Study

Utilization of a citizen monitoring protocol to assess the structure and function of natural and stabilized fringing salt marshes in North Carolina

  • Published source details Currin C.A., Delano P.C. & Valdes-Weaver L.M. (2008) Utilization of a citizen monitoring protocol to assess the structure and function of natural and stabilized fringing salt marshes in North Carolina. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 16, 97-118.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Build barriers to protect littoral brackish/salt marshes from rising water levels and severe weather

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation

Directly plant non-woody plants: brackish/saline wetlands

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Build barriers to protect littoral brackish/salt marshes from rising water levels and severe weather

    A replicated, paired, site comparison study in 2001–2004 of six salt marshes in North Carolina, USA (Currin et al. 2008) found that restored marshes – protected with breakwaters and planted with cordgrasses Spartina spp. – typically contained less, and shorter, smooth cordgrass than natural marshes. Averaged over the 22 or 31 months after intervention, smooth cordgrass cover was lower in restored than natural marshes in three of three comparisons (restored: 10–26%; natural: 33–46%). Smooth cordgrass density was lower in restored than natural marshes in two of three comparisons (for which restored: 70–162 stems/m2; natural: 150–222 stems/m2; other comparison no significant difference). Smooth cordgrass plants were shorter in restored than natural marshes in three of three comparisons (restored: 50–62 cm; natural: 64–82 cm). Methods: Between autumn 2001 and summer 2002, three degraded salt marshes were restored. Rocky breakwaters were built offshore, then cordgrasses Spartina spp. (mainly smooth cordgrass Spartina alterniflora) were planted. The study does not distinguish between the effects of the breakwaters and planting on non-planted vegetation. For each protected/planted marsh an adjacent, physically similar, natural marsh was selected for comparison. Smooth cordgrass was monitored along transects each spring and autumn for up to 31 months after intervention. Cover was estimated in 1-m2 plots, stems were counted in 0.25-m2 subplots, and the three tallest stems/plot were measured.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

  2. Directly plant non-woody plants: brackish/saline wetlands

    A replicated, paired, site comparison study in 2001–2004 of six salt marshes in North Carolina, USA (Currin et al. 2008) found that restored marshes – planted with cordgrasses Spartina spp. and protected with breakwaters – typically contained less, and shorter, smooth cordgrass than natural marshes. Averaged over the 22 or 31 months after planting, smooth cordgrass cover was lower in restored than natural marshes in three of three comparisons (restored: 10–26%; natural: 33–46%). Smooth cordgrass density was lower in restored than natural marshes in two of three comparisons (for which restored: 70–162 stems/m2; natural: 150–222 stems/m2; other comparison no significant difference). Smooth cordgrass plants were shorter in restored than natural marshes in three of three comparisons (restored: 50–62 cm; natural: 64–82 cm). Methods: Between autumn 2001 and summer 2002, three degraded salt marshes were restored. Rocky breakwaters were built offshore, then cordgrasses Spartina spp. (mainly smooth cordgrass Spartina alterniflora) were planted. The study does not distinguish between the effects of planting and the breakwaters on non-planted vegetation. For each planted marsh an adjacent, physically similar, natural marsh was selected for comparison. Smooth cordgrass was monitored along transects each spring and autumn for up to 31 months after intervention. Cover was estimated in 1-m2 plots, stems were counted in 0.25-m2 subplots, and the three tallest stems/plot were measured.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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