Popular Posts

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Fly Fishing App Earns 4.5 Star Rating!

PCWorld.com  awarded the Orvis Company a 4.5 Star Rating on their fly fishing App for Android.  To current users of this app it shouldn't come as a surprise. This app is loaded with fly fishing information from flies, casting help, fishing reports, the popular animated knot section and lots more. The knot tying section alone is worth the $15 price of admission and since Orvis throws in a $10 gift card the price tag is really just 5 bucks.

Visit the Orvis Fly Fishing App web page and learn the details of the Fly Fishing App for Android (also available for iPhone)

Congratulations to Orvis for bringing another innovation to the fly fishing world. Well done! 

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Billfish and Tuna Habitat Shrinking

The US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) reports that an increasing low oxygen zone in the Atlantic Ocean is reducing habitat for billfish and tuna. Tuna and billfish  need oxygen rich water to survive and as their habitat shrinks they are forced into shallower water where they are more vulnerable to being caught.

Low oxygen areas in the ocean are a natural occurrence and are known as hypoxic zones.  What has NOAA concerned are these zones are enlarging and occurring closer to the oceans surface.  One such zone off the coast of Africa is now larger than the continental US and covers almost all the equatorial waters.  Rising ocean temperatures are thought to be the cause of the increase in hypoxic zones.

According to Dr. Eric D. Prince, NOAA’s Fisheries Service research fishery biologist, “With the current cycle of climate change and accelerated global warming, we expect the size of this zone to increase, further reducing the available habitat for these fish.”

Eventually, less habitat means fewer fish, a consideration fishery managers consider when doing population assessments.  Scientists are expecting ocean temperature to continue to rise and low oxygen zones to continue to increase continuing to force billfish and tuna into smaller areas leaving them even more vulnerable to exploitation.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Ice Safety

This time of year many anglers switch their fishing efforts over to ice fishing. Just like other water activities ice fisherman need to take some precautions in order to maximize their safety while on the frozen lakes and ponds.  It's important to never take anything for granted and understand ice is never 100% safe.

One of the obvious things to consider is the thickness and condition of the ice.  White ice, often called "snow" ice, needs to be twice as thick as new clear hard ice for the same activity.  Most experts agree that no one should venture onto ice that is less than four inches thick. This number is just a guideline as there are many other factors that can make ice unstable and unsafe that could require even greater thickness for safety.  The same applies to the following ice thickness guidelines.

4 inches: one person ice fishing weighing 200 lbs with gear.
5 inches: one snowmobile or atv.
6 inches: one ice boat.
7 inches: several ice fishermen or ice skaters.
8 inches: one car under the most ideal of conditions
9 inches: several snowmobile or atvs
12 inches: one small pick-up truck
15 inches: one medium pick-up truck

Remember, for white ice the thickness doubles.

When going out on the ice bring along some basic safety equipment.  Items like a cordless drill can help you determine if the ice is thick enough.  Use a 5/8 wood auger drill bit to bore a hole in the ice and then measure the thickness with a standard measuring tape.  If possible, contact a local sport shop and inquire about the safety of the ice.  Though, it's still a good idea to drill your own test hole just to be sure.

Another piece of safety equipment to bring along is a standard boat cushion.  This can help provide flotation should someone go through the ice.  It's a good idea to have a line attached to the boat cushion so it can be used to help pull someone from the frigid water.  A pair of ice claws can be a life saver and are easily made from two pieces of dowel and a pair of 16 penny nails.  Simply use a 4 or 5 inch dowel and hammer the nails partway into the ends.  Using a file or grinder, file the ends of the nails into a point.  You can drill a hole into each end so you can nest the exposed nail points into each handle.  A cord fastened between the two claws complete the ice claws.  Make the cord long, like it were a jump rope.

The Minnesota Department of Natural Resources has an excellent online guide to ice safety that can be found at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/safety/ice/index.html They also have instructions for constructing your own ice claws and more suggestions to staying safe and having fun on the ice.

