Bay Estuary Partnership identified the water
resource infrastructure community as a critical audience for adaptation related outreach, and then
developed a strategy to target this audience. The Charlotte Harbor Estuary Program completed
a vulnerability assessment for the City of Punta Gorda, FL The assessment found that seventeen
public water supply facilities  and fourteen wastewater treatment facilities are likely to be impacted
by sea  level rise by 2100. The Albemarle-Pamlico National Estuary Program is working with CRE
and EPA's Climate  Ready Water Utilities program to develop its capacity to use CRWU's Climate
Resilience Evaluation and Awareness Tool (CREAT) with North Carolina municipalities to identify and
assess climate impacts on  public utilities. The Morro Bay National Estuary Program is working with
local water suppliers to identify the environmental impacts from sea level rise  and climate-driven
changes in water availability.  The New York-New Jersey Harbor and Estuary Program worked
with the North Hudson (N.J.) Sewerage Authority to look at climate change impacts and identify
adaptation options for consideration. The New York-New Jersey Harbor and Estuary Program  is
also assessing how climate change will affect public access sites and the human uses of the estuary
that are dependent on getting to the water.
The above descriptions of the National Estuary Programs' achievements through their Climate Ready
Estuaries projects are highly abbreviated. Please see their respective websites for more information.

Learn more about climate impacts  in coastal watersheds
Climate Ready Estuaries Synthesis of Adaptation Options for Coastal Areas d/CRE_Synthesis_1 -09.pdf

U.S. Climate Change Science Program Synthesis and Assessment Products
• SAP 4.1. Coastal Sensitivity to Sea-Level Rise: A Focus on the Mid-Atlantic Region.
• SAP 4.4. Preliminary Review of Adaptation Options for Climate-Sensitive  Ecosystems and Resources.

Coastal Areas Impacts and Adaptation

Climate Ready Water Utilities

          Climate Ready Estuaries Partners,  2008-2012
Puget Sound Partnership (WA)
Lower Columbia River Est. Partnership (WA/OR)
Tillamook Estuaries Partnership (OR)
San Francisco Estuary Partnership (CA)
Morro Bay National Estuary Program (CA)
Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission (CA)
Gulf of Mexico
Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (AL)
Tampa Bay Estuary Program (FL)
Sarasota Bay Estuary Program (FL)
Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (FL)
Casco Bay Estuary Partnership (ME)
Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership (NH)
Massachusetts Bays Program (MA)
Buzzards Bay National Estuary Program (MA)
Narragansett Bay Estuary Program (Rl)
Long Island Sound Study (CT/NY)
Peconic Estuary Program (NY)
NY-NJ Harbor and Estuary Program (NY/NJ)
Barnegat  Bay Partnership (NJ)
Partnership for the Delaware Estuary (NJ/PA/DE)
Albemarle-Pamlico NEP (NC)
Indian River Lagoon NEP (FL)
San Juan Bay Estuary Program (PR)
                                         PROGRESS REPORT

                                                     EPA-NOAA Joint Meeting
                                                     Climate Ready Estuaries, NOAA's
                                                     National Estuarine Research Reserve
                                                     System, and NOAA's Coastal Zone
                                                     Management Program hosted a joint
                                                     session on climate change vulnerability
                                                     assessments on March 1, 2012 in Silver
                                                     Spring, MD.

                                                     More than 60 coastal managers from
                                                     National Estuary Programs and NOAA's
                                                     affiliates  heard success stories from the
Charlotte Harbor, FL NEP, the Puerto Rico Coastal Zone Management Program, and the Chesapeake Bay,
VA NERR. A series of presentations on understanding barriers, and tools for implementing vulnerability
assessments followed.
Gulf Coast Ecosystem  Restoration
This Strategy document highlights CRE as an example of a program
working to maintain water quality and protect coastal resources through
the development and implementation  of adaptation strategies. The
Strategy reports on the work of two Gulf Coast NEPs: the Tampa Bay
Estuary Program and the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program. .pdf
NOAA Coastal Services Magazine
"Priming Coastal Managers to Think about Rolling Easements as
an Option for Sea Level Rise" appeared in the September/October
2011 issue of NOAA's Coastal Services
magazine. EPA's Jim Titus was quoted
several times to explain what rolling
easements are, as well as why coastal
managers might be interested in them.
                                   'exico Regional
       CRE's Rolling Easements primer
         has a thorough exploration of
      these land use and legal tools for
        those who want to know more.


Interagency Climate Change Adaptation  Task Force
The White House Council on Environmental Quality acknowledged Climate Ready Estuaries as one
of the current federal programs focused on 'Developing strategies to safeguard natural resources in a
changing climate' in the Taskforce's October 28, 2011 progress report.
Managing Freshwater  Resources in  a Changing Climate
                            The Interagency Climate Change Adaptation Task Force's Progress
                            Report to the President (October 2010), called for the development of
                            a  national action plan to identify steps that Federal agencies can take
                            to improve management of freshwater resources in a changing climate.
                            To meet this need, the Council on Environmental Quality produced
                            the National Action Plan: Priorities for Managing Freshwater Resources
                            in a Changing Climate (October 2011).  Climate Ready Estuaries was
                            identified as an example of a program that provides climate assessment
                            tools tailored to the needs of coastal managers. Climate Ready
                            Estuaries activities support Action 11: "Continue development of tools
                            and approaches that build capacity for water institutions to conduct
                            vulnerability assessments and implement appropriate responses", for
                            which EPA is the lead agency.
U.S. State Department's  Our Planet  Blog
The Bureau of International Information Programs in the U.S. Department of State publishes a blog
to showcase what people are doing all over the world to mitigate and adapt to climate change. They
highlight innovative steps to share ideas about can be done to prepare. In September 2012 they
published a guest blog post from EPA about how king tide photography can be used to raise awareness
of the impacts of sea level rise.

