Coastal ecosystems serve unique ecological functions and provide critical services and defense for coastal human communities.

Coastal wetlands and estuaries, rivers, rocky and sandy shorelines, and coastal forests are experiencing many direct and indirect effects of climate change. Water level changes, increased storm events, flooding, shoreline erosion, and warmer waters are all affecting these important ecosystems. Natural resources professionals can take action now to help coastal systems adapt to a changing climate, while also providing important benefits for coastal human communities.

Learn more about coastal ecosystem vulnerability

Adaptation in Action

Coastal ecosystems will require special management consideration in a changing climate given their unique ecological functions and their role as a critical defense for coastal human communities. Freshwater and saltwater coastal ecosystems share some climate challenges, however they each have some unique considerations that may drive adaptation responses. We are developing and testing menus of Adaptation Strategies and Approaches in Great Lakes freshwater coastal ecosystems and in saltwater ecosystems to help natural resource managers take action on climate change. These new resources are designed to be used with the Adaptation Workbook to make coastal management plans more robust to changing conditions.

These coastal adaptation menus are based on the approach outlined in Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate Change Tools and Approaches for Land Managers.

Learn more about the freshwater coastal adaptation effort, and download the informational flyer

Contact Kristen Schmitt to learn more about our work in coastal ecosystems 

Black Creek Tributary to Lake Superior

Looking for Collaborators

The US Fish and Wildlife Service and NIACS are coordinating the development of a menu of Adaptation Strategies and Approaches for Great Lakes coastal freshwater ecosystems with input from a variety of researchers and practitioners.

The saltwater coastal ecosystems menu has received input from stewardship coordinators with the National Estuarine Research Reserves and others. You can lend your expertise to these projects by:

  • Reviewing written products
  • Testing tools on real-world projects
  • Hosting an adaptation workshop

Learn more about the freshwater coastal adaptation effort, and download the informational flyer

Contact Kristen Schmitt to learn more about our work in coastal ecosystems 

Work with Us

We offer assistance on adaptation projects for groups that are managing forests, forested watersheds, and wetlands, and plan to expand this assistance to other types of coastal ecosystems as adaptation materials are completed. Examples of our work include:

  • Leading climate change adaptation workshops.
  • Creating tools to assist with adapting coastal ecosystems to climate change.
  • Developing examples of real-world climate-informed management in coastal forests and associated ecosystems.

Contact Kristen Schmitt