Catch a Virtual Fish, Maybe Win a Real Boat!



North American Fishing Club Provides New Boat, Motor and Trailer for Online Fishing Tournament

ALEXANDRIA, VA (November 29, 2010) /PRNewswire/ — Back by popular demand, the Recreational Boating & Fishing Foundation’s (RBFF) Take Me Fishing™ campaign is kicking off Catch A Boat 3.0, an online fishing tournament that includes a sweepstakes to win daily prizes or the grand prize boat, motor and trailer. Beginning November 29, 2010 at noon ET, boaters and anglers are invited to take part in TakeMeFishing.org’s interactive game for a chance to reel in the grand prize Stratos fishing boat, provided by the North American Fishing Club (NAFC). NAFC is also offering players a 30-day free trial membership, which includes a free issue of North American Fisherman.

Take Me Fishing also teamed up with N’Gage, Rapala, West Marine, Plano, Gander Mountain and Ready2Fish for Catch A Boat 3.0. Each week one sponsor will dole out daily prizes (rods, reels, tackle, gift certificates and more) to those taking part in the game.

“With fishing season winding down in several parts of the country, we’re happy to help anglers stay involved with our exciting online game,” said RBFF President and CEO Frank Peterson. “The next best thing to actually heading out on the water, Catch A Boat is ideal for anyone interested in the sport. It provides users the knowledge to be successful and gives them the opportunity to reel in great prizes from a wide range of industry partners.”

Catch A Boat not only lets users catch different types of virtual fish in five regions, but also teaches them important facts about boating, fishing and conservation. In each region, users have the opportunity to answer trivia questions to upgrade their boat and gear. All answers can be found on RBFF’s website — www.TakeMeFishing.org.

Catch A Boat will run for six weeks concluding on January 10, 2011. To register for Catch A Boat or for complete rules and information on the sweepstakes, visit www.TakeMeFishing.org.

TakeMeFishing.org is the ultimate boating and fishing resource for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors to the site can find everything they need to plan a day on the water while searching for thousands of places to boat and fish in the U.S. Boaters and anglers can also join Fishingtonthe Fishing and Boating Capital of the Internet and follow TakeMeFishing.org on Facebook and @Take_Me_Fishing on Twitter

About RBFF

RBFF is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to increase participation in recreational angling and boating, thereby protecting and restoring the nation’s aquatic natural resources. RBFF helps people discover, share and protect the legacy of boating and fishing through national outreach programs including the Take Me Fishing™ campaign and Anglers’ Legacy™.

2010 American Shad Run in Pennsylvania's Lehigh River

Between April 7 and June 28, 2010 The Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) counted no less than 1,935 American shad as they passed through the Easton, PA spillway on the Lehigh River.  Good news for shad and shad fishermen. This is a good jump in numbers from that observed in recent years.

What still has the biologists scratching their heads is the low passage of fish through the Chain Dam fishway.  One thought is since some shad use the pool below the dam as a spawning area not too many fish feel the urge to venture further.  This is a little offset by the fact that a few hundred fish were observed in the fishway, but never exited at the end.  For the shad, that seems like a lot of work for nothing.

Overall, it's good news.  More American Shad in the Lehigh River thanks to the hard work by the folks at the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.

You can read the complete report with all the charts and graphs and some interesting information on the age of returning fish including how many came to the dance for the second time at http://www.fish.state.pa.us/images/reports/2010bio/lehigh_shad2010spawn.htm 

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

IGFA Record Book Going to New Lengths

The International Game Fish Association (IGFA) has long been the official keeper of the world record book for both freshwater and saltwater fish. Historically, these records are based on fish weight with a separate set of rules for conventional tackle and fly fishing tackle.

