RI Salt Marsh Conservation Project

This project is made possible using Volkswagen settlement funds awarded by the R.I. Office of the Attorney General.  

Project Partners:


Salt marshes provide critical habitats for fish and shellfish, they protect our shorelines from storms and flooding, and help preserve water quality. In the face of current and projected sea level rise, unless salt marshes can migrate landward, they will drown.

Project Goals:

Update the marsh migration model that shows where salt marshes will migrate landward as sea levels rise along the RI shoreline. These maps are used by communities and RI CRMC for salt marsh conservation.

Reconcile the marsh migration maps against town parcel data to identify the most important unprotected parcels that need to be conserved to allow for landward marsh migration.

Outreach to communities and land trusts of these critical conservation opportunities.


  1. Identification of Tier 1 Conservation Parcels for every coastal town in Rhode Island. Tier 1 parcels meet the following criteria based on feedback from project partners.
    • Are larger than 0.5 acres;
    • are adjacent to previously conserved land;
    • have impervious surface that is less than 10% of the parcel area;
    • has potential salt marsh habitat (based on the modeled marsh migration corridor) between 5 and 75% of the parcel area;
    • and has more 50% prime farmland and Statewide important soil types.
  2. A web tool to view the coastal parcel database, the Sea Level Affecting Marshes Model outputs, and all of the Tier 1 parcels.

Click below to view the Salt Marsh Coastal Parcel Planning Tool!

Salt Marsh Coastal Parcel Planning Tool