Data Management Plan for the California LCC project:

Sea-level rise modeling across the California salt marsh gradient

Table of Contents
Data Input - New Collections
  1   Marsh Elevation
  2   Vegetation
  3   Effects of climate change on tidal marshes along a latitudinal gradient in California
  4   Bed sediment flux
  5   Marsh Accretion

Data Input - Existing Collections
  1   Local Weather Station Data
  2   Wildlife Surveys

Data Output - Product or Deliverables
  1   Continuous Digital Elevation Models (DEMs)
  2   Sediment Transport Models
  3   Habitat Response Models
  4   Paleo-accretion Information
  5   SLR response model

Not Data - non-data Products
  1   CA LCC webinar
  2   CERCC Fact Sheet published in "Climate Change" Newsletter, Western Ecological Research Center
  3   Dissemination Workshop: Tijuana Slough
  4   Project Website
  5   Final Report for Sea-Level Rise Response Modeling for San Francisco Bay Estuary Tidal Marshes
  6   Importance of biogeomorphic and spatial properties in assessing a tidal salt marsh vulnerability to sea-level rise
  7   Ecological effects of climate change on salt marsh wildlife: a case study from a highly urbanized estuary
  8   Fate of endangered species in the San Francisco Bay salt marshes with sea-level rise
  9   Dissemination Workshop: Seal Beach
  10   Dissemination Workshop: San Pablo Bay
  11   Dissemination Workshop: Humboldt Bay
  12   Dissemination Workshop: Siletz Bay
  13   Dissemination Workshop: Willapa Bay
  14   Dissemination Workshop: Nisqually River
  15   Even a marsh can drown
  16   Final Report: Assessing coastal manager science needs and disseminating science results for planning

Data Input - Existing Collections
1Local Weather Station Data
DescriptionHourly regional weather data for weather stations nearest to field sites.
SourceNational Climatic Data Center (www.ncdc.noaa.gov)
FormatTabular datasets
Processing and WorkflowConvert measurements to appropriate units.
Backup and StorageBacked up on USGS Western Ecological Research Center server.
Volume Estimate300 MB
Access and SharingNo access restriction. Data is distributed by the National Climatic Data Center (www.ncdc.noaa.gov).
RestrictionsNo restrictions.
CitationNational Climatic Data Center (www.ncdc.noaa.gov)
Commons Cataloged Web ResourceNational Climatic Data Center

2Wildlife Surveys
DescriptionPacific coast satellite and radio telemetry datasets as well as site specific historic survey datasets
SourceCollected by PIs and collaborators
FormatX, Y coordinates, arcgis shapefiles, and excel/access databases
MetadataEML
Backup and StorageBacked up on USGS Western Ecological Research Center Server
Volume Estimate50MB
Access and Sharingread
RestrictionsNone. Collected by PIs and collaborators
CitationUSGS Western Ecological Research Center Server
ContactJohn Y. Takekawa, john_takekawa@usgs.gov, 707-562-2000

Data Input - New Collections
1Marsh Elevation
Deliverable TypeDatasets / Database
DescriptionDetermine local marsh elevations at study sites.
NCCWSC Collection ProtocolsBased on protocols established by the USGS Western Ecological Research Center using Leica Viva Real-Time Kinematic (RTK) Global Positioning System (GPS) Rover (Leica Geosystems Inc., Norcross, GA) (Takekawa et al. 2012).
FormatPoints (shapefile)
Processing and WorkflowRTK GPS to survey elevations along transects
Quality ChecksLocal elevation control stations via Leica base stations, National Geodetic Survey benchmarks, established data cross-checks.
MetadataFGDC
Backup and StorageBacked up on USGS Western Ecological Research Center server.
Volume Estimate100 MB
Exclusive Use EmbargoProject data will be made publically available concomitant with publication of results in peer-reviewed journal or within 2 years time, whichever comes first.
RestrictionsData will be fully available for reports and plans. We require that permission be requested to use the dataset for publications, except for project partners.
Linkhttps://www.sciencebase.gov/catalog/item/504756d5e4b067bd38f7f457
ContactJohn Y. Takekawa, john_takekawa@usgs.gov, 707-562-2000

