Wetland Accretion Rate Model of Ecosystem Resilience (WARMER) and its application to habitat sustainability for endangered species in the San Francisco Estuary

Estuaries and Coasts
By: , and 

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Abstract

Salt marsh faunas are constrained by specific habitat requirements for marsh elevation relative to sea level and tidal range. As sea level rises, changes in relative elevation of the marsh plain will have differing impacts on the availability of habitat for marsh obligate species. The Wetland Accretion Rate Model for Ecosystem Resilience (WARMER) is a 1-D model of elevation that incorporates both biological and physical processes of vertical marsh accretion. Here, we use WARMER to evaluate changes in marsh surface elevation and the impact of these elevation changes on marsh habitat for specific species of concern. Model results were compared to elevation-based habitat criteria developed for marsh vegetation, the endangered California clapper rail (Rallus longirostris obsoletus), and the endangered salt marsh harvest mouse (Reithrodontomys raviventris) to determine the response of marsh habitat for each species to predicted >1-m sea-level rise by 2100. Feedback between vertical accretion mechanisms and elevation reduced the effect of initial elevation in the modeled scenarios. Elevation decreased nonlinearly with larger changes in elevation during the latter half of the century when the rate of sea-level rise increased. Model scenarios indicated that changes in elevation will degrade habitat quality within salt marshes in the San Francisco Estuary, and degradation will accelerate in the latter half of the century as the rate of sea-level rise accelerates. A sensitivity analysis of the model results showed that inorganic sediment accumulation and the rate of sea-level rise had the greatest influence over salt marsh sustainability.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Wetland Accretion Rate Model of Ecosystem Resilience (WARMER) and its application to habitat sustainability for endangered species in the San Francisco Estuary
Series title Estuaries and Coasts
DOI 10.1007/s12237-013-9694-0
Volume 37
Issue 2
Year Published 2014
Language English
Publisher Estuarine Research Federation
Publisher location Port Republic, MD
Contributing office(s) California Water Science Center
Description 17 p.
First page 476
Last page 492
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial San Francisco Estuary
Online Only (Y/N) N
Additional Online Files (Y/N) N