Beginning on January 1, 2011, the IGFA will no longer require a fish to be weighed to be recognized for a record. They've introduced a new category called the All Tackle Length Record. To qualify for this new category the fish must be measured on an official measuring device. At this time the only place I know where you can get the IGFA Measuring Device is directly through the IGFA Store, though the IGFA say's they will also be available through major tackle dealers.

Initially there will be just one category under this system, The All Tackle Length Record and is open to fly fishing and conventional tackle alike. Fish entered in this category are not eligible to be entered in any other category. The rules pretty much will be same as weight records except no gaffs of any kind will not be permitted. The idea is that the fish are measured and released alive and unharmed.

Initially, 60 freshwater and 67 saltwater fish of the IGFA recognized record fish species will be open for this new category. It's important to note that under the current weight rules it's not required that a fish be killed in order to qualify and the IGFA points out that many of these fish are released after being weighed.

With this new category wide open for entrants anyone who's been Jonesing for their name on a World Record Certificate now has a greater window of opportunity. Check with the IGFA regarding the minimum lengths assigned to each fish species. And don't forget to get your IGFA Measuring Device. That's about the long and short of it.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Pennsylvania Receives Award for Panfish Restoration

The American Fisheries Society (AFS) chose the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) for an outstanding project award for its work and research on the commission's ten year study of panfish populations. This research has shown that panfish size and populations can be increased by restricting harvest while still proving an excellent fishing experience for the angler.

Originally conceived in 1995 by PFBC biologists in 1994, the study formally began in 1999 when the commission placed size and bag limits on select lakes in the commonwealth. Minimum size limits were placed on yellow perch, crappie and sunfish along with restricted, yet still liberal, harvest limits. After ten years the biologists surveyed the lakes and found the regulations had an across the board positive effect on the number and size of panfish in these waters.

According to Dave Miko, chief of the PFBC Division of Fisheries Management and the project leader for the research study, "Because they are widely available and generally taste good, panfish are one of the most popular fish targeted by anglers."

This study shows, that contrary to popular belief, it is possible to over harvest panfish. In general, anglers have been satisfied with the results of this new management due to the increased size of the fish now caught.

Congratulations to the PFBC for a job well done.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Is This Koi Just Being Coy...

 ...or is it just another Photoshopped internet legend?

This showed up around the web back in September and just recently resurfaced in my inbox. When it was first reported by the U.K.'s Daily Mail  it was touted as one of the biggest of its kind.  The estimated 30 lb goldfish (koi) was caught and released by Raphael Biagini in a lake in southern France.  Now the buzz that I'm reading is that the fish is a fake, well at least the catch.  No one has offered any real proof that it's not real but the speculation continues...

Check out the photo and draw your own conclusions.  Me? Well, I find it hard to believe an angler would overestimate the size of his catch or hold a fish for a picture in such a way to make it look larger than it is.
Raphael Biagini's carp even has his own Facebook page!  Now that doesn't seem like he's being coy to me.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

"Extinct" Salmon Species Back From the Dead

In the 1940's the black kokanee salmon was declared extinct.  Now, more than 70 years later this species of salmon, called "kunimasu" in its native Japan has been found alive and well in a lake more than 300 miles from where it was officially pronounced a memory.

Like all kokanee salmon, the black kokanee is a landlocked version of the sockeye salmon.  This salmon was originally found only in Lake Tazawa in northern Japan.  Lake Tazawa is Japan's largest lake with a depth of almost 1,400 feet.  A hydroelectric project built in 1940 and the resultant acidification of the lake led to the the species demise.

Professor Tetsuji Nakabo led a team of researchers from Kyoto University to Lake Saiko, Japan where they recently discovered a population of black kokanee that is large enough to sustain itself as long as the current lake conditions aren't degraded.  It's believed this population of salmon is descended from a stocking that took place sometime pre 1940 when 100,000 black kokanee eggs are believed to have been transported to Lake Saiko.

The black kokanee is an olive colored fish that grows to about a foot in length.  Researchers are hopeful that fishermen will leave the current population alone until the government develops regulations or protections.

