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Comment Invited on Study of Climate Change Impacts to Salt Marshes

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The Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council has released a new report, "Climate Change Vulnerability Assessment and Adaptation Opportunities for Salt Marsh Types in Southwest Florida." It is designed for local for use by governments, stakeholder groups and the public at large in developing coastal and land use planning, and avoidance, minimization, mitigation and adaptation of climate change impacts to salt marshes throughout the CHNEP study area. Although almost 74 percent of salt marsh habitat is protected in the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program, habitat continues to be lost to human-induced impacts including development, alterations of hydrology, and pollution. Salt marshes in Charlotte Harbor Estuary have been directly destroyed or impacted from construction activities for residential and commercial purposes including construction for seawalls, drainage ditches for agriculture and mosquito control, boat facilities, and navigation channels. Man-made hydrological alterations have reduced the amount of freshwater flow from some rivers (e.g., Peace, Myakka), while artificially increasing the flow through others (e.g., Caloosahatchee).

The primary focus of this project is the extent and nature of salt marshes and the adaptation of salt marshes to climate change. This report includes the results of a new study to: inventory and determine the areal extent of salt marsh types throughout the Charlotte Harbor National Estuary Program (CHNEP) study area; determine the vulnerability of those marshes to climate change; identify the need and opportunities for avoidance, minimization, mitigation, and adaptation (AMMA) to climate change, and recommend strategies to implement alternate AMMA.

Comments are requested by August 30th, and may be directed to Jim Beever (contact information below).

Additional Contact Information

Jim Beever III

Principal Planner IV,, Southwest Florida Regional Planning Council

239-338-2550, ext., 224