Coastal ecosystems


As climate impacts intensify, coastal ecosystems like oyster reefs, kelp forests, and wetlands provide natural shoreline protection, enhance food security, and support coastal economies, all while absorbing tons of carbon.

Coastal ecosystems are vital to the safety, health, and well-being of our communities.

However, coastal ecosystems are increasingly under threat, with the U.S. losing an estimated 125 square miles of coastal wetlands each year. As urban shorelines are altered to accommodate growing populations and economic demands, increased development, resource extraction, and pollution are driving the degradation and depletion of coastal ecosystems.

Policy innovation and increased coordination across all levels of government are needed to protect and restore coastal ecosystems and prepare communities for climate change.


Coastal ecosystems are critical to the future health and safety of coastal cities, but are threatened by climate change, coastal development, and pollution.

Coastal wetlands sequester carbon 50x faster than terrestrial forests.

Without dramatic emissions reductions, the U.S. could lose 97% of coastal wetlands and $732 billion in ecosystem services by 2100.

The U.S. loses an estimated 125 square miles of coastal wetlands each year.


Urban Ocean Lab is a registered 501(c)(3) nonprofit that cultivates rigorous, creative, equitable, and practical climate and ocean policy for the future of coastal cities.

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