Monday, December 13, 2010

900 Trillion Strong!

Looks like the zebra mussels have ushered in their relatives, in this case their cousins the quagga mussels.  A little bigger in size than zebra mussels, the quagga mussels, like zebras, are very efficient filter feeders and are are hitting the Great Lakes plankton population pretty hard. 

There's kind of a backward silver lining to this cloud of invasive bivalves.  There are so many of them in some lakes that they are starting to starve off their own offspring.  The glitch with this is that they trashed other animal populations first; I said it was a backward silver lining. 

Another wacky in a way thing is if the Asian carp that are threatening the Great Lakes break down the door, they probably wouldn't survive because there wouldn't be anything left for them to eat. Not quite sure how that falls into being a good thing, but it's a good illustration of the mess we get in with invasive species.  It's a losing proposition for even the invasive species.

More needs to be done to keep these plants and animals from our woods and waters.  Whenever one shows up it becomes chaos for everything else and causes billions of dollars in damage.  Visit Protect Your Waters and learn how to join the fight.

A National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) ecologist recently estimated that there are more than 900 trillion invasive mussels in Lake Michigan alone.  Maybe we should increase linguine production and put these mussels to better use.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

111 Years of Counting: Audubon's Christmas Bird Count

The longest running Citizen Science survey in the world, Audubon’s annual Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will take place from December 14, 2010 to January 5, 2011. Tens of thousands of volunteers throughout North America will brave winter weather to add a new layer to over a century of data.\
Scientist rely on the remarkable trend data of Audubon’s CBC to better understand how birds and the environment are faring throughout North America – and what needs to be done to protect them. Data from Audubon’s signature Citizen Science program are at the heart of numerous peer-reviewed scientific studies. CBC data informs the U. S. State of the Birds Report, issued by the Department of the Interior each spring. CBC analyses also revealed the dramatic impact Climate Change is having on birds across the continent.

The Audubon Christmas Bird Count began in 1900 when Frank Chapman, founder of Bird-Lore (which evolved into Audubon magazine) suggested an alternative to the “side hunt,” in which teams competed to see who could shoot the most game, including birds. Chapman proposed that people “hunt” birds only to count them. Now Binocular Brigades often brave winter’s chill, ice and snow to record changes in resident populations before spring migrants return.

"The Christmas Bird Count becomes more important every year," said Audubon President David Yarnold. “The information gathered by its army of dedicated volunteers leads directly to solutions. At a time when people wonder if individual actions can make a difference, we know that our volunteers enable scientists to learn about the impacts of environmental threats like climate change and habitat loss. That’s good news not just for birds but for all of us.

Audubon CBC data not only helps identify birds in most urgent need of conservation action; it reveals success stories. The Christmas Bird Count helped document the comeback of the previously endangered Bald Eagle, and significant increases in waterfowl populations, both the result of conservation efforts.

“Everyone who takes part in the Christmas Bird Count plays a critical role in helping us focus attention and conservation where it is most needed,” said Audubon's Director of Bird Conservation, Dr. Greg Butcher.  “In addition to Audubon’s reports on the impacts of Climate Change on birds and our analysis of Common Birds in Decline, it is the foundation for Audubon’s WatchList, which most identified species in dire need of conservation help.

“The Christmas Bird Count is all about the power of Citizen Science,” says Geoff LeBaron, Audubon's Christmas Bird Count Director. “Our theme is ’I Count’ because the work of tens of thousands of volunteers, extending over a century, really adds up.”

Counts are often family or community traditions that make for fascinating stories. Accuracy is assured by having new participants join an established group that includes at least one experienced birdwatcher. Count volunteers follow specified routes through a designated 15-mile (24-km) diameter circle or can arrange in advance to count the birds at home feeders inside the circle and submit the results to a designated compiler. All individual Christmas Bird Counts are conducted between December 14 and January 5 (inclusive) each season, with each individual count occupying a single calendar day.

