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

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.

Posted In: Marine

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.

 Make a comment


Enjoy Osprey Cam Live!

The Ospreys Are Back!
Live views, 24/7, of an Alabama osprey nest. Record your observations and ask our ecologist about what you’re seeing.

What is Cool Green Science?

noun 1. Blog where Nature Conservancy scientists, science writers and external experts discuss and debate how conservation can meet the challenges of a 9 billion + planet.

2. Blog with astonishing photos, videos and dispatches of Nature Conservancy science in the field.

3. Home of Weird Nature, The Cooler, Quick Study, Traveling Naturalist and other amazing features.

Cool Green Science is edited by Matt Miller, the Conservancy's deputy director for science communications, and managed by Lisa Feldkamp, an American Council of Learned Societies fellow with the TNC science communications team. Email us your feedback.

Innovative Science

Call for Inclusive Conservation
Join Heather Tallis in a call to increase the diversity of voices and values in the conservation debate.

Appalachian Energy Development
Where will energy development hit hardest? And where can conservationists make a difference?

Not a sci-fi movie. A true story of nanotechnology & clean water.

Bird is the Word

Latest Tweets from @nature_brains