Understanding San Francisco Bay’s vulnerabilities to sea level rise is important for both biodiversity conservation and for management of public infrastructure. Coastal marshes provide essential ecosystem services such as water filtration and flood abatement while also providing important habitat for species of conservation concern. Improving our understanding of how tidal marsh habitats will be affected by sea level rise is important so that we maximize ecosystem services that coastal marshes provide and ensure that endemic populations of plants and animals persist into the future. For this project, marsh accretion was modeled by ESA PWA (http://www.pwa-ltd.com/index.html) using the Marsh-98 model, described here: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/8hj3d20t . The model assumes that rates of marsh plain elevation change depend on the availability of suspended sediment and organic material, water depth, and duration of inundation periods. If enough suspended sediment is available, then tidal marsh elevations can keep pace with increased inundation. Model outputs were linearly interpolated in 10-cm increments for starting elevations ranging from -3.7 to 1.7 m (relative to mean higher high water, or MHHW), and applied to a composite 5-m elevation grid (see below) for SF Bay. Results for each possible combination of projected sea level rise, sediment and organic material availability, and target year were combined to produce the scenario layers. See http://data.prbo.org/apps/sfbslr/ for interactive maps and additional details.
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