AbstractCoastal ecosystems experience a wide range of stressors including wave forces, storm surge, sea-level rise, and anthropogenic modification and are thus vulnerable to erosion. Urban coastal ecosystems are especially important due to the large populations these limited ecosystems serve. However, few studies have addressed the issue of urban coastal vulnerability at the landscape scale with spatial data that are finely resolved. The purpose of this study was to model and map coastal vulnerability and the role of natural habitats in reducing vulnerability in Jamaica Bay, New York in terms of nine coastal vulnerability metrics (relief, wave exposure, geomorphology, natural habitats, exposure, exposure with no habitat, habitat role, erodible shoreline, and surge) under past (1609), current (2015), and future (2080) scenarios using InVEST 3.2.0. We analyzed vulnerability results both spatially and across all time periods, by stakeholder (ownership), and by distance to damage from Hurricane Sandy. We found significant differences in vulnerability metrics between past, current and future scenarios for all nine metrics except relief and wave exposure. The marsh islands in the center of the bay are currently vulnerable. In the future, these islands will likely be inundated, placing additional areas of the shoreline increasingly at risk. Significant differences in vulnerability exist between stakeholders; the Breezy Point Cooperative and Gateway National Recreation Area had the largest erodible shoreline segments. Significant correlations exist for all vulnerability (exposure/surge) and storm damage combinations except for exposure and distance to artificial debris. Coastal protective features, ranging from storm surge barriers and levees to natural features (e.g. wetlands), have been promoted to decrease future flood risk to communities in coastal areas around the world. Our methods of combining coastal vulnerability results with additional data and across multiple time periods have considerable potential to provide valuable predictions that resource managers can effectively use to identify areas for restoration and protection.
SubjectsCoastal vulnerability, Geographical information systems, InVEST, Spatial statistics and spatial modeling, New York (N.Y.), Jamaica Bay (N.Y.)
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