Sea level rise endangering Seal Beach wetlands

SEAL BEACH, Calif. (KABC) -- The wetlands at Seal Beach are in danger. The problem is that they are too wet.

Rising sea levels combined with lack of sediment has the wetlands getting too high for plants to grow and birds to nest. A 2013 study showed the sea level rise at Seal Beach was three times higher than the national average.

Natural rivers are now concrete channels and don't carry the necessary deposit of mud into the marsh. Enter Cal State Long Beach's Environmental Science and Policy program and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Researchers sprayed dredged mud from the bottom of Huntington Harbor during the first half of 2016. The goal was to raise the marsh by 10 inches. It was the first sediment augmentation study done in Southern California. So far it has been a success.

Researchers say they have started to see plants sprouting and invertebrates like earthworms coming back to the site. Researchers say it will be a few more years before it returns as a marsh. Marshes filter water run-off, provide a space for fish to breed and the plants absorb excess water providing a buffer from storm surges.
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