Fresh and saltwater coastal ecosystems are subject to numerous climate stressors that can impair ecosystem health and function. These systems are directly affected by climate change impacts such as increasing storm events, changing water levels, and warming water temperatures and in the case of saltwater systems, sea level rise and ocean acidification. In many cases, human activity has intensified coastal vulnerability through  nutrient pollution, disruption of the flow of water and sediments, groundwater extraction, shoreline hardening, introducing invasives, and coastal development.

Although vulnerability assessments specific to coastal ecosystems are not available through the NIACS Climate Change Response Framework, natural resource professionals can use regional forest ecosystem vulnerability assessments to understand site vulnerability in forested coastlines. In addition, partner resources provide guidance to assessing coastal vulnerability in both freshwater and saltwater systems.