2Vegetation
Deliverable TypeDatasets / Database
DescriptionSite specific salt marsh and submerged aquatic vegetation surveyed at 25% of elevation and bathymetric survey points with a 0.25 square meter quadrat.
NCCWSC Collection ProtocolsVegetation sampling based on USGS standard operating procedures and established methodologies (http://www.tidalmarshmonitoring.org/monitoring-methods-vegetation-transect-plots.php).
FormatAccess database/tabular.
Processing and WorkflowField data collection, entered into Access database. Summary statistics calculated and disseminated in figures and tables.
Quality ChecksCross-check replicate data collected by 2 observers. Compare to results of previous studies.
MetadataEML
Backup and StorageBacked up on USGS Western Ecological Research Center server.
Volume Estimate50 MB
Exclusive Use EmbargoProject data will be made publically available concomitant with publication of results in peer-reviewed journal or within 2 years time, whichever comes first.
RestrictionsData will be fully available for reports and plans. We require that permission be requested to use the dataset for publications, except for project partners.
Linkhttps://www.sciencebase.gov/catalog/item/504756d5e4b067bd38f7f457
ContactJohn Y. Takekawa, john_takekawa@usgs.gov, 707-562-2000

3Effects of climate change on tidal marshes along a latitudinal gradient in California
Deliverable TypeDatasets / Database
DescriptionContinuous monitoring of tidal cycle, high water events, salinity, and temperature at all study sites.
NCCWSC Collection ProtocolsWater and barologgers (Solinst, Hobo) surveyed with Leica RTK GPS at deployment, following protocol of Takekawa et al. 2012.
FormatTabular data
Processing and WorkflowCompensate water levels for barometric pressure, calculate summary statistics for other analysis, disseminated in figures and tables.
Quality ChecksComparision to and calibration with long-term waterloggers near each study site.
MetadataEML
Backup and StorageBacked up on USGS Western Ecological Research Center server.
Volume Estimate100 MB
Exclusive Use EmbargoProject data will be made publically available concomitant with publication of results in peer-reviewed journal or within 2 years time, whichever comes first.
RestrictionsData will be fully available for reports and plans. We require that permission be requested to use the dataset for publications, except for project partners.
Linkhttps://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/ofr20161125
ContactJohn Y. Takekawa, john_takekawa@usgs.gov, 707-562-2000

4Bed sediment flux
Deliverable TypeDatasets / Database
DescriptionSuspended sediment concentrations (SSC) at each study site for use in developing sediment budgets.
NCCWSC Collection ProtocolsSuspended sediment concentrations (SSC) will be measured in 15 minute intervals using an acoustic Doppler current profiler (ADCP, RDI Channel Master 600) and optical backscatter sensor (OBS), calibrated with locally collected sediment samples (Gartner 2004).
FormatTabular data
Processing and WorkflowCalibrate turbidity sensor readings with sediment samples. Analyze SSCs for relationships with tidal cycle and weather and compare SSCs across study sites.
Quality ChecksQA/QC with sediment samples and verification of methods from expert opinion.
MetadataEML
Backup and StorageBacked up on USGS Western Ecological Research Center server.
Volume Estimate100 MB
Exclusive Use EmbargoProject data will be made publically available concomitant with publication of results in peer-reviewed journal or within 2 years time, whichever comes first.
RestrictionsData will be fully available for reports and plans. We require that permission be requested to use the dataset for publications, except for project partners.
ContactJohn Y. Takekawa, john_takekawa@usgs.gov, 707-562-2000

5Marsh Accretion
Deliverable TypeDatasets / Database
DescriptionMeasure marsh vertical rates to determine if it is keeping up with SLR at each study site.
NCCWSC Collection ProtocolsCore collection via Russian peat borer. Dating via marker horizons at the Agriculture and Natural Resources Laboratory, UC Davis (Bellucci et al. 2007). Sediment traps with filter paper (Reed 1989).
FormatTabular data
Processing and WorkflowCollect cores, slice into 2cm sections, freeze. Date using radioisotopes. Provides historic accretion rates.
Quality ChecksLaboratory QA/QC including duplicate sample analyses, standard reference materials, and blanks.
MetadataEML
Backup and StorageBacked up on USGS Western Ecological Research Center server.
Volume Estimate100 MB
Exclusive Use EmbargoProject data will be made publically available concomitant with publication of results in peer-reviewed journal or within 2 years time, whichever comes first.
RestrictionsData will be fully available for reports and plans. We require that permission be requested to use the dataset for publications, except for project partners.
Linkhttps://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/ofr20161125
ContactJohn Y. Takekawa, john_takekawa@usgs.gov, 707-562-2000

