Engage - Conserving Coastal Wetlands for Sea Level Rise Adaptation

Engaging Stakeholders

Coastal wetlands provide ecosystem services that are important to a diverse group of stakeholders and meet many community, organization, and agency objectives. These stakeholders can lend support in developing strategies to preserve coastal wetlands.

Connect with Other Planning Efforts

Partnering with organizations already involved in wetland conservation activities can leverage resources and avoid duplication of effort. Identify other planning efforts in the community― such as land use, hazards, smart growth, floodplain management, emergency management, wildlife management, and climate adaptation―and work to integrate conservation priorities into existing and future plans to ensure a holistic planning approach.


Coastal Community Planning and Development – Training that provides information on fostering more sustainable development in coastal communities that can be incorporated into land use or smart growth plans

Introducing Green Infrastructure for Coastal Resilience – Training that helps communities understand the many benefits of conserving ecosystem services for community resilience

Roadmap for Adapting to Coastal Risk – Training that helps communities incorporate coastal risk and vulnerability information into their planning processes

Reach Out to Diverse Groups

Identify appropriate stakeholders and involve them early in the conservation prioritization process. Consider a variety of groups, including those who benefit from wetlands or have expertise in identifying important and vulnerable wetlands. Groups such as local commercial and recreational fishermen, developers, business owners, and other community members can bring to light important local knowledge to help in the prioritization process, can help garner public support for conservation efforts, and can provide additional resources.


Introduction to Stakeholder Participation – Publication that offers guidance and techniques for identifying and engaging stakeholders

Planning and Facilitating Collaborative Meetings – Training that equips conservation professionals with the ability to design, conduct, and manage meetings and other collaborative efforts in public forums

Communicate with Visualizations

Working with diverse groups can be challenging, but using spatial techniques and visualizations to work through and communicate key issues can make the stakeholder engagement process more objective and productive. Photo-realistic visualizations depicting “what-if” scenarios of sea level rise and other impacts can be powerful tools to communicate a conservation message. Combining these images with easy-to-understand information on the benefits of protecting coastal wetlands can make your message even stronger.

GIS maps can help stakeholders see where sea level rise impacts to wetlands may occur within their community. Using a participatory mapping approach to build this type of GIS map through a group consensus effort allows stakeholders to interactively participate in the conservation planning process. Input from stakeholders can be analyzed in real time, making the planning process and resulting decision more transparent to all. View a recorded webinar on engaging stakeholders in coastal management through participatory mapping.


CanVis – Software that allows users to input a picture from their locale and illustrate scenarios, such as potential sea level rise or development, to better communicate with stakeholders

Coastal County Snapshots - Wetland Benefits – Tool that demonstrates the benefits of wetlands for a county using easy-to-understand charts and maps

Habitat Priority Planner – GIS-based tool that allows stakeholders to interactively participate in building a map of priority conservation areas by incorporating input on the fly

Stakeholder Engagement Strategies for Participatory Mapping – Publication that provides techniques and information on how to engage stakeholders using a participatory mapping approach

Using Photorealistic Visualizations – Document that focuses primarily on the particularly powerful photorealistic visualization and that introduces key concepts surrounding visualization

View additional publications and websites to learn more about these concepts.