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Climate Change Adaptation Resource Center (ARC-X)

Climate Impacts on Water Management and Ecosystem Protection

The adaptation strategies provided below are intended to inform and assist communities in identifying potential alternatives. They are illustrative and are presented to help communities consider possible ways to address anticipated current and future climate threats to contaminated site management.

Estuary
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Case study available = Case Study available

Climate Impacts

 

Sea Level Rise

Flooding & Stormwater Management

Erosion & Sedimentation

  • Maintain and Restore WetlandsCase study available
    • Create a regional sediment management (RSM) plan
    • Develop adaptive stormwater management practices (e.g., promoting natural buffers, adequate culvert sizing)
    • Maintain Sediment Transport
    • Promote wetland accretion by introducing sediment
    • Prohibit hard shore protection
    • Trap or add sand through beach nourishment – the addition of sand to a shoreline to enhance or create a beach area
    • Trap sand through construction of groins – a barrier type structure that traps sand by interrupting longshore transport
  • Maintain Water Quality & Availability
    • Design new coastal drainage system
  • Use "Hard" Shoreline Maintenance
    • Harden shorelines with breakwaters – structures placed offshore to reduce wave action
    • Harden shorelines with bulkheads – anchored, vertical barriers constructed at the shoreline to block erosion
    • Harden shorelines with revetments that armor the slope face of the shoreline
    • Harden shorelines with seawalls
  • Use "Soft" Shoreline MaintenanceCase study available
    • Composite systems – incorporate elements of two or more methods (e.g., breakwater, sand fill, and planting vegetation)
    • Create dunes along backshore of beach; includes planting dune grasses and sand fencing to induce settling of wind-blown sands
    • Increase shoreline setbacks
    • Plant SAV (such as sea grasses) to stabilize sediment and reduce erosion
    • Redefine riverine flood hazard zones to match projected expansion of flooding frequency and extent
    • Remove shoreline hardening structures such as bulkheads, dikes, and other engineered structures to allow for shoreline migration
    • Replace shoreline armoring with living shorelines – through beach nourishment, planting vegetation, etc
    • Restrict or prohibit development in erosion zones
    • Use natural breakwaters of oysters (or install other natural breakwaters) to dissipate wave action and protect shorelines

Wetland Protection

Change in Fish Species

Estuaries

  • Maintain and Restore Wetlands Case study available
  • Maintain Water Quality & AvailabilityCase study available
    • Create water markets – transferring land and water from agricultural to community use
    • Design new coastal drainage system
    • Develop adaptive stormwater management practices (e.g., remove impervious surface, replace undersized culverts)
    • Establish or broaden "use containment areas" to allocate and cap water withdrawal
    • Incorporate sea level rise into planning for new infrastructure (e.g., sewage systems)
    • Integrate climate change scenarios into water supply system
    • Manage water demand (through water reuse, recycling, rainwater harvesting, desalination, etc.)
    • Plug drainage canals
    • Prevent or limit groundwater extraction from shallow aquifers
  • Preserve Coastal Land and DevelopmentCase study available
    • Create permitting rules that constrain locations for landfills, hazardous waste dumps, mine tailings, and toxic chemical facilities
    • Incorporate consideration of climate change impacts into planning for new infrastructure (e.g., homes, businesses)
    • Integrate coastal management into land use planning
    • Integrated Coastal Zone Management (ICZM) – using an integrated approach to achieve sustainability
    • Land acquisition program – purchase coastal land that is damaged or prone to damage and use it for conservation
    • Land exchange programs – owners exchange property in the floodplain for county-owned land outside of the floodplain
    • Manage realignment and deliberately realign engineering structures affecting rivers, estuaries, and coastlines
  • Preserve HabitatCase study available
  • Use "Hard" Shoreline Maintenance
    • Fortify dikes
    • Harden shorelines with breakwaters – structures placed offshore to reduce wave action
    • Harden shorelines with bulkheads – anchored, vertical barriers constructed at the shoreline to block erosion
    • Harden shorelines with revetments that armor the slope face of the shoreline
    • Harden shorelines with seawalls
    • Headland control – reinforce or accentuate an existing geomorphic feature or create an artificial headland (e.g., Geotextile tubes)
  • Use "Soft" Shoreline MaintenanceCase study available
    • Composite systems – incorporate elements of two or more methods (e.g., breakwater, sand fill, and planting vegetation)
    • Create dunes along backshore of beach; includes planting dune grasses and sand fencing to induce settling of wind-blown sands
    • Create marsh by planting the appropriate species – typically grasses, sedges, or rushes – in the existing substrate
    • Increase shoreline setbacks
    • Install rock sills and other artificial breakwaters in front of tidal marshes along energetic estuarine shores
    • Plant SAV (such as sea grasses) to stabilize sediment and reduce erosion
    • Redefine riverine flood hazard zones to match projected expansion of flooding frequency and extent
    • Remove shoreline hardening structures such as bulkheads, dikes, and other engineered structures to allow for shoreline migration
    • Replace shoreline armoring with living shorelines – through beach nourishment, planting vegetation, etc
    • Restrict or prohibit development in erosion zones
    • Use natural breakwaters of oysters (or install other natural breakwaters) to dissipate wave action and protect shorelines

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Source Documents

These strategies are adapted from existing EPA, CDC and other federal resources. Please view these strategies in the context provided by the primary source document:

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Disclaimer

The adaptation strategies provided are intended to inform and assist communities in identifying potential alternatives. They are illustrative and are presented to help communities consider possible ways to address anticipated current and future climate threats to contaminated site management. Read the full disclaimer.

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