Developing Natural Wetlands Management Stategies From Long-Term Field Monitoring

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Cofer-Shabica, Stephen V.
Nakashima, Lindsay D.
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Numerous measurement techniques exist to quantify wetland changes, but the causes of coastal land loss remain incompletely understood. Six different methods for measuring sedimentation and erosion rates on marsh and mudflat surfaces were applied at three back barrier study sites on Cumberland Island, Georgia in an effort to determine whether channel dredging is affecting marsh/mudflat habitat sustainability. The measurement techniques were designed to quantify minute changes in wetland elevation and width. The data provided here date from December 1989 through August 1994. We found that the techniques had differing sensitivities or levels of accuracy for measuring subtle changes in wetlands, which could impact estimates of sedimentation and affect the costs or direction of management strategies in wetlands. The sedimentation-table and sedimentation-pin techniques provided the most accurate and most dynamic results in that they also rendered data for NOAA-based local sea level rise curves. These techniques have been proposed in a practical plan for the National Biological Service to monitor and diagnose critically eroding wetland habitats in the United States.
Sponsored and Organized by: U.S. Geological Survey, Georgia Department of Natural Resources, The University of Georgia, Georgia State University, Georgia Institute of Technology
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