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University of New England Coastal Trail and Marsh Restoration Project Dr. Pamela Morgan’s “Restoring Coastal Habitats in the Gulf of Maine” class Spring 2008 Overview Project Phases: Marsh Restoration and Coastal Trail Plan What We Did Observations & Research Maps What We Plan To Do

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University of new england coastal trail and marsh restoration project l.jpg

University of New England Coastal Trail and Marsh Restoration Project

Dr. Pamela Morgan’s

“Restoring Coastal Habitats in the Gulf of Maine” class

Spring 2008


Overview l.jpg

Overview

  • Project Phases: Marsh Restoration and Coastal Trail Plan

  • What We Did

    • Observations & Research

    • Maps

  • What We Plan To Do

    • Goals

    • Marsh Restoration Plan

    • Coastal Trail Plan

      • Design Ideas

  • Why is this an important project?

    • Benefits to the UNE community


Project phases marsh restoration and coastal trail plan l.jpg

Project Phases: Marsh Restoration and Coastal Trail Plan

  • Two parts:

    • The restoration of a UNE coastal salt marsh

    • The design of a coastal trail along UNE’s waterfront property


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Illustration of a Typical Salt Marsh

http://soundbook.soundkeeper.org/images/wetland_profile.jpg


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Why are salt marshes important?

  • Healthy marshes serve important ecological functions:

    • Prevent erosion

    • Filter water & play a crucial role in carbon cycling

    • A natural habitat for many species of fish, birds & other wildlife

    • Are among the most productive ecosystems in the world, yet are very fragile and easily disturbed


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Coastal Marsh Restoration Goals

  • Assess & minimize current impacts

  • Restore site to a healthy state

  • Improve ecological functions of the site & enhance aesthetic values


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Current Marsh Impacts


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Coastal Trail Goals

  • Expose people to the beauty of UNE’s coastal location

  • Educate people about the benefits of coastal wetlands


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What We Did: Observations & Research

  • Coastal Wetland Restoration class – researching the benefits of coastal wetlands

  • Observing area of marsh and trail, researching the degradation and impacts of UNE’s coastal salt marsh

  • Surveying the local community

  • Researching federal and state wetland laws and regulations & historical use of the area


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What We Did: Creating Maps

  • Contour map (elevations & surface water flow)

  • Current structures map (current buildings, lots)

  • Coastal views (aesthetic views from projected trail site)

  • Soils & vegetation maps (conditions of marsh area)

  • Aerial maps from Google Earth & historical aerial views were used

    • helped to determine optimal areas for trail design

    • assisted in the marsh restoration project to determine surrounding land quality of the marsh


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Contour Map: Site Elevations & Surface Water Flow


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Current Structures Map: Current Buildings, Parking Lots & Structures


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Coastal Views: Aesthetic Views Along Projected Trail


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Soils Map: Current Soil Types & Quality of Marsh Area


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Vegetation Map: Current Vegetation At and Around Marsh and Trail Area


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Aerial Maps – Current Google Earth & Historical Aerial Views


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What We Plan To Do: Proposed Marsh Restoration Plan

  • Potential habitats

  • Landscaping

  • Hydrology

  • Water quality

  • Soils

  • Vegetation

  • Animal communities


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Potential Habitats

  • Salt marsh with an adjacent upland

    • Acts as a buffer (Zedler 2000)

    • Increases biodiversity (Zedler 2000)

  • Wetland-upland transition zone

    • Most naturally occurring type (Zedler 2000)

    • Allows plant species to migrate upland to compensate for sea level rise (Zedler 2000)


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Landscaping

  • Gradation of the site

    • Gentle slope from shoreline to end of project site

      • Wetland-upland transition zone

    • Essential for migration of plants towards land (Zedler 2000)

http://www.qc.ec.gc.ca/faune/AtlasDeRestaurationDesRivesDuSaint-Laurent

/annexes/rive%20en%20remblai%20pente%20douce1.jpg


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Hydrology

  • Appropriate elevations are necessary

    • Too low  flooding

    • Too high  not enough flooding, area will become dry

  • Proper gradation of the landscape is vital

    • Prevents erosion

    • Allows for freshwater input

      • “Significant component of hydrology” (Zedler 2000)

