EPA Science Inventory

Adaptive Management and Monitoring as Fundamental Tools to Effective Salt Marsh Restoration

Citation:

Buchsbaum, R. N. AND C. WIGAND. Adaptive Management and Monitoring as Fundamental Tools to Effective Salt Marsh Restoration. Chapter 14, Charles T. Roman and David M. Burdick (ed.), Tidal Marsh Restoration: A Synthesis of Science and Management. Springer, New York, NY, , 213-231, (2012).

Description:

Adaptive management as applied to ecological restoration is a systematic decision-making process in which the results of restoration activities are repeatedly monitored and evaluated to provide guidance that can be used in determining any necessary future restoration actions. In the set-up phase, stakeholders agree upon the overall goals of the restoration project, plan restoration activities, and develop system response or conceptual models. After implementation of management measures, the project enters an iterative phase with a focus on monitoring and assessment. These determine whether adjustments to management measures are warranted. As applied to salt marsh restoration, an adaptive management framework should include triggers and targets for specific structural and functional components (e.g., vegetation and hydrology), a schedule for management and restoration activities, interim criteria, and a monitoring plan to assess the progress of the project. An underlying assumption of adaptive management is that ecosystems are complex and inherently variable making it difficult to precisely forecast the outcome of any management action. Thus adaptive management and monitoring go hand in hand. Given past abuses (e.g., diking, filling, and ditching) and present problems of rising sea level, global climate change, and cultural eutrophication, it is in the best interest of society to improve salt marsh restoration practices through an adaptive management framework with a strong monitoring component. This chapter discusses the role of adaptive management and monitoring as essential practices to guide projects that are designed to restore tidal flow to coastal marshes.

Purpose/Objective:

This chapter by NHEERL’s Atlantic Ecology Division will be submitted to a book entitled “Restoring Tidal Flow”. The chapter defines and describes adaptive management and monitoring that are necessary for effective salt marsh restoration. Stakeholders, including scientists, regulators, state and federal wetland experts, local officials, citizens, and other interested parties, need to come together at the outset to agree on the overall project goals. In a restoration plan specific targets (e.g., hydrological, soil, vegetative) should be selected, but with the understanding that they can be adjusted during the course of the restoration in response to the on-the-ground reality. There must be agreement on the conceptual designs and schedules for monitoring specific parameters in the restored and reference marshes, and for the triggers that will lead to a re-examination of management activities. Effective restoration requires a commitment to monitor the recovery of a restored site for a number of years, gauged to the anticipated trajectories of key parameters. Use of standardized monitoring protocols among a number of restoration projects with managed and reference marshes allows for cross-restoration comparisons within a region. Tracking both restored and reference marshes within a region over time will help determine the rate and direction of recovery in restored systems. Adaptive management and monitoring are essential components of an effective salt marsh restoration program.

URLs/Downloads:

aedlibrary@epa.gov

Record Details:

Record Type: DOCUMENT (BOOK CHAPTER)
Start Date: 08/07/2012
Completion Date: 08/07/2012
Record Last Revised: 10/05/2012
Record Created: 10/01/2009
Record Released: 10/01/2009
OMB Category: Other
Record ID: 214405

Organization:

U.S. ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION AGENCY

OFFICE OF RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT

NATIONAL HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL EFFECTS RESEARCH LAB

ATLANTIC ECOLOGY DIVISION

HABITATS EFFECT BRANCH