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New Jersey

University of Delaware: Exploring ways to protect coastal shorelines

An estuary is {a partially} enclosed physique of water, typically containing wetlands and marshes, the place salt water from the ocean and recent water from rivers and streams meet and blend. Estuaries, that are one thing of an intermediate space, play an vital function within the surrounding ecosystem whereas offering pure recreation house for communities.

The Delaware Estuary runs from Trenton, New Jersey and Morrisville, Pennsylvania to Cape Henlopen, Delaware and Cape May, New Jersey on reverse sides of Delaware Bay. It is house to the Atlantic Migration Route, a crucial wildlife habitat and tidal wetlands. Coastal wetlands in estuaries assist cut back air pollution. They present residing house in addition to storm and flood safety.

Unfortunately, the Delaware Estuary is shedding about an acre of tidal wetlands per day, an issue that would worsen as sea ranges speed up and land improvement alongside coasts intensifies, main to what is named “coastal stagnation.”

Model estimates recommend that by the 12 months 2100, simply 3 toes of sea degree rise may outcome within the loss of over 42,500 acres of tidal wetlands. That’s greater than 25% of the entire wetlands within the Delaware Estuary.

Armed with practically $10 million in Department of Defense funds, University of Delaware coastal engineer Jack Puleo and panorama architect from the University of Florida Jules Bruck are main an interdisciplinary staff of specialists to take a look at this drawback from each the land and sea aspect, hoping to develop strategies to deal with this problem.

“Sea-level rise puts coastal communities and more inland areas at risk of flooding and other impacts,” he stated PuleoProfessor and Chair of Civil and Environmental Engineering at UD.

“We want to keep these coastal communities viable and resilient for present and future generations. We are trying to understand how coastal communities can be protected in a way that is in harmony with nature.”

The challenge is led by the Delaware Environmental Institute at UD.

In addition to Bruck, director of the School of Landscape Architecture and Planning and chair of panorama structure on the University of Florida, UD employees embrace:

  • Monique Head, Associate Professor and Associate Chair, Civil and Environmental Engineering;
  • Ed Hale, Assistant Professor of Marine Science and Policy and Marine Advisory Specialist with Delaware Sea Grant;
  • Eric Bardenhagen, Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture; and
  • Yao Hu, Assistant Professor of Geography and Spatial Sciences.

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