Presentation Abstract

In the Stillaguamish estuary, tidal wetlands have been receding for decades as a result of both natural and anthropogenic changes. Despite current restoration efforts, monitoring suggests that rising stress from climate change impacts on summer flows, legacy stresses from the levee system, and increased plant mortality from avian and insect herbivores may interact to accelerate the rate of marsh loss. Lessons learned from a 2012 restoration project should inform adaptive management and future restoration projects. Post-restoration monitoring has revealed a pattern of interacting stresses at both the site and system scales that affects marsh productivity and resilience to climate change. These stresses are spatially and temporally variable. Different marsh areas respond differently, revealing characteristics of marshes that are vulnerable, resilient, or able to resist disturbance. At current restoration rates, marsh loss may slow temporarily, but not reverse. To accelerate estuary recovery, restoration must focus on reducing system-scale stresses by restoring the processes of freshwater and sediment distribution. At the site-scale, projects should identify pre-restoration conditions that may contribute to elevated plant stress post-restoration, including topography, drainage, and soil profile characteristics.

Session Title

Restoration and Protection Today for an Uncertain Tomorrow: Climate Change in Practice

Keywords

tidal marsh, restoration, lessons learned, climate change, resilience

Conference Track

SSE5: Climate Change: Impacts, Adaptation, and Research

Conference Name

Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference (Seattle, WA : 2018)

Document Type

Event

SSEC Identifier

SSE5-658

Start Date

5-4-2018 10:30 AM

End Date

5-4-2018 10:45 AM

Type of Presentation

Oral

Contributing Repository

Digital content made available by University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Geographic Coverage

Salish Sea (B.C. and Wash.)

Rights

This resource is displayed for educational purposes only and may be subject to U.S. and international copyright laws. For more information about rights or obtaining copies of this resource, please contact University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University, Bellingham, WA 98225-9103, USA (360-650-7534; heritage.resources@wwu.edu) and refer to the collection name and identifier. Any materials cited must be attributed to the Salish Sea Ecosystem Conference Records, University Archives, Heritage Resources, Western Libraries, Western Washington University.

Type

text

Language

English

Format

application/pdf

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Apr 5th, 10:30 AM Apr 5th, 10:45 AM

Lessons learned: tidal marsh restoration in a dynamic context of stress and climate change

In the Stillaguamish estuary, tidal wetlands have been receding for decades as a result of both natural and anthropogenic changes. Despite current restoration efforts, monitoring suggests that rising stress from climate change impacts on summer flows, legacy stresses from the levee system, and increased plant mortality from avian and insect herbivores may interact to accelerate the rate of marsh loss. Lessons learned from a 2012 restoration project should inform adaptive management and future restoration projects. Post-restoration monitoring has revealed a pattern of interacting stresses at both the site and system scales that affects marsh productivity and resilience to climate change. These stresses are spatially and temporally variable. Different marsh areas respond differently, revealing characteristics of marshes that are vulnerable, resilient, or able to resist disturbance. At current restoration rates, marsh loss may slow temporarily, but not reverse. To accelerate estuary recovery, restoration must focus on reducing system-scale stresses by restoring the processes of freshwater and sediment distribution. At the site-scale, projects should identify pre-restoration conditions that may contribute to elevated plant stress post-restoration, including topography, drainage, and soil profile characteristics.