The prestigious journal Nature issued an editorial citing CBC as a "model" for Citizen Science.

A New York Times opinion piece captured the pleasure and precision of counting:  “The personal joy they experience from patiently spotting and jotting down each flitting fellow creature, exotic or not, is balanced by a strong pragmatic factor in the management of the census by the National Audubon Society.”

Check this web page in order to join a count.

To learn how to identify birds, and become a bird watcher, locate an Audubon Center near you. Meanwhile, here are a few Birding Basics.

For images and bird songs you can download, see our Christmas Bird Count Press Room.

Let's Go Fishing for Compliments!

I just read a press release from the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) that struck me as funny. Keep in mind that I do spend a lot of time in the sun, so I often see things quite a bit differently than most. 

Anyway, the commission's press release is asking the public to visit their new web page called "Praise an Employee".  They say "...the public also should have a means to let us know when they have received excellent service from our employees”.

The vast majority of the people who work in the PFBC do an outstanding job. To pick one and single him out really isn't fair to the rest.  There's a negative implication here by the commission that excellent service is unusual and needs to be recognized.  But, I'm sure they know better than I do about what's business as usual around their agency.

The Fish Commission could be tired of hearing complaints and maybe look at this new page as a way to boost morale among its workers.  Everyone likes an "atta boy" once in while and making it easier for the public to acknowledge a job well done might have some merit.  But, I feel excellent service should be expected and overall, excellent service is usually what I've found from the commission's employees. So why this new page?  How about giving us a page where we can point out the knuckleheads.

One person commented to me that during these recessionary times maybe the Fish & Boat Commission adopted a policy of "praise is cheaper than a raise". I got a chuckle out of that.

I wish the Fish & Boat Commission much success with this new program and hope they look for some corporate sponsors to help reward their praised employees.  A Happy Meal would be a very nice touch.

From my side of the river it looks like the PA Fish & Boat Commission has decided to go fishing for compliments.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Cast Your Vote for a Pennsylvania River

You have until January 3, 2011 to cast your vote for Pennsylvania's River of the Year.  The Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR) has narrowed down the ballot to six finalists in their annual Pennsylvania River of the Year honor.

The Pennsylvania River of the Year program is administered by the Pennsylvania Organization for Watersheds and Rivers (POWR) and the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources (DCNR).  The way it works is local organizations submit nominations for the award. The river that's selected then has a year round slate of activities and events planned to celebrate the river, including a special extended paddling trip known as a Sojourn.

Login  at: http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/9YM8TSK  and cast your vote!

Thursday, December 09, 2010

Catch & Release Only on the Juniata & Susquehanna?

The Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission (PFBC) is proposing a catch and release only fishery for the Susquehanna River below Sunbury, PA and also on the Juniata River.  A trend of declining bass populations on these waters is what has prompted the PFBC to propose these new rules.

Commission biologists have recorded a trend of poor reproduction and low populations of smallmouth bass in these two rivers, that formally had reputations as top rate bass fisheries.

Public comments are invited and anglers are encouraged to write the PFBC at:
Executive Director, Fish and Boat Commission, 
P.O. Box 67000,
Harrisburg, PA 17106-7000 

There's a 90 day window to submit your comments beginning on December 18, 2010.  Faxed comments will not accepted but you may submit electronic comments by completing the form at www.fishandboat.com/regcomments  

Whether submitted in writing or electronically be certain to mention the comment is on proposed Rulemaking # 223

Read the entire proposed rulemaking at this link: 

Cross Current Guide Service & Outfitters December 2010 Update

It never ceases to amaze me how December sneaks up on us.  The season begins in April chasing rainbows and browns on the Upper Delaware and with some diversions for striped bass, false albacore, bluefish and steelhead, then bang, it’s December.

It’s a good thing December hurries and arrives each year. It catches us off guard after a busy year of meeting many new fish.  The colder and shorter days the month brings makes it the perfect time to take a short break and reflect back on the past year. It also allows time to look forward to the coming season with all the exciting new plans laid down.

