Changes in salt marsh vegetation, Phragmites australis, and nekton in response to increased tidal flushing in a New England salt marsh

  • Published source details Buschbaum R.N., Catena J., Hutchins E. & James-Pirri M.-J. (2006) Changes in salt marsh vegetation, Phragmites australis, and nekton in response to increased tidal flushing in a New England salt marsh. Wetlands, 26, 544-557.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Facilitate tidal exchange to restore degraded brackish/salt marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Facilitate tidal exchange to restore degraded brackish/salt marshes

    A before-and-after, site comparison study in 1997–2002 of three salt marshes in Massachusetts, USA (Buschbaum et al. 2006) found that widening a culvert to improve tidal exchange altered the plant community composition and reduced the height of common reed Phragmites australis. In one marsh, the overall plant community composition was significantly different in the four years after tidal restoration than before (data not reported). Species experiencing large changes in frequency included common reed (present at only 24% of sampled points after restoration, vs 40% before), narrowleaf cattail Typha angustifolia (6% after vs 18% before) and Spartina alterniflora (28% after vs 17% before). The frequency of dominant saltmeadow cordgrass Spartina patens did not clearly change (50% after vs 46% before). These frequency results are not based on assessments of statistical significance. Common reed was significantly shorter after tidal restoration (60–85 cm) than before (140–155 cm). In two adjacent natural marshes, plant community composition, species frequencies and common reed height were stable over time (see original paper). Methods: In 1998, a small culvert was replaced with a bigger one to increase tidal exchange in a degraded, reed-invaded, coastal marsh. Plant species and reed height were recorded for two years before and four years after intervention, along 4–9 transects in the restored marsh and two natural marsh areas.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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