The Gastineau Channel near Juneau, Alaska. USDA Forest Service photo by Ali Freibott.
Climate change is altering the coastal environment in southeast Alaska, with direct impacts on valued coastal resources. From sea level rise to glacial retreat, the shoreline itself is undergoing dynamic changes—sometimes at unprecedented rates. It is not known how such physical changes in the coastal environment will affect the natural resources—like clams, crabs, seaweeds, and beach asparagus—upon which local communities in southeast Alaska rely for food.
Scientists at the Pacific Northwest (PNW) Research Station are working to predict future shoreline change and what it will mean for certain coastal habitats and species in southeast Alaska. Hydrologist Adelaide Johnson and social scientist Linda Kruger with the PNW Research Station teamed up with systems analyst Jim Noel (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration), analyst Dave Gregovich (Alaska Department of Fish and Game), geophysicist Julie Elliott (Purdue University), and ecologist Brian Buma (University of Colorado Denver) to map and predict shoreline change and the potential impact on coastal resources in southeast Alaska. This information will help communities and decision makers identify appropriate adaptation strategies that will support southeast Alaskan communities now and into the future.