Data Output - Product or Deliverables
1Continuous Digital Elevation Models (DEMs)
Deliverable TypeDatasets / Database
DescriptionElevation and bathymetric survey data synthesized into a continuous digital elevation model (DEM) in ArcGIS.
FormatGeotiff (raster)
Processing and WorkflowInterpolation of RTK GPS survey elevations and bathymetry data using ArcGIS.
Quality ChecksCalculate differences in intersection points of transects, compare to bathymetric and sediment elevation pins, report standard errors (Takekawa et al. 2010).
MetadataFGDC
Backup and StorageBacked up on USGS Western Ecological Research Center server/
Volume Estimate300 MB
Access and SharingNo Access.
Exclusive Use EmbargoProject data will be made publically available concomitant with publication of results in peer-reviewed journal or within 2 years time, whichever comes first.
RestrictionsData will be fully available for reports and plans. We require that permission be requested to use the dataset for publications, except for project partners.
ContactJohn Y. Takekawa, john_takekawa@usgs.gov, 707-562-2000
Commons Cataloged DatasetSan Francisco Bay Marsh Elevation Models

2Sediment Transport Models
Deliverable TypeDatasets / Database
DescriptionSediment transport models to understand the interface among shallow subtidal-mud flat-salt marsh zones, and the evolution and maintenance of marsh and mud flats.
FormatTabular data and Geotiff (raster).
Processing and WorkflowDevelop general relationship between suspended sediment concentrations (SSC) and intertidal deposition rates, model change through time.
Quality ChecksSensitivity analysis of input parameters.
MetadataEML
Backup and StorageBacked up on USGS Western Ecological Research Center server.
Volume Estimate750 MB
Access and SharingNo Access.
Exclusive Use EmbargoProject data will be made publically available concomitant with publication of results in peer-reviewed journal or within 2 years time, whichever comes first.
RestrictionsData will be fully available for reports and plans. We require that permission be requested to use the dataset for publications, except for project partners.
Linkhttp://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12237-015-0056-y
ContactJohn Y. Takekawa, john_takekawa@usgs.gov, 707-562-2000

3Habitat Response Models
Deliverable TypeDatasets / Database
DescriptionResponse of each habitat zone (marsh, mud flat, shallow subtidal) to projected SLR, salinity, and temperature
FormatShapefile (vector) and geotiff (raster)
Processing and WorkflowDevelop relationships between habitat zones and environmental parameters, use relationships to drive response models through time with SLR and changing climate.
Quality ChecksSensitivity analysis will be conducted to measure importance of physical parameters.
MetadataFGDC
Backup and StorageBacked up on USGS Western Ecological Research Center server.
Volume Estimate1 GB
Access and SharingNo Access.
Exclusive Use EmbargoProject data will be made publically available concomitant with publication of results in peer-reviewed journal or within 2 years time, whichever comes first.
RestrictionsData will be fully available for reports and plans. We require that permission be requested to use the dataset for publications, except for project partners.
Linkhttps://www.sciencebase.gov/catalog/items?q=Thorne%2C%20Karen&filter0=facets.facetName%3DRaster&offset=20&max=20
ContactJohn Y. Takekawa, john_takekawa@usgs.gov, 707-562-2000