Two new reports from the EPA Office of Research and
Development's Air, Climate and Energy National Program
demonstrate how a methodology based on expert
elicitation can be used for climate change vulnerability
assessments. Two CRE partners, the San Francisco
Estuary Partnership and the Massachusetts Bays Program,
collaborated with EPA to pilot test this new methodology.

Expert elicitation is a multidisciplinary process for
obtaining the judgments of experts when empirical data are
incomplete and more than one model can explain available
information. It is used to characterize uncertainty and fill data
gaps in order to systematically draw conclusions about key
science questions. Subject experts base their judgments on
the body of scientific evidence using information ranging from
direct experimental evidence to theoretical insights.

During a two-day workshop, groups of experts focused on key
ecosystem processes such as salt marsh sediment  retention,
provision of salt marsh sparrow nesting habitat, and shorebird
access to mudflat feeding habitat.
The experts constructed conceptual models of the system which
served as a basis for structuring a series of questions about key
processes and their interrelationships. Different model pathways
were analyzed to identify where major shifts may be likely in order to
determine how the systems are sensitive to climate changes. With this
information, it was possible to link process variables to management
actions that could reduce the negative impacts of climate change.

Vulnerability Assessments in Support of the Climate Ready
Estuaries Program: A Novel Approach Using Expert Judgment,
Volume I: Results for the San Francisco Estuary Partnership
(Final Report)

Vulnerability Assessments in Support of the Climate Ready
Estuaries Program: A Novel Approach Using Expert
Judgment, Volume II: Results for the Massachusetts Bays
Program (Final Report)

A king tide is simply the highest regular tide of the year. It provides an excellent opportunity to
communicate about impacts of sea level rise in coastal communities because sea level rise will make
today's king tides become the future's everyday tides. King tide photography shows people what sea
level rise will be like in their communities.
Documentary photography campaigns began in Australia and then crossed the Pacific to the U.S.
NOAA's Coastal Services Center and the San Francisco Bay Conservation and Development Commission
have been coordinating West Coast activities. Climate Ready Estuaries has been publicizing king tide
opportunities and local efforts on the Gulf and Atlantic coasts.

In October 2011, ten NEPs engaged the public about sea level rise through  photo competitions, news
articles, social media, and other opportunities. Climate Ready Estuaries hosted an 'after-action' webinar
with the West Coast leads and the participating  NEPs to share lessons learned, success stories, and next
steps. We look forward to more king tide activities in the coming years!

                 Sea level rise will make today's king tides
                     become the future's everyday tides.
           Photos courtesy of Mike Fedosh via New York-New Jersey Harbor and Estuary Program
           Photos courtesy of Tampa Bay Estuary Program
           Photos courtesy of Justin Eddings via Long Isalnd Sound Study


                                 A glimpse of the future
Photo courtesy of Nicole Fel'Dotto via Piscataqua
Region Estuaries Partnership
Photo courtesy of Tim Hayes via Piscataqua Region
Estuaries Partnership
Photo courtesy of Matt Liebman via Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program
Photo courtesy of Jim Lee via Piscataqua Region
Estuaries Partnership
Photo courtesy of Sarasota Bay National Estuary

        Albemarle-Pamlico NEP

        Barnegat Bay Partnership

           Buzzards Bay NEP

      Casco Bay Estuary Partnership

         Charlotte Harbor  NEP

        Indian River Lagoon NEP

        Long  Island Sound  Study
  NY-NJ Harbor and Estuary Program

  Partnership for the Delaware Estuary

       Peconic Estuary Program

Piscataqua Region Estuaries Partnership

       Puget Sound Partnership

   San Francisco Estuary Partnership

     San Juan Bay Estuary Program
Lower Columbia River Estuary Partnership   Santa Monica Bay Restoration Commission
      Massachusetts Bays Program

            Mobile Bay NEP
     Sarasota Bay Estuary Program

      Tampa Bay Estuary Program
             Morro Bay NEP

    Narragansett Bay Estuary Program
    Tillamook Estuaries Partnership

           Climate Ready Estuaries 2012 Progress Report (2012)

 Climate Change and Coastal Watersheds: Adaptation to Attain Clean Water
                  Goals and Sustainable Coasts (2012)

        Lessons Learned from the Climate Ready Estuaries Program:
              New England Climate Ready Estuaries (2012)

  Climate Change Risk Management: CRE Adaptation Projects and the Risk
                      Management Process (2012)

Vulnerability Assessments in Support of the Climate Ready Estuaries Program:
              A Novel Approach to using Expert Judgement
      Volume I: Results for the San Francisco Estuary Partnership (2012)
Volume II: Results for the Massachusetts Bays National Estuary Program (2012)

           Climate Ready Estuaries 2011 Progress Report (2011)

     Lessons Learned from the Climate Ready Estuaries Program (2011)

                       Rolling Easements (2011)

           Climate Ready Estuaries 2010 Progress Report (2010)

           Climate Ready Estuaries 2009 Progress Report (2009)

         Synthesis of Adaptation Options for Coastal Areas (2009)
                     CLIMATE  READY
                            ESTUARI ES

                            CLIMATE READY
Office of Water
December 2012

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