Talks on Climate, Beaches, and Dunes

January 7, 2021 - 6:00 PM
CoastWatch, Oregon Coastal Management Program

King tide threatens Rockaway Beach.\Photo by Lawrence Soto.

The final round of this winter’s King Tides Project is coming up Jan. 11-13.  To provide some context for this effort by volunteer photographers to document the reach of the year’s highest tides, three of the Northwest’s leading experts on the interaction between rising seas and the shoreline will join forces in a special webinar.   On Thursday, Jan. 7, 6-7:30 p.m., CoastWatch and the Oregon Coastal Management Program will host a panel consisting of geomorphologist Peter Ruggiero, coastal ecologist Sally Hacker, and economist Steve Dundas.  The event is free and open to all.

Their topic: “Optimizing the ecosystem services of Pacific Northwest Coastal Beaches and Dunes.”  As the speakers describe their joint presentation:

“The Pacific Northwest coast is an ideal place to explore the important ecosystems services provided by these interface habitats, particularly under sea level rise and extreme storms. In this presentation, a transdisciplinary team of natural and social scientists will consider how data and models from coastal beach and dune systems in Oregon and Washington can be used to assess a suite of ecosystem services, including coastal protection, recreation, biodiversity conservation, carbon sequestration, and aesthetics (e.g., viewsheds). We will discuss how these services can be incorporated into stakeholder-defined coastal adaptation scenarios that optimize ecosystem service production and economic returns.”

Dr. Peter Ruggiero is a professor in the College of Earth, Ocean, and Atmospheric Science at Oregon State University. Ruggiero’s primary research interests include coastal geomorphology and coastal hazards.  He has over two decades of experience in assessing the impacts of storms to beaches and dunes. Currently Ruggiero’s research group is developing probabilistic approaches for assessing exposure to coastal hazards in light of a changing and variable climate.

Dr. Sally Hacker is Professor of Integrative Biology at Oregon State University. She is a coastal ecologist interested in natural and managed systems and has studied coastal dune ecosystems. Her research explores the interaction between beachgrasses and coastal geomorphology and the role of dunes in delivering ecosystem services. Hacker and her students have explored how the functional morphology of dune grass species influence sand capture, dune shape, and coastal protection both today and under climate change.

Dr. Steve Dundas is an assistant professor at Oregon State University, with appointments in the Department of Applied Economics and the Coastal Oregon Marine Experiment Station. He is an environmental and resource economist with research interests in coastal and marine ecosystem services, non-market valuation, and climate adaptation policy evaluation. He has studied the impacts of investments in nature-based features on coastal land markets by estimating economic values for coastal protection, viewshed loss, and beach accessibility. Dundas has also studied economic tradeoffs of beach recreation and endangered species management on public land and the impacts of a changing climate on coastal recreation participation decisions.

To register for this webinar, go to  https://zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_5t2tc2nGRmKxG_tCCZhR4g 

For more information, contact Jesse Jones, CoastWatch volunteer coordinator, at [email protected]