4Paleo-accretion Information
Deliverable TypeDatasets / Database
DescriptionSedimentation rates, rate variability, timing of sedimentary and marsh depositional changes, salinity, and vegetation habitat histories will be developed. Models of sediment accretion rates and marsh elevational adjustments to sea level changes and impacts of changing sea levels on dominant vegetation and nesting habitat will be developed.
FormatTabular data and geotiff (raster)
Processing and WorkflowLow, mid, and high elevation locations will be selected and a 50-cm surface sediment core will be taken with a Livingstone piston corer. Cores will be analyzed for basic sedimentology, presence of mollusks, plant macrofossils, and gypsum layers.
Quality ChecksOrganic macrofossils will be aged with high precision radiocarbon data at the UC Irvine Keck AMS Laboratory.
MetadataFGDC
Backup and StorageBacked up on USGS Western Ecological Research Center server.
Volume Estimate1 GB
Access and SharingNo Access.
Exclusive Use EmbargoProject data will be made publically available concomitant with publication of results in peer-reviewed journal or within 2 years time, whichever comes first.
RestrictionsData will be fully available for reports and plans. We require that permission be requested to use the dataset for publications, except for project partners.
Linkhttps://pubs.er.usgs.gov/publication/ofr20161125
ContactJohn Y. Takekawa, john_takekawa@usgs.gov, 707-562-2000

5SLR response model
Deliverable TypeDatasets / Database
DescriptionRefined SLR response model with distribution dataset
FormatAccess database, shapefile (vector) and geotiff (raster); Publication in peer-reviewed journal
Quality ChecksUSGS and journal peer review
MetadataFGDC
Backup and StorageBacked up on USGS Western Ecological Research Center Server
Access and SharingRead
Exclusive Use EmbargoProject data will be made publically available concomitant with publication of results in peer-reviewed journal or within 2 years time, whichever comes first.
RestrictionsData will be fully available for reports and plans. We require that permission be requested to use the dataset for publications, except for project partners.
Linkhttps://www.sciencebase.gov/catalog/items?q=Thorne%2C%20Karen&filter0=facets.facetName%3DRaster&offset=20&max=20
ContactJohn Y. Takekawa, john_takekawa@usgs.gov, 707-562-2000

Not Data - non-data Products
1CA LCC webinar
Deliverable TypeTraining / Outreach / Workshop : Webinar
DescriptionWebinar title: 21st Century Sea Level Rise and the Fate of California Coastal Marshes - A Multidisciplinary Examination by USGS - UCLA Researchers
Access and Sharinghttp://californialcc.org/webinars/21st-century-sea-level-rise-and-fate-california-coastal-marshes-multidisciplinary
Linkhttp://californialcc.org/webinars/21st-century-sea-level-rise-and-fate-california-coastal-marshes-multidisciplinary

2CERCC Fact Sheet published in "Climate Change" Newsletter, Western Ecological Research Center
Deliverable TypePublication : Article
DescriptionCERCC Fact Sheet article.
Linkhttp://climate.calcommons.org/sites/default/files/reports/CERCC%20Fact%20Sheetv3.pdf

3Dissemination Workshop: Tijuana Slough
Deliverable TypeTraining / Outreach / Workshop
DescriptionTo facilitate communication and outreach of our CERCC results, we will convene managers, biologists, Tribes, and other important decision makers and partners and host in-person workshops with stakeholders in our coastal study site areas. Our objectives are to: (1) Disseminate site-specific baseline data and modeling results, reveal coast-wide trends, and identify data gaps; (2) Identify how local climate science results may be incorporated into habitat conservation, planning, and adaptation strategies; and (3) Recruit stakeholder involvement in developing a decision-making tool (Envision). Recent travel budget restrictions have limited the ability of many managers to attend meetings and learn about recent climate science studies. Our team proposes to bring results to the field by providing workshops at field sites to facilitate interactions that are mission-critical. Thus, rather than burdening managers to obtain travel exemptions, we will develop a “roadshow” to travel to coastal areas for 2-3 day discussions.
Linkhttp://climate.calcommons.org/article/SLR-workshops

4Project Website
Deliverable TypeWebsite
DescriptionWebsite where description and products of the project can be found.
Linkhttp://www.werc.usgs.gov/SFBaySLR
Commons Cataloged Web ResourceModeling Sea-Level Rise in San Francisco Bay Estuary

