ASSESSING THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE ON ALABAMA’S COASTAL WATERSHED

Weeks Bay Watershed Management Plan

E & E worked with the Mobile Bay National Estuary Program (MBNEP) and Thompson Engineering to prepare a Watershed Management Plan (WMP) for the Weeks Bay Watershed, including Fish River and Magnolia River, in the coastal zone of Baldwin County, Alabama. The plan helps stakeholders identify management measures to protect, conserve, and preserve the unique qualities of the area—recognized as a National Estuarine Research Reserve and Outstanding National Resource Water—and encourage cooperative use of watershed features. E & E’s role was to assist with the sea level rise portion of the WMP.

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THE CHALLENGE

Project Sea Level Rise

Population growth, urban development, and some agricultural practices have intensified water quality and quantity issues within the Weeks Bay Watershed over the past several decades. To help stakeholders better understand the reality and extent of sea level rise on the watershed, it was important to provide actual documentation of existing impacts.

OUR SOLUTION

SLAMM

E & E prepared a side-by-side comparison of historic and recent aerial photos showing the changes in shorelines due to sea level rise. To assess potential impacts of sea level rise and climate change on water and habitat quality, we summarized recent projections using Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model (SLAMM). For the WMP, we provided maps of impact on habitat at various levels of SLR.

THE RESULT

1.1 to 5.5 feet by 2100

By integrating best available SLR data into the WMP, E & E provided stakeholders with a scientific basis for water and land use decision making.

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