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Assessing Coastal Uplift and Habitat Changes in a Glacially Influenced Estuary: Final Project Materials

February 26, 2014

“…Are we going to wash away or are we going to have new acres of shoreline?” was the question posed to the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve in 2009. Understanding coastal uplift and sea-level rise is important for city and borough planning, harbor management, and monitoring changes in coastal habitat. During 2010-2013, we developed estimates of relative sea-level change for Kachemak Bay. In doing so, we used a Collaborative Learning process to involve coastal decision-makers in defining the problems, the research approach, and the final products of the study. A one-page summary of this project can be found  here.

In this investigation, we used high-precision Global Positioning Units to measure vertical land-level changes. These data were used to up-date models developed by UAF of vertical motion of the land. We established four salt marsh sentinel sites to monitor long-term changes in the biology and future sea-level changes in Kachemak Bay. For a final report from this study click here and to review a summary table of data collected during this project click here.

As part of this study we trained citizen scientists to monitor salt marsh vegetation, birds, mammals, and insects at our sentinel sites. We also developed public Discovery Labs on coastal processes, relative sea-level rise and salt marsh ecology to outreach results of this study.

This work was conducted collaboratively by the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF), the Kachemak Bay Research Reserve, and the coastal decision-makers with the City of Homer, Seldovia Village Tribes, the Kenai Peninsula Borough, the State of Alaska, and the community.

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