Coastal Environments: Current Research

Integrated Coastal Watershed Management



The Climate Impacts Group’s (CIG) coastal work has been curtailed in recent years due to funding limitations. Enhanced funding would allow us to restart our efforts in coastal zone research and to develop an integrated analysis of coastal watershed management in order to provide regional managers with information about how upland forestry and water resources management practices affect coastal and estuarine resources.

The overall goal of this research is to examine the multiple linkages between (1) human-caused ("anthropogenic") activities at the watershed scale (e.g., land use practices, including forestry), (2) stream flows and habitats, and the effects of those influences on (3) salmon productivity and general estuarine ecology, both of which are also affected by coastal ocean conditions.

Key Research Foci

Humans and nature in the coastal environment

Climate impacts on estuarine properties

Climate impacts on coastal ecosystems

Prospects for integrated coastal management

Scope of Work

The scope of work envisaged here is large enough to constitute a multi-year program of activities. The work could be phased to meet available funding in the following way:


For publications on the CIG's research on climate and PNW coastal ecosystems, please see CIG Publications.

Booth, D. K. 2000. Forest cover, impervious-surface area, and the mitigation of urbanization impacts in King County, Washington. Unpublished paper. Center for Urban Water Resources, University of Washington, Seattle.

Feist, B. E and C. A. Simenstad. 2000. Expansion rates and recruitment frequency of exotic Smooth Cordgrass, Spartina alterniflora (Loisel), colonizing unvegetated littoral flats in Willapa Bay, Washington. Estuaries 23(2):267-274.

Field, J. 1997. Assessing coastal zone sensitivity and vulnerability to regional climate variability and change in the Pacific Northwest. Unpublished manuscript. JISAO/SMA, Climate Impacts Group, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington.

Hull, C. H. G. and J. G. Titus. 1986. Greenhouse Effect, Sea Level Rise, and Salinity in the Delaware River Estuary. US Environmental Protection Agency EPA 230-05-86-010.

McMurray, G. R. and R. J. Bailey. 1998. Change in Pacific Northwest Coastal Ecosystems. Decision Analysis Series No. 11. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Coastal Ocean Office, Washington, D.C.

Newton, J. A. 1995. El Niño weather conditions reflected in Puget Sound temperatures and salinities. Puget Sound Research ’95:979-991. Puget Sound Water Quality Authority, Olympia, Washington.

Newton, J. A., S. L. Albertson, K. Nakata, and C. Clishe. 1998. Washington State marine water quality in 1996 and 1997. (Publication No. 98-338). Washington Department of Ecology, Olympia, Washington.