Restoration of a Spartina alterniflora salt marsh following a fuel oil spill, New York City, NY

  • Published source details Bergen A., Alderson C., Bergfors R., Aquila C. & Matsil M.A. (2000) Restoration of a Spartina alterniflora salt marsh following a fuel oil spill, New York City, NY. Wetlands Ecology and Management, 8, 185-195.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Directly plant non-woody plants: brackish/saline wetlands

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Directly plant non-woody plants: brackish/saline wetlands

    A replicated, paired, before-and-after, site comparison study in 1993–1997 of four salt marshes in New York, USA (Bergen et al. 2000) reported that most planted smooth cordgrass Spartina alterniflora survived the first month, and that the average height and biomass of cordgrass in planted areas typically became similar to natural cordgrass stands within 2–4 growing seasons. After one month, cordgrass survival was 50%, 60% and 99% in the three planted marshes. Cordgrass stems were 56–136 cm tall after one growing season, then 114–182 cm tall after 2–4 growing seasons. At the same time, the planted marshes had developed 15–80% cordgrass cover, 68–236 cordgrass stems/m2 and 641–2,144 g/m2 cordgrass biomass (dry, above-ground). In the majority of pairwise comparisons (see original paper), these metrics were statistically similar to existing mature cordgrass stands (where height: 137–158 cm; cover: 66–80%; density: 136–196 stems/m2; biomass: 1,477–2,138 g/m2) and greater than in degraded areas that had not been planted (where height: 34–46 cm; cover: 2–4%; density: 6–9 stems/m2; biomass: not reported). Methods: Between 1993 and 1995, smooth cordgrass was planted into bare intertidal sediment in three salt marshes (denuded by an oil spill in 1990). Plants were mostly nursery-reared seedlings (planted 30 cm apart), but some mature individuals were also planted (1–10 m apart). All seedlings were fertilized, and the sites were fenced to exclude geese. Vegetation was surveyed in September, for up to four growing seasons after planting: in planted areas (three marshes), unplanted degraded areas (four marshes) and natural cordgrass stands (four marshes).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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