Researchers from the Oregon Department of Geology and Mineral Industries and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute provide technical collaboration..
Habitat restoration along the Oregon coast
Habitat restoration is on the rise in the coastal United States, and restoring an ecosystem requires an understanding of its pre-development condition. Datasets that provide that information for coastal habitats often are spotty and insufficient, and building effective ones requires the close and continuous monitoring of habitats, a costly practice, over large undisturbed habitats. In the Pacific Northwest, region-wide reference datasets on physical and biological attributes for tidal wetland habitats are often lacking—making collection of such data a high priority for restoration.
With funding support from CICEET, researchers at the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, Green Point Consulting, and other project partners, are adapting iButton technology to monitor and log data on tidal inundation in some of the least-disturbed tidal wetlands of the Pacific Northwest.
iButtons—dime-sized temperature recording devices—have proven to be a useful tool for measuring tidal inundation at wetland restoration sites. A single tide gauge cannot provide detailed, spatially-explicit inundation data for large, complex sites. Other methods, like computer modeling, are much more expensive and require consider-able expertise. The use of affordable iButtons, however, allows for data to be collected in multiple locations over a large geographic area.
iButtons are inexpensive recording devices—$15 to $25 each—for measuring tidal inundation, and when deployed provide detailed information on exactly where and when tides are flooding across a site.
Using iButtons and other technologies, the team has generated a draft “blueprint” containing detailed data on the characteristics of undisturbed tidal wetlands. This “blueprint” is being used to design and evaluate tidal swamp restoration work throughout Oregon and the Pacific Northwest.
This “blueprint” will be augmented by data from an EPA-funded study on tidal swamp restoration and reference sites in the Siuslaw and Yaquina River Estuaries, “Effectiveness Monitoring at Tidal Wetland Restoration and Reference Sites in the Siuslaw River Estuary: A Tidal Swamp Focus.” Completed by Laura Brophy, Green Point Consulting, this study was the first comprehensive data set published on brackish tidal swamp ecosystems of Oregon’s outer coast.
Craig Cornu, stewardship coordinator
South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve
T: 541/888-2581 ext. 301
E: email@example.com; www.oregon.gov/DSL/SSNERR/
Laura Brophy, Principal, Green Point Consulting