How is Assateague Island National Seashore responding to the challenge of climate change?
While the pace and magnitude of climate change and sea-level rise remains uncertain, it is clear that any plan for the future of the seashore must consider the management challenges associated with an increasingly dynamic barrier island.

Programs and actions to protect and manage the park’s most significant natural resources will continue. The primary emphasis of resource management will remain directed towards protecting vulnerable plants and animals, monitoring resource conditions, and as much as possible, minimizing any negative impacts by natural or human activities. At the same time, the natural geomorphological processes of a barrier island would continue with minimal human interference.

The park will continue to provide and protect visitor use and recreational opportunities on Assateague Island, and look for new approaches to providing continued visitor access and infrastructure.


salt marsh monitoringHow will park monitoring help vulnerable habitats and species?
When natural habitats are healthier, they can better withstand the stresses placed on them by climate change and sea-level rise. At Assateague, protecting and improving the health of the island and its surrounding waters are more important than ever.

Monitoring provides the park with an understanding of the current health of habitats, plants, and animals. This enables managers to identify changes and, where possible, implement programs that enhance the resiliency of vulnerable resources. As these programs are implemented, continued monitoring measures progress towards those goals.you_found_it_monitor_photo_tooltip

What monitoring activities are being implemented to track the changing habitats on Assateague Island?
The table and diagram below show various types of monitoring activities that park staff do to track changes in the natural resources of Assateague Island. Drag your mouse over the diagram to read about each activity. 

 Bay Subtidal and Mudflat Salt Marsh Inland Wetland
  • seagrass area
  • salt marsh nekton survey
  • freshwater pond quality
  • bay water quality
  • surface elevation table
  • groundwater level
 Forest and Shrub Dunes and Grass Beach Intertidal
  • phragmites management
  • plover nests and fledgling success
  • beach shoreline rate of change
  • deer population
  • upland elevation change
  • beach topography