The Casco Bay Estuary Partnership (CBEP) at the Muskie School of Public Service has entered into a contract with Maine Department of Transportation to monitor a tidal wetland restoration project in Harpswell, ME. The contract is part of CBEP’s ongoing efforts to understand both tidal wetland restoration and the effects of sea level rise on the long, narrow wetlands characteristic of the Casco Bay shoreline.
Additionally, the CBEP has published Geomorphology and the Effects of Sea Level Rise on Tidal Marshes in Casco Bay, co-authored by Curtis Bohlen, Matthew Craig, and Muskie students Marla Stelk, Caitlin Gerber, and Laura Redmond. The report provides new insights into the implications of sea level rise for Casco Bay wetlands, whose unique geomorphic setting has limited the applicability of existing research on tidal marsh vulnerability. For many but not all Casco Bay wetlands, predicted tidal wetland gains and losses are similar, leading to small net change in wetland area. Inundation, however, may lead to a shift from high marsh to low marsh in many coastal wetlands. Since little is known about the sediment dynamics of most Casco Bay wetlands, significant uncertainties remain about the future characteristics of and ecosystem services derived from coastal wetlands.