      • Rainwater can be filtered into the marsh (Zedler 2000)


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Water Quality

  • Main solution  correct current pollution issues

    • Can cause death of plant communities (Kennish 2001)

    • Toxic materials lead to bioaccumulation (Day et. Al 1989)

  • Limit runoff of hazardous materials

  • Remove debris and litter


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Soils

  • Goal  create conditions that will support plant and animal communities

  • Compacted soil will need to be loosened with power auger or rototiller (Zedler 2000)

  • Remove substrates and excavate fill on marsh surface

  • Organic materials and fertilizers may need to be added (Zedler 2000)


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Vegetation

  • Important aspect of salt marsh systems (Zedler 2000)

  • Select species historically and presently native to area

  • Determine boundaries of high and low marsh: different species in each area (Penning and Bertness 1999)

  • Favor salt tolerant species at first, such as Spartina alterniflora(Pennings and Bertness 1999)

  • Prohibit public access to limit trampling


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Animal Communities

  • Stable plant community essential for animals

    • Foundation of food-webs (Day et al. 1989)

  • Removal of green crab (Carcinus maenas)

    • Dominant non-native invasive species

  • Select species historically and presently native to area

    • Introduction program

http://www.glaucus.org.uk/ShoreCrabsDSCF0882E.jpg


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Monitoring

  • Hydrology

    • Soil water depths and salinities, erosion and accretion rates, and range of tidal flooding (Burdick et al. 1997)

  • Water quality

    • Salinity, pH, pollution levels, and sediment clarity (Pennings and Bertness 1999)

  • Soils

    • Soil cores, elevation and erosion rates, and organic matter content (Zedler 2000)

  • Vegetation

    • Species present, species abundance, growth rates, biomass, and presence of invasive species (Zedler 2001)

  • Animal Communities

    • Species present, species abundance, biodiversity, and presence of invasive species (Zedler 2000)


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References Cited

  • Bertness, M.D., S.D. Gaines, M.E. Hay and S.C. Pennings. 1999. Marine Community Ecology. Sinaeu Associates, Sunderland, MA.

  • Burdick, M.M., M. Dionne, R.M. Boumans and F.T. Short. 1997. Ecological responses to tidal restorations of two northern New England salt marshes. Wetlands Ecology and Management 4(2): 129-144.

  • Day, J.W., C. Hall, W. Kemp, and A Yanez-Arancibia. 1989. Estuarine Ecology. John Wiley and Sons, New York; Background, Theory and Issues Ch 1 (pp. 3-45); Human Impacts in Estuaries Ch 13 (pp. 512-543).

  • Kennish, M.J., 2001. Coastal Salt Marsh Systems in the US: A Review of Anthropogenic Impacts. Journal of Coastal Research 17(3):731-748.

  • Zedler, J.B. (ed.) 2000. Handbook for Restoring Tidal Wetlands. CRC Press, NY.


What we plan to do coastal trail plan l.jpg

What We Plan To Do: Coastal Trail Plan

  • Trail from Security Office (new “Welcome Center”) to kiosk

  • Shed removal, removal of adjacent parking lots

  • Construction of outdoor classroom & “green space”

  • Informational kiosks at head of trail & interpretive signs along trail


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Coastal Trail Plan Design


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Coastal Trail Design: Features


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Design Ideas: Before & After


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Design Ideas: Before & After


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Why is this an important project?

  • Function and Values of a healthy salt marsh

  • Aesthetics

  • Recreational and Educational use for UNE community (Vision Statement)

    • Trail

    • Outdoor Classroom

    • “Green space”


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