Technology and success in restoration, creation, and enhancement of Spartina alterniflora marshes in the United States. Volume I -- Executive Summary and Annotated Bibliography
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Technology and success in restoration, creation, and enhancement of Spartina alterniflora marshes in the United States. Volume I -- Executive Summary and Annotated Bibliography

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    Extensive losses of coastal wetlands in the United States caused by sea-level rise, land subsidence, erosion, and coastal development have increased hterest in the creation of salt marshes within estuaries. Smooth cordgrass Spartina altemiflora is the species utilized most for salt marsh creation and restoration throughout the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of the U.S., while S. foliosa and Salicomia virginica are often used in California. Salt marshes have many valuable functions such as protecting shorelines from erosion, stabilizing deposits of dredged material, dampening flood effects, trapping water-born sediments, serving as nutrient reservoirs, acting as tertiary water treatment systems to rid coastal waters of contaminants, serving as nurseries for many juvenile fish and shellfish species, and serving as habitat for various wildlife species (Kusler and Kentula 1989). The establishment of vegetation in itself is generally sufficient to provide the functions of erosion control, substrate stabilization, and sediment trapping. The development of other salt marsh functions, however, is more difficult to assess. For example, natural estuarine salt marshes support a wide variety of fish and shellfish, and the abundance of coastal marshes has been correlated with fisheries landings (Turner 1977, Boesch and Turner 1984). Marshes function for

    aquatic species by providing breeding areas, refuges from predation, and rich feeding grounds (Zimmerman and Minello 1984, Boesch and Turner 1984, Kneib 1984, 1987, Minello and Zimmerman 1991). However, the relative value of created marshes versus that of natural marshes for estuarine animals has been questioned (Carnmen 1976, Race and Christie 1982, Broome 1989, Pacific Estuarine Research Laboratory 1990, LaSalle et al. 1991, Minello and Zimmerman 1992, Zedler 1993). Restoration of all skt marsh functions is necessary to prevent habitat creation and restoration

    activities from having a negative impact on coastal ecosystems.

    This project was undertaken to provide resource managers, habitat researchers, coastal planners, and the general public with an assessment of the technology and success in restoration, enhancement, and creation of salt marshes in the United States. The objective was to be accomplished through the development of three products: 1) an annotated bibliography of the pertinent literature, 2) an inventory of restored, enhanced, or created Spartina altem$ora marshes, and 3) a directory of people working in salt marsh creation and restoration. This executive summary describes these products and provides an overall assessment of our understanding regarding restoration, enhancement, and creation of salt marsh habitats. In particular, we have stressed Spartina altemzjZora marshes and habitat functions related to the support of fishes, crustaceans, and other aquatic life.

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