The past season was as interesting as any with some spectacular days on the water and other days that presented a host of challenges not all that different from other years.  The one common denominator on each and every day on the water was the camaraderie and the good times we shared.

This coming season there are several new things coming up.  First, not really new, but worth mentioning again is our trip to Patagonia this February.  We’ll be hosting several weeks at different locations in Chile. If you’re interested in coming along drop an email or call for more details.  There’s only a couple of spots open.

We’ve added a new guide to our line up.  Ryan Furtak will be joining us this coming season.  Some of you know Ryan from Border Waters Fly Shop where he’s worked the last couple of seasons and from guiding on the Lake Erie tributaries also.  Check the guide page on our website where Ryan’s complete bio will be posted in the near future.

Some “reel” excitement comes with the unveiling of the Double Haul Club.  This has been a yearlong project that has finally come together. We’ll be sending out a separate announcement in January but briefly the Club will provide its members with many benefits including discounts on goods and services, savings on sporting travel, and private access on the Upper Delaware and other locations.  If January is too long to wait call Joe or Coz and one of us will fill you in with more details.

We’ll be at the Somerset, NJ Fly Fishing Show January 21, 22, 23, 2011 and at the new Philadelphia Fly Fishing Show on March 5, 6, 2011.  Coz is a featured “ fly fishing celebrity” at both shows joining the likes of Lefty Kreh, Cathy & Barry Beck, Dave Whitlock, Conway Bowman and others.  Come and check out Coz’s informative and entertaining presentation, then stop by our booth for a visit and learn about the new programs we’re offering.

We’re currently accepting reservations for the 2011 season on the Upper Delaware River and our Fly Fishing Guide School. (Did I say Guide School?) Stay tuned for more on that next month!

Wishing you a Happy Holiday Season and a Merry Christmas,

Joe Demalderis
2010 Orvis Endorsed Fishing Guide of the Year

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The New "Text" Book on Fish & Game Violations

Several states have rewritten the "text" book on reporting fish and game violations with the introduction of anonymous text messaging.  Now anyone can anonymously and quietly drop a dime on violators via the service provided by Tip411.  Officials are hoping more people will get involved leading to better policing of our resources.

Currently, Washington, Wisconsin and Alabama are some of the states that have signed on with the service provided by CitizenObserver of St. Paul, MN.  This service also includes social networking features that allow subscribers to post important information quickly and automatically to social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and others.  Specific groups can also be created and immediately contacted via this service.  Groups like watch groups, specific business or industry groups or any group the user finds useful.

But the primary focus is the ability for anyone with a cell phone to quietly and anonymously text violations that can be immediately responded to.  It also has a web based feature so people can easily access the subscribing agency's website or Facebook page and report suspicious activity and violations.

Text messaging has become the communication method of choice among many people, especially among the younger age groups and Tip411 encourages more people to participate in protecting our to often abused resources.

If your state doesn't already subscribe to this service, forward this article along to them so you can also enjoy the added benefits of "text" book protection.

Saturday, December 04, 2010

Android Fly Fishing App Joins iPhone App

Well it was only a matter of time.  Ever since Orvis introduced the iPhone Fly Fishing Application, the questions starting rolling in on their blog and Facebook page about when the Android version would be out. That question is finally answered.  It's here.

The Android and iPhone apps gives you some of the best information available in the form of current fishing reports for hundreds of locations.  There's a casting workshop, bug ID, knot tying videos and more including all of Tom Rosenbauer's popular podcasts.

The $15 price tag for the download also gives you a $10 dollar gift card to Orvis bringing the cost to just five bucks.
Check it out at Orvis.com

Friday, December 03, 2010

The National Wild Fish Health Survey

The list is long, too long. The list is on the US Fish & Wildlife Service website and is dedicated to pathogens and diseases among wild fish populations. The fish these pathogens and diseases attack are among the most popular freshwater sport fish in the country; largemouth bass, trout, sunfish, salmon, perch catfish and many others.

