Tidal Wetlands Primer
An Introduction to Their Ecology, Natural History, Status, and Conservation
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: University of Massachusetts Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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Why do we care about tidal wetlands? What is the future of salt marshes? How many kinds of tidal wetlands are there? Ralph Tiner introduces us to their ecology and leads us through a fascinating history, including a time when most people thought...
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Today tidal wetlands are widely recognized as among the world’s most valuable natural resources. This has not always been the case as many such wetlands have been filled for development of various kinds and degraded by pollution, hydrologic modification, and other human actions...
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Several people stimulated my interest in tidal wetlands and gave me opportunities to develop my skills as a wetland ecologist over the years. For their support, I’d like to thank John Rankin and Michael Lefor...
Purpose and Organization of the Book
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The significance of tidal wetlands as coastal landscapes, their vital contribution to estuarine productivity, and their utilization by fish and wildlife of recreational and commercial importance were largely responsible for generating interest in their conservation...
1. Definitions and Classification of Tidal Wetlands and Estuaries
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Figure 1.1. Aerial view of tidal wetlands: (a) along the New Jersey coast showing tidal wetlands formed behind barrier islands and along the Mullica River and ( b) tidal wetlands in a Connecticut embayment off Long Island Sound. (a: Copyright Geospatial Division, MDA Information Systems Inc., Gaithersburg, MD)Figure 1.2. Marshes dominated by herbaceous species are the most common type in North America, while tidal flats predominate in regions with extremely high tidal ranges: (a) Nova Scotia salt marsh and ...
2. Origin and Formation of Tidal Wetlands
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Figure 2.1. Aerial view of tidal wetlands behind some of Georgia?s barrier islands and along the Altamaha River. (Copyright Geospatial Division, MDA Information Systems Inc., Gaithersburg, MD)Figure 2.3. As the ice sheet melted and sea level rose quickly, some areas depressed by the weight of the ice were flooded until their surfaces rebounded. The wavy gray regions along the coast from Prince Edward Island to Massachusetts represent former marine bottoms. (Modified from Belknap and Shipp 1991; ...
3. The Dynamic Intertidal Environment
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Figure 3.1. Elements of the water budget of a New England salt marsh. (Adapted from Nuttle 1988)Figure 3.2. Three types of daily tides: (a) semidiurnal; (b) diurnal; and (c) mixed. Figure 3.3. Changes in tides over a lunar month: (a) semidiurnal tide (Cape May, New Jersey); (b) diurnal (Shell Beach, LA); and (c) mixed tides (Neah Bay, WA). (Prepared from NOAA data)Figure 3.4. The gravitational pull of the moon and sun on the Earth affect tidal range and in some places ...
4. Plant Response to the Tidal Environment
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Figure 4.1. Species occurrence along an elevation gradient in a Long Island salt marsh relative to mean low water. Mean tide level ( MTL) is 3.73 feet (1.14 m), while the mean tide range for this area is 7.01 feet (2.14 m) and the spring tide range is 7.60 feet (2.12 m). ( Data from Bartoldus 1984)Figure 4.2. Variations in the elevational range of smooth cordgrass (Spartina alterniflora) in North America. MTR = mean tide range; HTL = half tide level (the midpoint between mean high water and mean ...
5. Tidal Wetland Types and their Vegetation
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Figure 5.1. Aerial view of wetlands along Connecticut?s Long Island Sound shore.Figure 5.2. All beaches are not alike: (a) gravel beach ( Bay of Fundy, NS); ( b) coarse, sandy beach (Cape Cod Bay, MA, with broad sand flats); and (c) broad, fine, sandy beach (GA).Redroot (Amaranthus retroflexus) Newfoundland to Florida and Texas (tropical America native)Beach wormwood (Artemisia stellariana) Quebec to Virginia; also Florida and Louisiana (native of Japan)...
6. Tidal Wetlands as Wildlife Habitat
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Figure 6.1. Marsh periwinkles (Littoraria irrorata) climbing smooth cordgrass stems to avoid flooding and predation at high tide in a Georgia salt marsh. Figure 6.2. This generalized food web shows the complexity of interactions between plants and animals in the estuarine environment. Primary producers capture energy from the sun and convert it into biomass that serves as food for some animals, which are the food for others, and so forth. ( Bryant and Pennock 1988; ...
7. Functions and Values of Tidal Wetlands
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Table 7.1. Major functions of tidal wetlands and some of their valuesWater storage Flood- and storm-damage protection, water source during dry season (freshwater wetlands), peat deposits, fish and shellfish habitat, waterfowl and waterbird habitat, recreational boating, fishing, shellfishing, waterfowl hunting, Nutrient retention and cycling Water-quality renovation, increases in plant productivity and aquatic ...
8. Extent, Threats, and Human Uses of North American Tidal Wetlands
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General global distribution of major areas supporting salt marshes and mangroves. Salt marshes dominate the coasts at mid to high latitudes, while mangroves occupy tropical and subtropical shores. (Adapted from: Boorman 2003; Chapman 1977; data from Geoscience Australia, NASA Earth ObservatorySources: Hall et al. 1994 for Alaska based on statistical sampling; other estimates from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service?s National Wetlands Inventory data, September 2009 and Massachusetts DEP.Notes: To convert acreage to hectares multiply by 0.4047. * District of Columbia had 230 acres of tidal ...
9. Tidal Wetland Conservation and Management
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Table 9.1. Timeline of numerous significant events impacting tidal wetland conservation1849?1860 Swamp Lands Act gave land to 15 states (excluding the original 13 states) to be drained and reclaimed ( LA, AL, AR, CA, FL, IL, IN, IA, MI, MS, MO, OH, WI, MN, and OR), and thereby 1899 Rivers and Harbors Act enacted giving U.S. Army Corps of Engineers responsibility for regulating dredging, filling and construction of structures in navigable waters. (Note: Although not originally ...
10. Wetland Identification, Mapping, Delineation, and Functional Assessment
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Wetland Identification, Mapping, Delineation, and Functional Assessment 331Table 10.1. Plants specifically referenced in state tidal wetland laws in some northeastern states for wetland Schoenoplectus maritimus (Scirpus maritimus, S. paludosus) X X ? ?Notes: Plants are listed by current scientific name with the one listed in the law given in parentheses (to species level, with typos corrected ). Where genus only was referenced, the appropriate species have been marked. ...
11. Tidal Wetland Restoration, Creation, and Monitoring
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Table 11.1. Fundamental questions to consider in planning tidal wetland restoration or creation1. What type of tidal wetland is desired? (Specifying this may be required by regulatory agencies as a condition 2. How do existing government wetland regulations apply to the proposed restoration or creation project? (Consult federal, state, and local agencies for specifics; permits are often required for proactive restoration 3. Where are suitable restoration or creation sites located and are they available for use? (This step involves ...
12. The Future of Tidal Wetlands
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Figure 12.1. Three examples of relative sea-level rise ( RSLR) for an area expe-riencing varying rates: (a) positive RSLR due to some subsidence ( NY); ( b) very high positive RSLR from extreme subsidence (Grand Isle, LA); and (c) negative RSLR due to extreme uplift from tectonic activity ( Juneau, AK). ( NOAA)Figure 12.2. Bulkheading shores to protect private property prevent natural coastal ...
Appendix A. List of North American Wetlands of International Importance: Tidal Wetlands
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Appendix B. Profiles of Some Tidal Wetland Restoration Projects on the Atlantic and Pacific Coasts of the United States
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About the Author, Back Cover
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Page Count: 560
Illustrations: 166 illus.
Publication Year: 2013