Final Outreach Documentary: Role of Wetlands in Coastal Resilience


Ali M Rezaie is currently pursuing this multidisciplinary research as part of his PhD in the Civil, Environmental, and Infrastructure Engineering Department at the George Mason University (GMU). For more information, contact at

Special thanks to:

GMU Flood Hazards Research Lab

Virginia Sea Grant 

Resources For the Future 

Potomac Environmental Research and Education Center

All field footage were captured during the field campaign led by the Flood Hazards Research Lab.

Concept, Narration & Direction: Ali Mohammad Rezaie

Videography & Production: Chelsea Gray

Outreach Proposal: Role of Wetlands in Coastal Resilience

VASG Advanced Science Communications Seminar Outreach Plan

Abstract :

Natural lands in coastal areas provide a variety of ecosystem services such as water purification, carbon sequestration, and flood mitigation. A service that is gaining increasing attention is protection from hurricane storm surge and waves. Coastal wetlands can attenuate the impact of storm surge by reducing wave energy, erosion and currents velocity thus reducing the landward propagation of surge and lowering flood levels and property damages. As the climate warms, sea levels rise, and hurricanes become more frequent or severe, these protective services provided by wetlands are likely to become more valuable and yet at the same time more threatened. Therefore, in order to disseminate the significance of wetlands and marshes for sustainable coastal resilience, the outreach plan focuses on preparing a documentary video. The video will mostly focus on delivering the key scientific outcomes of how these natural lands are protecting coastal communities from both engineering and economic perspective. Additionally, a set of academics, scientists, economists and practitioners will be interviewed as part of the outreach product. The interviews will not only render the importance of the ecosystem service of wetlands but also portray the intrinsic human relationship with nature. The humane display of the scientists will also exhibit the compassionate research that are carried out behind the concrete walls on a day-to-day basis. Moreover, the documentary will promote George Mason University’s (GMU) growing contribution to the society and environment at both a local and a national level. As a perfect fit to the context of the research, the flood hazard research lab (FHRL) in the Civil Engineering department at GMU will provide necessary logistic support. Finally, motion captures from coastal marshes and wetlands will be used in the documentary to show the physical environments in coastal marshes.

Objectives of Outreach

  • Showcase the capacity of wetlands and marshes to attenuate storm surge and waves from scientific background
  • Sharing outcome of the recent scientific studies to valuate($) the wetland flood protection service and restoration strategies as an adaptation technique
  • Displaying the humane side of the scientific communities. And depict the limitations and advancement of relevant scientific methods
  • Advocating GMU’s role in advancing coastal and estuarine research to improve societal resilience

Tentative Take home Message of movie documentary:

Encourage people to understand these four points using my previous and ongoing research outcomes:

  1. Wetlands have the capacity to reduce the impacts of flooding – we need to demonstrate/ quantify the rate of reduction through scientific methods
  2. Regardless of the capacity to attenuate storm surge, wetlands provide ecosystem services which are threatened and likely to be valuable in future ( Walls and Rezaie, 2018)
  3. Policy and actions should be tailored to locally preserve/restore wetlands and marshes (video should make clear how/why) (Bigalbal and Rezaie, 2018)
  4. Wetland has the potentials to be a sustainable ecosystem adaptation strategy – impacts of sea level rise are severe and has disproportionate impact on coastal properties (Rezaie et at al 2018)




Website: Research; GMU Lab 

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