Rapid sea level rise in the next 100 years could affect more than coastal residents may think.


The rise could change the environment of the Arcata Marsh, create prime salmon habitat or affect property values, said local scientist Michael Furniss.


Furniss, a geomorphologist and hydrologist with the U.S. Forest Service, gave a presentation about rapid sea level rise on the North Coast. Sea level rise occurs as the atmosphere warms. Predictions on how high the sea level will rise over the next century range from half a meter to over two meters, he said.


The presentation, “A Slow Motion Flood: Rapid Sea Level Change on the North Coast,” includes a historical perspective of sea level rise and its affect on the formation of deltas and other coastal forms.


Furniss developed research and technology for low-impact transportation in forest wildland management that has been applied worldwide. He is currently leading a national team to develop and test strategies to assess vulnerability and adaptation to climate change to maintain healthy watersheds and water supplies.


He is the founder and leader of a new U.S. Forest Service research website called the “Climate Change Resource Center,” at www.fs.fed.us/ccrc. Furniss' work focuses on the western states and, occasionally, on national-scale projects. He has consulted and lectured on forestry and fisheries issues across the country and in Iceland, Mexico, Spain, Vietnam, Thailand, Colombia, Israel and Taiwan.


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