- In March 2007, Craig Cornu (South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve), with the assistance of Laura Brophy (Green Point Consulting/Estuary Technical Group, Institute for Applied Ecology), John Bragg (South Slough NERR) and Derek Sowers (former South Slough NERR), developed the Pacific Northwest Estuarine Wetland Restoration Information Gaps Survey using the on-line format provided by SurveyMonkey.com. The goals of the survey were to: 1) provide an end-user “reality check” with respect to the tidal wetland habitats selected for the development of a reference conditions database for Oregon tidal wetlands (Brophy et al. 2011); and 2) provide the basis for discussions about adaptive approaches to estuarine wetland restoration in the Pacific Northwest at an estuarine wetland restoration advisory group meeting convened at the South Slough NERR in July 2007.
The survey was distributed via e-mail on April 3, 2007 to 50 restoration scientists, planners, and practitioners from government agencies, and non-profit, consulting, and academic organizations including watershed associations. The response rate for the survey was 62% (31 respondents).
In general, the survey respondents identified priority tidal wetland habitat classes for restoration in Oregon: high and low emergent marsh and scrub shrub and forested swamps. Other survey highlights included:
Scrub-shrub and forested tidal wetlands and tidally-influenced freshwater floodplains were the habitats most often mentioned (35% of respondents) when asked which habitat classes are not being restored but should be. Unvegetated tidal flats were the second most commonly mentioned habitat class (10% of respondents).
Most respondents undertake effectiveness monitoring as a part of their restoration projects (80%). When asked why they do not conduct effectiveness monitoring (or do not collect as much information as they would like), the overwhelming response was lack of funding. 80% indicated general lack of funding for monitoring, and 52% responded that funders require monitoring but do not provide adequate funding. No respondents (0%) chose administrative constraints or lack of monitoring guidance as obstacles to effectiveness monitoring.
Most respondents (70%) report that they conduct monitoring for additional reasons besides evaluation of project effectiveness. The reason given by most respondents (55%) was to contribute to the science of habitat restoration (e.g., evaluate various restoration treatments; answer specific ecological or physical process-based questions). Specific research questions and hypotheses being addressed by respondents are listed in the report.
When asked whether they use reference sites as part of project monitoring, most respondents (76%) answered that they did. When asked if they were able to find reference sites from which they could collect useful data, most said they could (70%), but the comments indicated some concern over the appropriateness of the reference sites being used, as well as the need for high quality reference condition datasets.
When asked whether and how they would use long term reference condition data sets if such data were made available, an overwhelming number of respondents indicated that they would use them for evaluating restoration projects (93%), designing restoration projects (80%), and evaluating adaptive management options (80%).
Finally, the survey asked respondents in four separate questions to articulate their top “burning questions,” which, if answered, would help them improve coastal habitat restoration prioritization, design, implementation, and evaluation. Their responses are listed in the report and became the basis for discussion at the 2007 estuarine wetland restoration advisory group workshop at South Slough NERR.
Brophy, L.S., C.E. Cornu, P.R. Adamus, J.A. Christy, A. Gray, L. Huang, M.A. MacClellan, J.A. Doumbia, and R.L. Tully. 2011. New Tools for Tidal Wetland Restoration: Development of a Reference Conditions Database and a Temperature Sensor Method for Detecting Tidal Inundation in Least-disturbed Tidal Wetlands of Oregon, USA. Prepared for the Cooperative Institute for Coastal and Estuarine Environmental Technology (CICEET). 198pp.