|Toward sustainable urban estuaries in the anthropocene|
Chant R, Geyer R, Parsons G, Quirk T, Ralston D, Sommerfield C
We are concerned with the characterization of sustainable paths for urbanized estuaries in the United States, focusing on the Delaware and Hudson (including New York Harbor, Raritan Bay, Newark Bay and associated sub-estuaries). These two estuaries differ significantly in their environmental characteristics and distributions of ecosystem services. Thus, although both are located in the same geographical region, the ranges of physical and socio-economic features will enable us to learn much about potential differences in sustainability trajectories. Examinations of the physical processes will lead to the application of dynamical models that represent the hydrodynamic processes and morphological evolution of the estuarine environments. Socio-economic analyses will provide a quantification of the ecosystem services under past, present, and predicted future states of the natural-human system. The culmination of the research will be coupled models of natural-human state trajectories, quantifying feedbacks between human actions to alter the estuarine regimes, the physical responses of the systems, and the changes in values of altered ecosystem services. Some key issues that we will address in developing this framework are: 1) to define the relevant and appropriate nature-human scale for determining the sustainable management of an urban estuary; and 2) to identify a decision framework that permits the assessment of socio-economic values across generations such that alternative predictive outcomes can be compared and ordered in terms of their sustainability.