Changing Natural and Built Coastal Environments

This course will examine natural and anthropogenic processes affecting the coastal zone and nearshore environment. Ecological principles and their application to design and planning will be emphasized. Topics will include coastal wetland development, sediment movement in estuaries and long-shore, natural disturbance regimes including coastal storms, flooding, and erosion. Applications of ecological principles for landscape design, planning, restoration, recreation, management and conservation at regional scales will include stormwater management, hardened coastlines, sediment and toxics management, marsh restoration, energy development.As a later-sequence ecology course focused on natural processes and built environment issues in the coastal zone/nearshore environment, this class complements existing GSD emphasis on introductory ecology, terrestrial systems and freshwater wetlands. The course focus on ecologically-sound management of coastal zone is highly relevant to current/future concerns with sea level rise, stormwater management, energy infrastructure, commercial transportation. Coastal zone management is most fruitfully approached on a regional scale, an approach transferable to other, current design challenges.Specific expertise brought to course by Parsons includes long-term studies along US northeast coasts of estuarine ecosystems and biodiversity, toxics and sediment management in urban ports (including metropolitan areas of New York City, Boston, Philadelphia/Wilmington, Baltimore), ecologically-based engineered solutions to habitat loss including islands, coastal wetlands, barrier beaches, and peninsulas. Specific expertise brought to course by Apfelbaum includes ecologically-sound applications to achieve restoration objectives, stormwater management, and risk assessment.