The Fish & Wildlife Service tracks and follows the spread and infection of viruses like Infectious Pancreatic Necrosis Virus (IPNV), Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus (VHS), Largemouth Bass Virus (LMBV) and others. Bacterial Pathogens including Renibacterium salmoninarum (RS) or Bacterial Kidney Disease, Enteric Septicemia (ESC) and more. Parasites like the one that causes Whirling Disease, Myxobolus cerebralis is just one of the fish killing parasites the service also tracks.

Having a data base accessible to the public can alert us to when we're in waters harboring any of these fish killing diseases. Armed with this information we can take action against accidentally causing their spread to new locations by following the protocols of cleaning and disinfecting our equipment.

Take moment and check it out at the National Wild Fish Health Survey  Look up your home waters to see if there is something lurking there.  Since knowledge is the first and strongest defense we have, the more we can increase our awareness the stronger our fight against these diseases will be.  While you're at it check out Protect Your Waters  , a site for anglers and other recreational users who want to help stop aquatic nuisance species.

Please do the fish a favor and forward this to all your fishing friends so they too can join the battle in preventing the spread of fish diseases.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Many Coastal Wetlands Likely to Disappear this Century

Many coastal wetlands worldwide — including several on the U.S. Atlantic coast — may be more sensitive than previously thought to climate change and sea-level rise projections for the 21st century.

U.S. Geological Survey scientists made this conclusion from an international research modeling effort published today in the journal Geophysical Research Letters, a publication of the American Geophysical Union. Scientists identified conditions under which coastal wetlands could survive rising sea level.

Using a rapid sea-level rise scenario, most coastal wetlands worldwide will disappear near the end of the 21st century. In contrast, under the slow sea-level rise projection, wetlands with low sediment availability and low tidal ranges are vulnerable and may drown. However, in the slow sea-level rise projection, wetlands with higher sediment availability would be more likely to survive.

Several coastal marshes along the east coast of the United States, for example, have limited sediment supplies and are likely to disappear this century. Vulnerable east coast marshes include the Plum Island Estuary (the largest estuary in New England) and coastal wetlands in North Carolina’s Albemarle-Pamlico Sound (the second-largest estuary in the United States).

“Accurate information about the adaptability of coastal wetlands to accelerations in sea-level rise, such as that reported in this study, helps narrow the uncertainties associated with their disappearance,” said USGS scientist Glenn Guntenspergen, an author of this report. “This research is essential for allowing decision makers to best manage local tradeoffs between economic and conservation concerns.”

“Previous assessments of coastal wetland responses to sea-level rise have been constrained because they did not consider the ability of wetlands to naturally modify their physical environment for adaptation,” said USGS scientist Matt Kirwan, an author of this report. “Failure to incorporate the interactions of inundation, vegetation and sedimentation in wetlands limits the usefulness of past assessments.”

USGS scientists specifically identified the sediment levels and tidal ranges (difference between high and low tide) necessary for marshes to survive sea-level rise. As water floods a wetland and flows through its vegetation, sediment is carried from upstream and deposited on the wetland’s surface, allowing it to gain elevation. High tidal ranges allow for better sediment delivery, and the higher sediment concentrations in the water allow wetlands to build more elevation.

Coastal wetlands provide critical services such as absorbing energy from coastal storms, preserving shorelines, protecting human populations and infrastructure, supporting commercial seafood harvests, absorbing pollutants and serving as critical habitat for migratory bird populations. These resources and services will be threatened as sea-level rise inundates wetlands.

The rapid sea-level rise scenario used as the basis for this study is accredited to Stefan Rahmstorf at Potsdam University, one of the contributing authors of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report. The slow sea-level rise projection is from the A1B scenario of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report.

The study, “Limits on the Adaptability of Coastal Marshes to Rising Sea-Level,” can be found online.