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Marginal Survival?
Preparing Marin Bayland Edges for Native Plant Conservation
During Rapid Sea Level Rise and Climate Change

7:30 p.m. – Online Zoom Presentation
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In Marin County’s tidal marshes and shorelines, most of the native plant species diversity is narrowly distributed along the highest edges. The San Francisco Estuary’s plant diversity survived over 10,000 years of extreme, punctuated changes in sea level rise and climate. The early historic tidal marsh plant assemblages of Marin County were first botanized after an unusually long period of cool, moist climate conditions with relatively low Bay salinity, and at the end of several millennia of the slowest rates of sea level rise during post-glacial times. Yet their component species survived prior millennia of extreme rapid sea level rise during much warmer and more arid climates, including centuries-long droughts and major swings in Bay salinity. The legacy of these remarkably resilient tidal marsh plant species is threatened by a new climate phase of abrupt rapid sea level rise and hotter, more arid climate with more extreme weather events.

How can we conserve native plant species-rich assemblages along modern, extensively urbanized shorelines of Marin baylands during accelerated sea level rise and new climate stress? Will tidal marsh restoration strategies aimed at conserving endangered wildlife and reducing flood and erosion hazards of a submerging estuary also conserve native plants? Coastal ecologist and botanist Peter Baye will explore unprecedented challenges and opportunities for adapting Marin’s tidal shores to conserve the local legacy of native plant diversity.

Peter Baye is a coastal ecologist and botanist with a life-long focus on coastal beaches, dunes, tidal marshes, and lagoons, and their connections to adjacent marine and terrestrial ecosystems. He has worked on planning, restoring, managing, and regulating San Francisco Bay shorelines and wetlands for over thirty years, with recent emphasis on innovations for sea level rise adaptation and endangered species recovery, in both urbanized and agricultural/open space baylands.