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Adapting to Sea-Level Rise on Atolls: Managing Land Use and Aquifer Recharge on Roi-Namur, Marshall Islands

Freshwater resources on low-lying atoll islands are highly vulnerable to climate change and sea-level rise. Groundwater in the freshwater lens is a critically important water resource on many atolls. Although many atolls have high annual rainfall, dense vegetation and high evapotranspiration can limit recharge to the freshwater lens. Here I discuss the effects of land-use/land-cover change (LULC) and managed aquiferre charge (MAR) on the hydrogeochemistry and groundwater supply on Roi-Namur Island, Republic of theMarshall Islands. Roi-Namur is an artificially conjoined island that has similar hydrogeology, but has contrasting LULCand MAR only on Roi. Vegetation removal and MAR operations have resulted in an estimated 8.6 x105m3of ground water on Roi, compared to only 1.6x104m3 on Namur. Findings support selective LULC change and MAR as a promising management approach for low-lying atoll islands to increase their resilience and help them adapt to future climate change.

Speaker: Dr. Jason Gurdak, SF State University

Wednesday, 05/08/19


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Estuary & Ocean Science Center

3152 Paradise Drive
Bay Conference Center, South Bay Room
Tiburon, CA 94920

Phone: 415-33803700
Website: Click to Visit