5Final Report for Sea-Level Rise Response Modeling for San Francisco Bay Estuary Tidal Marshes
Deliverable TypeReport
DescriptionUSGS Open File Report: Final Report for Sea-Level Rise Response Modeling for San Francisco Bay Estuary Tidal Marshes (PDF | 7.7MB) Interactive Electronic Product (includes report, animations, GIS files and all sources included on this project webpage): Sea-Level Rise Response Modeling for San Francisco Bay Estuary Tidal Marshes (ZIP | 293MB) CERCC Study Map (All U.S. West Coast sites being studied by the Coastal Ecosystem Response to Climate Change team): CSC site map (PDF | 3MB)
RestrictionsThe data contained on this website may be cited and analyzed for summary reports but not used for scientific publication without obtaining permission from the original authors. Please cite the U. S. Geological Survey scientists and appropriate coauthors (see metadata) if these data are used or included in developed products.
Archive OrganizationsUSGS
Linkhttp://www.werc.usgs.gov/ProjectSubWebPage.aspx?SubWebPageID=47&ProjectID=238

6Importance of biogeomorphic and spatial properties in assessing a tidal salt marsh vulnerability to sea-level rise
Deliverable TypePublication : Article
DescriptionCitation: Thorne, KM, DL Elliott-Fisk, GD Wylie, WM Perry, and JY Takekawa. 2013. Importance of biogeomorphic and spatial properties in assessing a tidal salt marsh vulnerability to sea-level rise. Estuaries and Coasts. doi: 10.1007/s12237-013-9725-x
Linkhttps://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s12237-013-9725-x

7Ecological effects of climate change on salt marsh wildlife: a case study from a highly urbanized estuary
Deliverable TypePublication : Article
DescriptionCitation: Thorne, KM, JY Takekawa, DL Elliott-Fisk. 2012. Ecological effects of climate change on salt marsh wildlife: a case study from a highly urbanized estuary. Journal of Coastal Research 28(6): 1477-1487. doi: 10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-11-00136.1
Linkhttp://www.werc.usgs.gov/ProductDetails.aspx?ID=4811

8Fate of endangered species in the San Francisco Bay salt marshes with sea-level rise
Deliverable TypeReport
DescriptionTakekawa, J., K. Thorne, C. Overton, M. Casazza, K. Swanson, J. Drexler, D. Schoellhamer and K. Buffington. 2012. In-press. Fate of endangered species in the San Francisco Bay salt marshes with sea-level rise. U.S. Geological Survey National Climate Change Wildlife Science Center. Open-File Report 2012-xx.
Linkhttp://www.jcronline.org/doi/abs/10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-11-00136.1

9Dissemination Workshop: Seal Beach
Deliverable TypeTraining / Outreach / Workshop
DescriptionTo facilitate communication and outreach of our CERCC results, we will convene managers, biologists, Tribes, and other important decision makers and partners and host in-person workshops with stakeholders in our coastal study site areas. Our objectives are to: (1) Disseminate site-specific baseline data and modeling results, reveal coast-wide trends, and identify data gaps; (2) Identify how local climate science results may be incorporated into habitat conservation, planning, and adaptation strategies; and (3) Recruit stakeholder involvement in developing a decision-making tool (Envision). Recent travel budget restrictions have limited the ability of many managers to attend meetings and learn about recent climate science studies. Our team proposes to bring results to the field by providing workshops at field sites to facilitate interactions that are mission-critical. Thus, rather than burdening managers to obtain travel exemptions, we will develop a “roadshow” to travel to coastal areas for 2-3 day discussions.
Linkhttp://climate.calcommons.org/article/SLR-workshops

10Dissemination Workshop: San Pablo Bay
Deliverable TypeTraining / Outreach / Workshop
DescriptionTo facilitate communication and outreach of our CERCC results, we will convene managers, biologists, Tribes, and other important decision makers and partners and host in-person workshops with stakeholders in our coastal study site areas. Our objectives are to: (1) Disseminate site-specific baseline data and modeling results, reveal coast-wide trends, and identify data gaps; (2) Identify how local climate science results may be incorporated into habitat conservation, planning, and adaptation strategies; and (3) Recruit stakeholder involvement in developing a decision-making tool (Envision). Recent travel budget restrictions have limited the ability of many managers to attend meetings and learn about recent climate science studies. Our team proposes to bring results to the field by providing workshops at field sites to facilitate interactions that are mission-critical. Thus, rather than burdening managers to obtain travel exemptions, we will develop a “roadshow” to travel to coastal areas for 2-3 day discussions.
Linkhttp://climate.calcommons.org/article/SLR-workshops

