A Watershed Study for Wetland Restoration

by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory

Where rivers meet oceans, each cycle of the tide moves water in and out of estuaries. The mixing and mingling of fresh and briny water, combined with seasonal weather, creates a unique environment for ecosystems in coastal estuaries and upstream tidal rivers.

But what does climate change mean for these wetland communities? And how might activities such as dam operations and land development affect them?

To help answer those questions, researchers at the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory‘s Marine and Coastal Research Laboratory developed a predictive framework of ecological indicators and analyses for estuarine–tidal river research and management. A decade in the making, the innovative framework provides a means for understanding how both natural and human forces govern hydrology and plant communities in these complex wetland ecosystems, now and into the future.

The framework is described in “Ecohydrology of wetland plant communities along an estuarine to tidal river gradient,” which appeared September 18 in the Ecological Society of America’s open-access journal Ecosphere. The research is the latest in a series of regional-scale studies supported by the Bonneville Power Administration and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland District, which are implementing a program to reconnect and restore wetlands on the Columbia River floodplain.

Read more here: https://www.pnnl.gov/news-media/watershed-study-wetland-restoration

Read the Ecosphere paper: https://esajournals.onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/ecs2.3185