Wells Beach Station, ME, United States
Wells Beach Station, ME, United States

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Raposa K.B.,Narragansett Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve | Cole Ekberg M.L.,Save The Bay | Burdick D.M.,University of New Hampshire | Ernst N.T.,Rhode Island National Wildlife Refuge Complex | Adamowicz S.C.,Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
Regional Environmental Change | Year: 2016

Salt marshes persist within the intertidal zone when marsh elevation gains are commensurate with rates of sea-level rise (SLR). Monitoring changes in marsh elevation in concert with tidal water levels is therefore an effective way to determine if salt marshes are keeping pace with SLR over time. Surface elevation tables (SETs) are a common method for collecting precise data on marsh elevation change. Southern New England is a hot spot for SLR, but few SET elevation change datasets are available for the region. Our study synthesizes elevation change data collected from 1999 to 2015 from a network of SET stations throughout Rhode Island (RI). These data are compared to accretion and water level data from the same time period to estimate shallow subsidence and determine whether marshes are tracking SLR. Salt marsh elevation increased at a mean overall rate of 1.40 mm year−1 and ranged from −0.33 to 3.36 mm year−1 at individual stations. Shallow subsidence dampened elevation gain in mid-Narragansett Bay marshes, but in other areas of coastal RI, subsurface processes may augment surface accretion. In all cases, marsh elevation gain was exceeded by the 5.26 mm year−1 rate of increase in sea levels during the study period. Our study provides the first SET elevation change data from RI and shows that most RI marshes are not keeping pace with short- or long-term rates of SLR. It also lends support to previous research that implicates SLR as a primary driver of recent changes to southern New England salt marshes. © 2016 Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg


Neckles H.A.,U.S. Geological Survey | Lyons J.E.,U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service | Guntenspergen G.R.,U.S. Geological Survey | Shriver W.G.,University of Delaware | Adamowicz S.C.,Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge
Estuaries and Coasts | Year: 2015

Most salt marshes in the USA have been degraded by human activities, and coastal managers are faced with complex choices among possible actions to restore or enhance ecosystem integrity. We applied structured decision making (SDM) to guide selection of monitoring variables and management priorities for salt marshes within the National Wildlife Refuge System in the northeastern USA. In general, SDM is a systematic process for decomposing a decision into its essential elements. We first engaged stakeholders in clarifying regional salt marsh decision problems, defining objectives and attributes to evaluate whether objectives are achieved, and developing a pool of alternative management actions for achieving objectives. Through this process, we identified salt marsh attributes that were applicable to monitoring National Wildlife Refuges on a regional scale and that targeted management needs. We then analyzed management decisions within three salt marsh units at Prime Hook National Wildlife Refuge, coastal Delaware, as a case example of prioritizing management alternatives. Values for salt marsh attributes were estimated from 2 years of baseline monitoring data and expert opinion. We used linear value modeling to aggregate multiple attributes into a single performance score for each alternative, constrained optimization to identify alternatives that maximized total management benefits subject to refuge-wide cost constraints, and used graphical analysis to identify the optimal set of alternatives for the refuge. SDM offers an efficient, transparent approach for integrating monitoring into management practice and improving the quality of management decisions. © 2014, Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation (outside the USA).


Rochlin I.,35 Yaphank Avenue | James-Pirri M.-J.,University of Rhode Island | Adamowicz S.C.,Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge | Dempsey M.E.,United Environment & Energy, Llc | And 2 more authors.
Estuaries and Coasts | Year: 2012

An integrated marsh management (IMM) project in an urbanized watershed on Long Island, New York, USA, aimed to mitigate salt marsh degradation and to reduce mosquito production by an innovative combination of restoration and open marsh water management methods. The grid ditch network at two treatment marshes was replaced with naturalized tidal channels and ponds. Effects of the hydrologic alterations were monitored utilizing a before-after-control-impact approach. The treatment marshes experienced a number of beneficial outcomes including a fourfold reduction in the invasive Phragmites australis and increased native vegetation cover in the most degraded portions of the marsh, increased abundance and diversity of marsh killifish and estuarine nekton species, higher shorebird and waterfowl densities, and increased avian species diversity. The successful implementation of IMM concept led to improved marsh health and diminished mosquito production. Therefore, this study may serve as a template for similar large-scale integrated salt marsh restoration projects. © 2012 Coastal and Estuarine Research Federation.


Rochlin I.,35 Yaphank Avenue | James-Pirri M.-J.,University of Rhode Island | Adamowicz S.C.,Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge | Wolfe R.J.,Wetlands Habitat and Mosquito Management Program | And 4 more authors.
Wetlands Ecology and Management | Year: 2012

Salt marsh management often embraces diverse goals, ranging from the restoration of degraded marshes through re-introduction of tidal flow to the control of salt marsh mosquito production by altering marsh surface topography through Open Water Marsh Management (OMWM). However, rarely have these goals been incorporated in one project. Here we present the concept of Integrated Marsh Management (IMM), which combines the best management practices of salt marsh restoration and OMWM. Although IMM offers a comprehensive approach to ecological restoration and mosquito control, research evaluating this concept's practical implementations has been inadequate. A long-term IMM project at Wertheim National Wildlife Refuge located in a highly urbanized watershed on Long Island, New York, USA was designed to fill this knowledge gap. A combination of restoration and OMWM techniques was employed at two treatment marshes, the results monitored before and after alterations, and compared to two adjacent control marshes. The treatment marshes experienced decreased mosquito production, reduced cover of the invasive common reed (Phragmites australis), expansion of native marsh vegetation, increased killifish and estuarine nekton species abundance, as well as increased avian species diversity and waterbird abundance. This demonstration project validated the IMM conceptual approach and may serve as a case study for similar IMM projects in the future. © 2012 Springer Science+Business Media B.V.


Drake K.,Indiana University | Halifax H.,Indiana University | Halifax H.,U.S. Government Accountability Office | Adamowicz S.C.,Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge | Craft C.,Indiana University
Environmental Management | Year: 2015

Tidal salt marshes provide important ecological services, habitat, disturbance regulation, water quality improvement, and biodiversity, as well as accumulation and sequestration of carbon dioxide (CO2) in vegetation and soil organic matter. Different management practices may alter their capacity to provide these ecosystem services. We examined soil properties (bulk density, percent organic C, percent N), C and N pools, C sequestration and N accumulation at four marshes managed with open marsh water management (OMWM) and four marshes that were not at U.S. Fish and Wildlife National Wildlife Refuges (NWRs) on the East Coast of the United States. Soil properties (bulk density, percent organic C, percent N) exhibited no consistent differences among managed and non-OMWM marshes. Soil organic carbon pools (0–60-cm depth) also did not differ. Managed marshes contained 15.9 kg C/m2 compared to 16.2 kg C/m2 in non-OMWM marshes. Proportionately, more C (per unit volume) was stored in surface than in subsurface soils. The rate of C sequestration, based on 137Cs and 210Pb dating of soil cores, ranged from 41 to 152 g/m2/year. Because of the low emissions of CH4 from salt marshes relative to freshwater wetlands and the ability to sequester C in soil, protection and restoration of salt marshes can be a vital tool for delivering key ecosystem services, while at the same time, reducing the C footprint associated with managing these wetlands. © 2015, Springer Science+Business Media New York.

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