11Dissemination Workshop: Humboldt Bay
Deliverable TypeTraining / Outreach / Workshop
DescriptionTo facilitate communication and outreach of our CERCC results, we will convene managers, biologists, Tribes, and other important decision makers and partners and host in-person workshops with stakeholders in our coastal study site areas. Our objectives are to: (1) Disseminate site-specific baseline data and modeling results, reveal coast-wide trends, and identify data gaps; (2) Identify how local climate science results may be incorporated into habitat conservation, planning, and adaptation strategies; and (3) Recruit stakeholder involvement in developing a decision-making tool (Envision). Recent travel budget restrictions have limited the ability of many managers to attend meetings and learn about recent climate science studies. Our team proposes to bring results to the field by providing workshops at field sites to facilitate interactions that are mission-critical. Thus, rather than burdening managers to obtain travel exemptions, we will develop a “roadshow” to travel to coastal areas for 2-3 day discussions.
Linkhttp://climate.calcommons.org/article/SLR-workshops

12Dissemination Workshop: Siletz Bay
Deliverable TypeTraining / Outreach / Workshop
DescriptionTo facilitate communication and outreach of our CERCC results, we will convene managers, biologists, Tribes, and other important decision makers and partners and host in-person workshops with stakeholders in our coastal study site areas. Our objectives are to: (1) Disseminate site-specific baseline data and modeling results, reveal coast-wide trends, and identify data gaps; (2) Identify how local climate science results may be incorporated into habitat conservation, planning, and adaptation strategies; and (3) Recruit stakeholder involvement in developing a decision-making tool (Envision). Recent travel budget restrictions have limited the ability of many managers to attend meetings and learn about recent climate science studies. Our team proposes to bring results to the field by providing workshops at field sites to facilitate interactions that are mission-critical. Thus, rather than burdening managers to obtain travel exemptions, we will develop a “roadshow” to travel to coastal areas for 2-3 day discussions.
Linkhttp://climate.calcommons.org/article/SLR-workshops

13Dissemination Workshop: Willapa Bay
Deliverable TypeTraining / Outreach / Workshop
DescriptionTo facilitate communication and outreach of our CERCC results, we will convene managers, biologists, Tribes, and other important decision makers and partners and host in-person workshops with stakeholders in our coastal study site areas. Our objectives are to: (1) Disseminate site-specific baseline data and modeling results, reveal coast-wide trends, and identify data gaps; (2) Identify how local climate science results may be incorporated into habitat conservation, planning, and adaptation strategies; and (3) Recruit stakeholder involvement in developing a decision-making tool (Envision). Recent travel budget restrictions have limited the ability of many managers to attend meetings and learn about recent climate science studies. Our team proposes to bring results to the field by providing workshops at field sites to facilitate interactions that are mission-critical. Thus, rather than burdening managers to obtain travel exemptions, we will develop a “roadshow” to travel to coastal areas for 2-3 day discussions.
Linkhttp://climate.calcommons.org/article/SLR-workshops

14Dissemination Workshop: Nisqually River
Deliverable TypeTraining / Outreach / Workshop
DescriptionTo facilitate communication and outreach of our CERCC results, we will convene managers, biologists, Tribes, and other important decision makers and partners and host in-person workshops with stakeholders in our coastal study site areas. Our objectives are to: (1) Disseminate site-specific baseline data and modeling results, reveal coast-wide trends, and identify data gaps; (2) Identify how local climate science results may be incorporated into habitat conservation, planning, and adaptation strategies; and (3) Recruit stakeholder involvement in developing a decision-making tool (Envision). Recent travel budget restrictions have limited the ability of many managers to attend meetings and learn about recent climate science studies. Our team proposes to bring results to the field by providing workshops at field sites to facilitate interactions that are mission-critical. Thus, rather than burdening managers to obtain travel exemptions, we will develop a “roadshow” to travel to coastal areas for 2-3 day discussions.
Linkhttp://climate.calcommons.org/article/SLR-workshops

