MARS Goes to Canada
The Nature Trust of British Columbia (NTBC) is adopting NERRS sentinel site application (SSAM-1) protocols and the Marsh Resilience Assessment (MARS) approach for data analysis. The trust received funding from both the Canadian governments to implement the protocols at 15 sites. The data will support restoration projects to improve coastal and wetland management in Canada, as well as research initiatives focused on the salmonid fishery and blue carbon.
“We needed a system-wide monitoring tool that could be implemented with relative ease, scaled to cover our large geographic area, and be accessible and usable amongst our many partners.” says Tom Reid, West Coast conservation land manager at NTBC. “This lead us to the NERRS MARS tool, which is effectively filling a large gap in understanding between Washington and Alaska. We aim to ensure our work is directly connected to, and will build upon, the ongoing research in the NERRS.”
And the Reserve System is thrilled to help! “The NERRS creates science and tools that have national—and international— impact,” says Kenny Raposa, research coordinator at Narragansett Bay Reserve and a lead author on the MARS study. “This is a great opportunity to expand our work across an even broader scale, and across borders. Sea-level rise impacts to marshes are not specific to the US; we need a better understanding of processes and patterns in additional countries, and applying our vulnerability indices to Canadian marshes is the perfect first step.” Raposa is providing ongoing support to the TNBC project as part of their technical advisory team.
MARS was a first-in-the-nation assessment of national tidal marsh resilience in the face of sea-level rise. It used system-wide monitoring program data from 16 Reserves in 13 coastal states. In addition to establishing a national monitoring baseline for climate change impacts on estuaries, the project developed a tool that other organizations can use for similar kinds of data analysis.