Innovating Tidal Marsh Management
Supported by Hurricane Sandy funds from the Dept. of Interior
Salt marshes have been managed for centuries, but these ecosystems are now recognized for many services and management actions should support overall marsh health rather than narrow objectives (e.g., mosquito control). Partnering with USFWS (Rachel Carson and Parker River NWRs) and Northeast Wetland Restoration, we are piloting several new techniques to improve marsh health and resilience in the face of climate change and sea level rise.
Specific projects include: 1) remediation of ditches cut decades ago that drain the marsh and oxidize sediments; 2) removing impediments to normal drainage where marsh plants are killed back in ever expanding pools; 3) alteration of sediment chemistry so soils are too stressful for invasive plants like Phragmites australis but support native plants; and 4) documentation of ecological changes to marsh plant communities following herbicide removal of Phragmites.
Devin Batchelder, (MS)