15Even a marsh can drown
Deliverable TypePublication : Article
DescriptionNews article in the Orange County Register. Content pasted here: BY AARON ORLOWSKI / STAFF WRITER Published: Sept. 27, 2014 Updated: Sept. 29, 2014 3:44 p.m. Sara Briley, the marine restoration coordinator for the nonprofit Orange County Coastkeeper, lowers a Secchi disk into the back bay of Newport Harbor while checking the water's quality and depth. KEVIN SULLIVAN , STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER What is eel grass? • Eel grass: An underwater plant that grows about 2 feet tall in seawater less than 10 feet deep. It grows in intertidal areas and is a habitat for small fish. • Other benefits: Reduces erosion by stabilizing sediment; increases water clarity by removing nutrients and particulates. With the tide coming in, a paddleboarder makes his way across rising waters in Newport Back Bay. Within hours, the tide will rise by 4 feet. But in 15 years, high tide will jump up an additional foot – and an extra 2 feet by 2050, experts warn. And by the end of this century, climate change could mean seawater 5 feet higher. With ocean levels rising, United States Geological Survey scientists predict the grassy wetlands growing on either side of the channel – rife with a variety of plants, land animals and birds – will drown in the coming decades and become lifeless mudflats. But underwater and unseen grows evidence of one of the bay’s few defenses against rising seas. And maybe, just maybe, if the habitat is healthy enough, the Back Bay will survive. Rising seas, drowning wetlands Researchers have yet to release their official study of the effect of rising seas on the wetlands in Newport’s Back Bay. But preliminary results are stark. Best case: By the end of the century, 60 percent of the wetlands will disappear. Worst case: All the wetlands will be gone. “Under mid to high rates of sea level rise, Newport’s Back Bay is flooded out by 2100. So it’s pretty much gone,” said Karen Thorne, a research ecologist at USGS. How much sea levels will rise in the coming century isn’t settled because scientists only know the broad strokes of how climate change will impact the Earth. The details of how many degrees the temperature will rise and where remain hazy. There are several unknown factors, including whether greenhouse gases will be reduced. If there is no reduction, sea levels are predicted to rise nearly 5.5 feet. Under midlevel scenarios, scientists predict a rise of 3 feet. In both cases, however, Back Bay’s wetlands perish. Higher water levels will prevent the grasses and reeds from growing. “It’s no longer wetland. It’s inundated by sea. It’s open water. It’s drowned,” Thorne said. “As the water gets higher and higher, the plants die back and you get more water and mud.” In many areas, scientists say, encroaching seas will push habitat further inland, converting it into wetlands. But Back Bay is different. Surrounded for the most part by cliffs and bluffs, the wetlands have few places to retreat to. The wetlands definitely can’t retreat up the sides of the bluffs, but maybe they can retreat upstream. If not, losing the wetlands could mean the death of some species in the area. Many bird species rely on the wetlands, such as the light-footed clapper rail, an endangered hen-sized marsh bird, and Belding’s Savannah sparrow, a small, rare brown bird. Other uncommon species such as peregrine falcons and brown pelicans also depend on the wetlands. “The endangered species that Newport currently has all rely on the vegetation. That’s their habitat. That’s the only place they live. So once that’s gone, so are they,” Thorne said. Complicating matters, the wetlands aren’t threatened just by sea level rise. A host of other factors already have damaged them. Development around Back Bay has fragmented habitat, and fertilizers and pollutants washing off lawns and streets have harmed plant and animal life. That’s where restoration comes in. One last stand An Orange County Coastkeeper boat cuts across the waters of Back Bay and pulls up to the DeAnza Peninsula, a spit of land north of the Pacific Coast Highway Bridge. Earlier this summer, volunteer divers planted more than 300 square meters of eel grass here, some of the only eel grass in Upper Newport Bay. On a recent day, staffers and several Coastkeeper volunteers are back to check the restoration site, a task they do once a month. Has the eel grass taken root? Will it survive? Salt marsh grasses poke out from the surface of the water and cover the sliver of land. Beneath the murky water is the eel grass, nearly invisible. Eel grass grows only in shallow water less than 10 feet deep. The eel grass restoration and other habitat restoration projects offer some of the few defenses local wetlands have against sea level rise. Make the habitat healthier, the logic goes, and it will have a better chance of