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Coastal Topics Catalog: Wetland Plants

research projects
Constructing Probability Surfaces of Ecological Change in Coastal Aquatic Systems Through Restrospective Analysis of Phragmites australis Invasion and Expansion
The project will develop a unique analytical method, which involves constructing a probability surface, which can be used to identify thresholds for the transition of coastal marshes to dominance by Phragmites. Any set of conditions can then be placed upon the probability surface, allowing the statistical method to be used in a predictive fashion. The method could be applied to a wide variety of aquatic ecosystems for which state changes occur over either a spatial and temporal extent, or both.

Constructing Probability Surfaces of Ecological Change in Coastal Aquatic Systems Through Restrospective Analysis of Phragmites australis Invasion and Expansion
The project will develop a unique analytical method, which involves constructing a probability surface, which can be used to identify thresholds for the transition of coastal marshes to dominance by Phragmites. Any set of conditions can then be placed upon the probability surface, allowing the statistical method to be used in a predictive fashion. The method could be applied to a wide variety of aquatic ecosystems for which state changes occur over either a spatial and temporal extent, or both.

Current Trends in Ecologic-Economic Valuation of Wetlands
The purposes of the report are to outline techniques in assigning economic value to wetlands, and economic valuation to natural resources along with the problems associated with the process.

Development of a Nontidal Inventory and Monitoring Strategy for Virginia - Phase I: Level I Statewide Inventory and Level II Coastal Plain Assessment
Two GIS based tools have been developed to assist with the selection of sites appropriate for the creation of wetlands. Construction of wetlands for environmental enhancement or mitigation poses great challenges in a rapidly developing landscape. Site selection in the Coastal Plain of Virginia is constrained as much by existing development as hydro-geomorphic processes.

Development of a Virginia Nontidal Wetlands Database
This tool uses GIS to target sites in the landscape suitable for wetland creation. It has application for wetland restoration or mitigation projects. The tool outputs selected sites based on five suitability parameters: presence of hydric soils, presence of hydrology, adjacency to existing wetlands, existing landuse and the opportunity for landscape conversion, and proximity to designated conservation areas.

Development of an Inventory and Multi-level Assessment Method for Mid-Atlantic Tidal Wetlands
This project is designed to provide the Virginia Marine Resources Commission, Virginia Department of Environmental Quality, Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, Maryland Department of Natural Resources and the Maryland Department of the Environment with the ability to report the current extent and condition of estuarine wetlands within three major river systems of the Delmarva. CCRM will develop a Level I, Level II and Level III tidal wetland inventory and assessment methodology for the Delmarva using the estuarine segments of the York River, Virginia, Nanticoke River, Maryland and the Indian River, Delaware as our subject watersheds. Level I involves the GIS based analysis of remotely sensed data while the Level II protocol will be derived from data collection techniques established by the VIMS Comprehensive Coastal Inventory Program (CCI) for mapping shoreline condition. Level III will produce a reference domain for mid-Atlantic estuarine wetlands using a combination of published literature, existing data and field data collection. Reference sites selected for this tier will be representative of the disturbance and ecological variability within the target watersheds. It is hoped that the development and implementation of a multi-level approach to tidal wetland inventory and assessment along with the utilization of these data by the aforementioned state environmental programs will serve as a prototype for expanded investigations across these states in the future.

Development of HGM Models for Wetlands Management in Virginia
This project initiated the development of HGM models in Virginia by 1) a planning exercise to identify and prioritize the needs for HGM model development in Virginia; 2) an initial effort to develop a Hardwood Mineral Flat model; 3) initial data collection on potential reference sites for other models; 4) a program to integrate remote sensing into HGM based wetland assessments; and 5) a protocol program to validate regional HGM models.

Development of Nontidal Wetlands Inventory, Functional Assessment, and Monitoring Strategy for Virginia
This project develops and implements a three level assessment protocol for nontidal wetlands in Virginia. This is the first phase of a series of projects which are intended to provide assessments across all of Virginia. In this project a level I – GIS based assessment will be completed on all wetlands mapped by the National Wetlands Inventory in Virginia. Level II assessments involving field assessments of stressors will be initiated in the coastal plain of Virginia. Level III assessments will involve detailed analysis of habitat and water quality functions on selected sites.

Draft Woody Depression Wetland HGM Model for the Coastal Plain of Virginia
The Hydrogeomorphic (HGM) method for modeling and assessing wetlands is an emerging standard for many federal and state agencies. Implementation of this approach in Virginia is currently hampered by a lack of appropriate models. This project developed a draft Woody Depressional Wetland HGM model for the coastal plain of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Enhancement of Virginia’s Nontidal Wetlands Regulatory Program
This project concludes the work on developing protocols for the nontidal wetlands program, by revising the protocols based on preliminary tests, and working with the Department of Environmental Quality staff to move the protocols into regular implementation.

