Tidal marsh mitigation in the Ogeechee River Estuary, GA
Cotton, Alyson Craig
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Short and long-term changes were examined in Georgia tidal marshes to evaluate mitigation progress. Water conditions, sedimentation, and vegetation were monitored in a former rice impoundment before and after removal of hydrologic restrictions. Water conditions (water level, salinity, pH, dissolved oxygen) improved immediately, but after 2 years vegetation cover remained low and sedimentation rates were extremely high. A GIS was used to compare channel density, order, sinuousity, and edge habitat in aerial photographs of a natural marsh with those in a formerly impounded marsh 50 and 100 years after restoration. Drainage patterns in the restored marsh were highly altered and did not exhibit substantial changes over time. Channel density and edge habitat were highest in the restored marsh, but edge may not equal access to the intertidal area. Natural drainage patterns are not expected to develop in the mitigation site over the long term (100 years).