surviving. Reduce the man-made threats to the habitat and birds may still have a place to nest and the fish. Add eel grass, which secures sediment, and maybe the wetlands can rise with sea levels “The more that we restore now, the better chance that these habitats will survive during climate change,” said Sarah Briley, marine restoration coordinator at Orange County Coastkeeper. The boat stops and the engine cuts off. A bird squawks. Quiet descends. Briley, a marine biology master’s student at Cal State Fullerton, pulls her wetsuit up and over her shoulders, hefts on an air tank and slips diving goggles on her face. She hunkers down on the gunwale, leans backward and splashes into the water. She paddles away from the boat, then drops below the surface of the water. Coastkeeper project manager Austin Brown, who pilots the Coastkeeper boat, watches as every couple minutes a column of bubbles appears, further and further from the boat. Restoring eel grass is no easy task, Brown said. Divers in scuba gear must carefully uproot baby bundles of eel grass from existing beds, makingsure to keep the root structures intact. They pass the seedlings from water to boat, one bundle at a time. Brown stows the plants in buckets for transport to the Coastkeeper dock, where other volunteers separate the bundles into plugs that they wrap around Popsicle sticks with biodegradable string. Divers then take the plugs out to the restoration site and plant them in a grid, a few feet between each plug. It’s just like seeding a lawn, one plug at a time. The back of Briley’s head appears in the water and she turns to find the boat. She must be in the wrong spot, she says, because there’s a thick eel grass bed underneath and the plants can’t have grown this much since the restoration planting just a couple of months ago. Brown says it’s the right bed. Briley allows, “It looked too nice to be what we just planted.” She clambers back aboard the boat. The eel grass, she says, has young bass swimming around, lots of mussels, even a stingray. “There’s fish outside the eel grass bed, but you can see a lot more inside,” she says. Is it typical to have an eel grass bed thrive after just a few months? “It’s really variable. It’s hard to know, because eel grass is really dependent on environmental conditions, which vary from year to year,” she answers. Coastkeeper volunteers have planted about 750 square meters of eel grass in Back Bay in the past three summers. It’s a feat they and other environmentalists hail. But not everyone in the bay shares that view. Can you get rid of it? Eel grass doesn’t damage boats or clog up equipment – so that’s not what bothers boat owners. Rather, eel grass comes with a host of environmental protections – too many for boat owners who want to expand their docks or build near the water. “The boat owners don’t like when you put eel grass near their boats because if you do anything to the eel grass, you have to mitigate,” Briley says. Because of habitat protections, anyone who destroys or disrupts eel grass must mitigate the destruction by paying for the restoration of 1.2 times more eel grass than destroyed. The trouble and cost of mitigation have driven some homeowners to quietly remove eel grass, according to Paul Gerst, founding commodore of the Balboa Basin Yacht Club. Gerst lived on the bay for years and just recently moved to a house on the bluff. “Eel grass is harvested here by what are called midnight farmers,” Gerst said. “Those are unofficial activities.” Gerst, who owns a dock building business now, said excessive regulatory hurdles, including eel grass mitigation, have capped the number of docks he’s built in Newport Beach. And that frustrates homeowners. “You don’t want eel grass within 15 feet of your property. You have to have a mitigation if you plan to remove it,” he said. On the Coastkeeper boat, Brown pulls up to a homeowner’s dock at outer Linda Isle. Eel grass is common here, with 70 acres growing. Brown stops for a minute to allow two Coastkeeper volunteers to dip sensors into the water to measure water conditions. A homeowner emerges from around a corner and walks toward the boat. Brown says he has stopped for just a minute to take water measurements related to eel grass. “Did you find any eel grass?” she calls over. “Yeah, there’s a good patch here,” Brown answers. “Can you get rid of it?” Contact the writer: 562-310-7684 or aorlowski@ocregister.com
Linkhttp://www.ocregister.com/articles/grass-636534-eel-wetlands.html

16Final Report: Assessing coastal manager science needs and disseminating science results for planning
Deliverable TypeReport
DescriptionFinal report on the lessons learned from the workshops and outreach accomplished by this project.

This Data Management Plan structure is based on recommendations from the Data Management Plan Guidance document from the National Climate Change and Wildlife Science Center