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State and Local Governments Plan for Development of Most Land Vulnerable to Rising Sea Level along the U.S. Atlantic Coast
Titus, J.G., D.E. Hudgens, D.L. Trescott, M. Craghan, W.H. Nuckols, C.H. Hershner, J. M. Kassakian, C.J. Linn, P.G. Merritt, T.M. McCue, J.F. O'Connell, J. Tanski, and J. Wang. 2009. State and Local Governments Plan for Development of Most Land Vulnerable to Rising Sea Level along the U.S. Atlantic Coast, Environmental Research Letters 4 044008. (doi: 10.1088/1748-9326/4/4/044008).Full-text html version of the article
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Peer-reviewed supplementary material. The supplementary material documents the data sources, explains some of the study's limitations, and includes all of the tables and figures referenced in the article itself. The supplementary material is reviewed along with the rest of the manuscript, and hence is technically part of the paper.
The author's more user-friendly electronic versions of this paper. Our pdf (50 pp 8.5 MB) has both the main text and the supplemental material in a single file. So within that file, whenever you see a reference to a supplemental figure or table, the link takes you directly to that figure or table. Our online version also links you to the specific supplemental figure or table discussed in the text.
Rising sea level threatens existing coastal wetlands. Overall ecosystems could often survive by migrating inland, if adjacent lands remained vacant. Based on 131 state and local land use plans, we estimate that almost 60% of the land below 1 m along the US Atlantic Coast is expected to be developed and thus unavailable for the inland migration of wetlands. Less than 10% of the land below 1 m has been set aside for conservation. Environmental regulators routinely grant permits for shore protection structures (which block wetland migration) based on a federal finding that these structures have no cumulative environmental impact. Our results suggest that shore protection does have a cumulative impact. If sea level rise is taken into account, wetland policies that previously seemed to comply with federal law probably violate the Clean Water Act.
For previous reports on the implications of rising sea level, go to More Sea Level Rise Reports.
Governments Plan for Development of Most Land Vulnerable to Rising Sea (PDF, 7 pp., 1.3 MB, was originally published in Environmental Research Letters , Issue 3, Volume 4 (2009).