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Researchers reveal additional benefits of natural defense against rising sea levels

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Investing in the environment is benefiting California counties where projects designed to restore the natural environment are also mitigating the effects of rising sea levels, according to a new study by researchers at Stanford University. Study published on June 9 npj city sustainabilityShows that nature-based solutions such as wetland conservation and beach restoration can be as effective as concrete revetments in providing additional benefits while preventing sea level rise. increase. These benefits, such as recreational opportunities, mitigating climate change through carbon storage, and reducing nutrient pollution, provide incentives for policy makers to prioritize nature-based solutions for sea level rise.


“We are revealing the new benefits of the decisions already made about conservation. Restoration work“. Ann Gerry, Chief Strategy Officer and Chief Scientist at Stanford University, said. Natural capital project.. “Our model shows how we can naturally make more money as the community invests more.”

Gerry co-authored paper Last year, we showed how traditional approaches to combating rising sea levels can create a domino effect of environmental and economic impact on neighboring communities. The new study is the result of a partnership between San Mateo County, the San Francisco River Mouth Institute, and Stanford University’s Natural Capital Project to develop a practical, science-led plan to combat sea level rise.

Modeling solution

Using input from stakeholder workshops and scientific research on the suitability of coastline spreads for the restoration of various coastal habitats, researchers have three scenarios for adapting to sea level rise. I modeled it. The first scenario assumed that the entire coastline of San Francisco Bay was covered with concrete revetments. This is a traditional solution for controlling the ocean. In the second scenario, with conservation Restoration project Currently in progress or at various stages of planning within the county. For example, repairing salt pans or adding a beach in front of an embankment. The third scenario considered additional viable nature-based projects such as wetland protection and restoration of native seagrass and oyster beds along the coastline.

Team used investmentFree for natural capital projects, Open source softwareModel the additional benefits that may flow to people from the county’s rising sea level adaptation options. They found that conservation and restoration projects offered up to eight times the benefits of traditional solutions while providing the same level of flood protection. For example, the results show that the nature-based solutions implemented today result in six-fold reductions in stormwater pollution compared to scenarios using traditional concrete revetments. The third scenario, which proposes an additional nature-based project, results in eight-fold reduction in stormwater pollution over traditional approaches, which is an important advantage for keeping bay water clean.

Researchers meet with residents and Community group, And other government staff will co-develop the guiding principles of the county’s sea level rise adaptation plan. Among them: Prioritize actions based on nature. Make decisions using a comprehensive and impartial community-based process. Closely track processes to mitigate vulnerabilities, risks, and impacts.

“Our results will be more useful to county-wide decision makers because we were involved with the government and other stakeholders,” Gerry said. “Regionally, we have a lot of enthusiasm for nature-based solutions. We hope this work will gain momentum and help coordinate our approach to effective locations in the long run. sea ​​level rise solution. “

Ann Gerry is also a Senior Research Fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for Environmental Studies. Other co-authors of this paper are researchers at the Stanford Natural Capital Project, Jess Silver, Catherine Wyatt, Catherine Arkema, Parlein Saddle, Robert Griffin, and Stacy Wolney. Researchers at the San Francisco Estuary Institute, Julie Beagle, Jeremy Row, Ellen Plain. San Mateo County staff, Marcus Griswold, Hillary Papendik, Jasneit Sharma.


Researchers map how sea level rise adaptation strategies affect the economy and floods


For more information:
The protection and restoration of coastal habitats brings multiple benefits to urban dwellers as sea levels rise. npj city sustainability (2022). DOI: 10.1038 / s42949-022-00056-y

Quote: Researchers obtained sea level rise on June 9, 2022 from https: //phys.org/news/2022-06-reveal-add-on-benefits-natural- (June 9, 2022). Reveals the additional benefits of natural defense against Defenses.html

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Researchers reveal additional benefits of natural defense against rising sea levels

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