Threats to US West Coast Estuaries and Wetlands

Earthquakes aren’t the only concern on the Pacific Coast. Though sea level rise is most often paired with Miami’s future, thousands of miles away, tidal wetlands along the West coast are vulnerable to sea level rise too, particularly in California and Oregon. Focusing on 14 estuaries on the West Coast, a new study published Wednesday in Science Advances localizes the future destruction due to sea level rise.

“We felt like sea level rise concerns on the Pacific Coast have largely been missing in the literature beyond local work done in California and a few places,” Karen Thorne, lead author and principal investigator at the U.S. Geological Survey’s Western Ecological Research Center, told Newsweek. The West coast has specific conditions that require a closer look at how the wetlands are affected—including California’s highly urbanized coastlines to the Pacific Northwest’s steep, rocky terrain. “All of our wetlands are constrained into these small pockets of estuaries,” Thorne said.

Source: U.S. Pacific coastal wetland resilience and vulnerability to sea-level rise