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Monday, April 9 • 11:30am - 11:45am
TERRESTRIAL-AQUATIC ECOSYSTEM INTERACTIONS: Advancing Coastal Habitat Resiliency Through Landscape Metrics and Assessment

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AUTHORS: Georgia Basso*, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service; Jamie M.P. Vaudrey, University of Connecticut; Kevin O’Brien, Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection; Juliana Barrett, University of Connecticut

ABSTRACT: Coastal areas are among the most biologically rich regions in the world. However, human activity has decreased their ecological value and function, and in many coastal areas, restoration is not as effective as it could be. Limited success is largely attributed to vague goals, disjointed small-scale projects, and a lack of science-informed planning. Quantifying coastal habitat health at a landscape-scale can aid in setting better land use and restoration goals. In this study we developed landscape metrics as a framework and applied this framework to comprehensively assess habitat condition for the first time across multiple priority habitat types in the Long Island Sound National Estuary. The Long Island Sound is one of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s 28 estuaries designated as nationally significant through the EPA National Estuary Program. In this study we also review landscape-scale habitat assessment progress within four other EPA designated national estuaries across the country. Results can be applied to establish and track ecosystem-health-oriented goals that improve coastal habitat function and resilience across a mosaic of land covers. Quantitative, landscape-scale frameworks are timely and can be leveraged to improve restoration success throughout coastal ecosystems. Effective protection, particularly in urban coastal areas, is increasingly important as we continue to learn about connections between healthy landscapes, economies, and people.

Monday April 9, 2018 11:30am - 11:45am CDT
LaSalle 1 (7th Floor)