The goal of the Environmental Monitoring and Assessment Program - Wetlands (EMAP-Wetlands) Southeastern Pilot Study is to develop field indicators of salt marsh condition. These indicators are of four general types: (1) vegetation; (2) hydrology; (3) soil parameters; and (4) soil constituents. Field measurements and samples will be collected during late summer/early fall in 1991 and will be analyzed to identify which indicators and measurements best delineate salt marsh in 'good' condition from that in 'impaired' condition. Thus the project will involve field work, laboratory analysis, and data analysis. Results from this project will be used to establish criteria and parameters for long-term monitoring and assessment of salt marshes, particularly those parameters that may serve as indicators of healthy salt marsh and deteriorated salt marsh. Since EMAP-Wetlands-Southeastern is a pilot study, the measurement criteria will be evaluated as one of the project goals. Of concern will be how well the standardized sampling methods performed in actual field conditions, and which of these methods can be used to assess and characterize salt marshes.