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Natural Allies for the Next Sandy: Nicole Maher & Mike Beck in The New York Times

October 29, 2013

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Salt marsh, Core Banks, NC. Image credit: bumeister1/Flickr through a Creative Commons license.
Salt marsh, Core Banks, NC. Image credit: bumeister1/Flickr through a Creative Commons license.

How useful are natural habitats like salt marshes and oyster reefs in defending coasts from storm surges and storm waves? Henry Fountain of The New York Times reported on that question today in the Times’ weekly Science section, extensively quoting Nature Conservancy marine scientists Nicole Maher and Mike Beck.

The consensus from experts in the article: Natural habitats have at best a limited value in blunting huge storm surges, but are effective at wave attenuation and can play an important part in a coastal risk reduction strategy. As Mike Beck puts it in the piece:

“What you’re really hoping is that those natural habitats over all are contributing to reduced erosion and flooding from smaller, higher-frequency events.” 

“It’s important to recognize that all of the actions we’re talking about are steps in risk reduction. There’s no one solution. Natural habitats are contributing a part to that reduction, and that’s really important.”

Read the article.

Bob Lalasz

Bob Lalasz is the director of science communications at The Nature Conservancy and the editor of the new Cool Green Science. A long-time editor and writer, he was previously the Conservancy's associate director of digital marketing. He now blogs here about the Conservancy's scientific research and on-the-ground work as well as larger conservation science and science communications issues. More from Bob

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