Document Type



Virginia Institute of Marine Science

VIMS Department/Program

Center for Coastal Resources Management (CCRM)

Publication Date



The principal objective of this study was to develop a characterization of current shallow-water habitat components in Virginia tidal waters and predict climate driven changes to these habitats. To project broad-scale climate change effects on the abundance and distribution of coastal habitats, an inundation model based on anticipated relative sea-level rise, temperature and salinity projections, and coastal development were integrated into a GIS modeling framework. Using this framework, simple models were constructed that forecast the distribution of key coastal habitat parameters within the next 50 to 100 years including: shallow-water areas, tidal wetlands, submerged aquatic vegetation and estuarine beaches. The purpose is to inform management and planning efforts by identifying areas at significant risk for changes to habitat components, and areas with significant potential to support critical habitat components in the future. This will enable managers to make proactive decisions that can mitigate impacts and preserve opportunities for sustained habitat services as the estuarine system evolves. From a practical perspective, understanding potential futures can inform targeting of limited management resources to areas at greatest risk and/or areas with the greatest probability for successful outcomes.


Final Report, Executive Summary, Habitat Loss Summary For each Chesapeake Bay Segment, individual maps were created depicting potential shifts in key coastal habitats - these are presented in the appendices. Map Appendix 1: Tidal Wetlands and Shallow Water Habitat Map Appendix 2: Tidal Marsh Vulnerability Map Appendix 3: Estuarine Beach Vulnerability Map Appendix 4: Submerged Aquatic Vegetation Map Appendix 5: Vulnerable Developed Lands Climate Change Development Maps: Annual Shoreline Hardening | Riparian Land Developed | Shoreline Hardened An interactive web-based map interface was created using ESRI ArcIMS® to allow users to view current habitat distribution, modeled climate change output, as well as all base layers used in analyses. (not available)



Climatic changes > Environmental aspects > Virginia > Tidewater (Region) Sea level > Virginia > Tidewater (Region) > Forecasting. Coast changes > Virginia

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.



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