GULF COAST VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT: AN APPROACH TO ASSESS KEY DRIVERS OF ECOLOGICAL CHANGE IN GULF OF MEXICO ECOSYSTEMS AND SPECIES

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1 GULF COAST VULNERABILITY ASSESSMENT: AN APPROACH TO ASSESS KEY DRIVERS OF ECOLOGICAL CHANGE IN GULF OF MEXICO ECOSYSTEMS AND SPECIES Amanda Watson NGI/GRI, Mississippi State University

2 The Gulf of Mexico Ecosystems Economics Ports Oil and gas industry Commercial fishing Recreational fishing Communities

3 Changing Conditions 7/23/2012 Slide 6 Source:

4 Vulnerability Assessments How susceptible a species habitat or ecosystem is to climate change What things are most vulnerable Why they are vulnerable Glick, P., B.A. Stein, and N.A. Edelson, editors Scanning the Conservation Horizon: A Guide to Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. National Wildlife Federation, Washington, D.C.

5 Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment Gulf of Mexico Alliance o Habitat Conservation & Restoration Team and Community Resilience Team Landscape Conservation Cooperatives DOI Climate Science Centers NOAA Ocean & Coastal Partnerships o Gulf Coastal Management Programs o Gulf Estuarine Research Reserves NOAA Regional Climate Services Gulf Coast Landscape Conservation Cooperatives

6 GCVA Project Goal Enhance conservation and restoration planning and implementation by providing an understanding of the effects of climate change, sea level rise, and land use change on Gulf of Mexico coastal ecosystems and their species. Phase 1: Vulnerability Assessment Phase 2: Gulf Coast Climate Change and SLR Adaptation Strategy Monitor, Update, Reassess

7 GCVA Participants Core Planning Team Stakeholders Climate Expert Ecosystems and Species Experts Team

8 GCVA Study Area

9 GCVA Pilot Habitat and Species Barrier Islands- Black Skimmer, Wilson s Plover, Kemp s Ridley Sea Turtle Mangroves- Roseate Spoonbill Tidal Emergent Marsh- Mottled Duck, Spotted Seatrout, Blue Crab Oyster Reefs- Eastern Oyster, American Oystercatcher, Red Drum

10 Vulnerability Assessment Tools NatureServe Climate Change Vulnerability Index (CCVI)- species Standardized Index for Vulnerability and Value Assessment (SIVVA)- species and ecosystems Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment Tool for Coastal Habitats (CCVATCH)- coastal ecological habitats Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment for Shorebird Habitats (CCVASH)

11 Vulnerability Assessment Tools Glick, P., B.A. Stein, and N.A. Edelson, editors Scanning the Conservation Horizon: A Guide to Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment. National Wildlife Federation, Washington, D.C. Indicate relative vulnerability of species Indicate relative importance of factors contributing to that vulnerability Help managers develop strategies for climate change adaptation

12 Data Needs Habitat and Species Maps Sea Level Rise Urbanization Climate Projections Time frame Climate Wizard

13 Given future climate projections, to what extent will mangrove forests replace salt marshes in the southeastern U.S.? Mangrove individuals present

14 Next Steps and Future Projects Choose, adapt, and distribute assessment tool Analyze the results Gulf Coast Vulnerability Assessment Document Target audience: Natural Resource Managers, Scientists Develop Gulf-wide adaptive management strategies Assess other habitats and species

15 Get Involved Barrier Islands- Black Skimmer, Wilson s Plover, Kemp s Ridley Sea Turtle Mangroves- Roseate Spoonbill Tidal Emergent Marsh- Mottled Duck, Spotted Seatrout, Blue Crab Oyster Reefs- Eastern Oyster, American Oystercatcher, Red Drum

16 Acknowledgements Laurie Rounds

17 Thank you! Contact Information: Amanda Watson

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