Innovative tidal control successfully promotes saltmarsh restoration

Rankin, Caleb, Gaston, Troy, Sadat-Noori, Mahmood, Glamore, William, Morton, Jason, and Chalmers, Anita (2023) Innovative tidal control successfully promotes saltmarsh restoration. Restoration Ecology, 31 (7). e13774.

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The reduction of saltmarsh habitat at a global scale has seen a concomitant loss of associated ecosystem services. As such, there is a need and a push for habitat rehabilitation. This study examined an innovative saltmarsh restoration project in Australia which sought to address the threats of mangrove encroachment and sea level rise. The project was implemented in 2017, using automated hydraulic control gates, termed “SmartGates,” to lower the tidal regime over one site, effectively reversing sea level rise at a local level. Measured indicators of saltmarsh cover, number of species, seedling counts, and saltmarsh assemblages all showed significant positive development over time, with trends varying based on saltmarsh zone. The saltmarsh, predominantly Sarcocornia quinqueflora, developed from remnant supralittoral (previously high) marsh which remained at 45% cover to achieve over 15% coverage across the cleared habitat after 3 years. Slower development in the low marsh (<5%) compared to other zones contrasts with other saltmarsh restoration studies which may be due to the unique nature of the restoration method or the nature of Australian saltmarsh species which favor higher elevations and drier conditions. The development of saltmarsh at the treatment site was found to track toward that at comparison sites over time, becoming similar to some comparison sites by the studies end. This study highlights the usefulness of the novel restoration method used and of the measured indicators for assessing saltmarsh development. This innovative tidal control method could play an important role in the future of saltmarsh restoration worldwide.

Item ID: 78856
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1526-100X
Keywords: climate change, mangrove encroachment, novel restoration, restoration evaluation, restoration techniques, sea level rise
Copyright Information: © 2022 The Authors. Restoration Ecology published by Wiley Periodicals LLC on behalf of Society for Ecological Restoration. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivsLicense, which permits use and distribution in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited, the use is non-commercial and no modifications or adaptations are made.
Date Deposited: 20 Jun 2023 00:56
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410402 Environmental assessment and monitoring @ 50%
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3707 Hydrology > 370702 Ecohydrology @ 50%
SEO Codes: 18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1802 Coastal and estuarine systems and management > 180201 Assessment and management of coastal and estuarine ecosystems @ 100%
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