Loss of existing coastal non-deltaic wetlands with sea level rise is inevitable, and not much can be done to avoid that loss. As sea level rises, water will become too deep where wetlands are now, converting those areas to open water and eliminating all of the functions and benefits that accrue from coastal wetlands, for example essential fish habitat. Even the most conservative estimates of a half foot sea level rise will drown many wetlands. Given the legal and policy frameworks, what options do we have?
There are two primary management options to insure that some coastal wetlands will be present in the coming decades and centuries in this changing environment: raise the elevation of drowned areas by creating/restoring new wetlands, or insure that replacement wetlands can form as inundation occurs through a process of managed retreat. Additionally, options to defer action and the combine approaches can be explored as well.
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