Monitoring the Physical Evolution of Tidal Wetland Restoration Projects

by Tim Abbe, Philip Williams & Associates Ltd, Mill Valley, United States,
Philip Williams, Philip Williams & Associates Ltd, Mill Valley, United States,
Phyllis Faber, Philip Williams & Associates Ltd, Mill Valley, United States,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Coastal Zone '91


Increased knowledge of the ecology, biology, and physical processes of wetland environments in the last several decades has improved the awareness of the critical role these environments play in the coastal ecosystem and of the threat posed by the loss of wetlands in the United States. Since European colonization, San Francisco Bay has lost 95 percent of its original wetlands. Despite the increased effort to restore wetlands throughout California and the U.S., little is known thus far as to the success of these projects and the nature of the changes presently occurring in the few remaining ancient marshes. Without proper monitoring programs, we will not know the impact of increased development and sea-level changes on these environments, or how successful current wetland restoration programs are. Recently, local conservation groups, a developer and philanphropic foundations in the San Francisco Bay Region have funded a three-year study to document the physical and biological characteristics and evolution of several sites of current marsh restoration and pre-existing ancient marshes. As part of this study a monitoring methodology is being set-up to characterize physical processes and associated vegetation changes at the sites. These physical factors are primarily tidal hydraulics, sedimentation, hydrology, salinity, and geomorphology. Studies such as this can be used developing guidelines for future wetland preservation and restoration.

Subject Headings: Tides | Wetlands (fresh water) | Ecological restoration | Project management | Biological processes | Coastal processes | Wetlands (coastal) | Ecosystems | California | United States

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