Enhancement of Wetlands Management in Virginia
This project was designed to develop and implement monitoring and analysis protocols to support the nontidal wetlands management program in Virginia.

Field Inventory of Phragmites
The delineation of Phragmites along tidal shorelines is being collected in conjunction with data for the Shoreline Situation Reports. Analysis of status and trends in distribution will be used in managementand policy recommendations.

Geographic Information Support to Chesapeake Bay Erosion Feasibility Study, Maryland
This project determines the risk to natural habitat (beaches and marshes), and socio-economic resources that can be attributed to shoreline erosion. The project also looks at the influence boat wake activity has on shoreline erosion in protected embayments. The degree of vulnerability will be determined using a GIS based spatial model. The output will be displayed in an interactive map environment.

Increasing the probability of success in restored forested wetlands
The goal of this project was to investigate whether seedlings from parent populations adapted to waterlogged sites have a higher probability of survival than seedlings from upland sites when grown under waterlogged conditions.

Increasing the probability of success in the construction of marshes in coastal Virginia
Habitat functions of a constructed tidal marsh and two adjacent natural tidal marshes were compared between marshes and with similar data collected in the same marshes seven years earlier.

Initiating Development of a Forested Depressional Wetland HGM Model for Wetland Management in Virginia
This project initiated the preliminary development of a Forested (Woody) Depressional Wetland HGM model in the coastal plain of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Initiating Development of a Forested Headwater Wetland HGM Model for Wetlands Management in Virginia
The Forested Headwater Wetland Subclass is unique in that it is partially defined in law by the average current flow (or lack thereof) continued in the associated stream. This project initiates the development of an HGM model for the Forested Headwater Wetland subclass by determining the extent of these wetlands systems as related to annual average stream flow. The final report will include development of a preliminary definition of Forested Headwater Wetlands for HGM model development and preliminary data collection of potential HGM variables.

Intermediate Development of a Forested Headwater Wetland HGM Model for Wetlands Management in Virginia
The Forested Headwater Wetland Subclass is unique in that it is partially defined in law by the average current flow (or lack thereof) in the associated stream. This project continues the development of an HGM model for the Forested Headwater Wetland subclass by determining the extent of these wetlands systems as related to annual average stream flow. The final report will include development of a preliminary definition of Forested Headwater Wetlands for HGM model development and preliminary data collection of potential HGM variables.

Maintenance of Virginia Nontidal Wetlands Database
Maintenance of a website-accessible database for nontidal wetlands permitting in Virginia. For more information, please see http://ccrm.vims.edu/wetlands/nontidal_impacts.html

Managing Invasive Aquatic Plants in a Changing System: Strategic Consideration of Ecosystem Services
A special section paper of Conservation Biology addressing climate change stress on coastal plant communities and various associated invasives.

Marine Science Teaching Marsh
Funding was provided for improvements to the VIMS Teaching Marsh via improved signage and informational kiosks, updated video cameras, and modifications to the educational website. The website will describe wetland plant species found within the VIMS Teaching Marsh as well as general marsh properties and function. Website information will also include learning activities for children.

Monitoring of Thin-Layer Placement of Material Dredged from Bogues Bay Channel in Virginia
This project involves assessment of the impacts of spray dredging with disposal onto intertidal salt marshes in the Chincoteague Bay area. Plant communities and dredged material placement will be monitored over several years to develop management guidance for potential wider use of this disposal method. This project is the first phase of the study and incorporates the preliminary survey work and the initial post dredging followup.

Monitoring the Active Replenishment of Subsiding Habitat (MARSH) project
This project is an ongoing study of the Lee, Hill, and Sweet Hall marshes in the Pamunkey River. The study focuses on the documentation of the relationship between marsh surface elevation and the marsh plant community. The project includes experimental manipulation of the study sites involving a variety of methods for raising the elevation of the marsh. Evaluation of the potential for controlling the composition of the marsh plant community by incremental additions of material to the marsh surface is underway. Other studies include the community structure of birds, fish, insects, and benthos as well as detailed water quality and elevation monitoring. An interim report can be found at http://ccrm.vims.edu/MarshNewsletter.pdf

Occurrence of the invasive weedy species Phragmites australis adjacent to agricultural lands and its response to conservation reserve program (CRP) control methods
This project focuses on developing a model of Phragmitesinvasiveness at upland/wetland interfaces by determining the mechanism of invasion, competition and spread of Phragmites. With respect to weed control, one of our applied hypotheses is that CRP sites enhance N removal prior to groundwater discharge to the wetland-upland interface, and that best management practices like buffer strips are environmentally sound forms of controlling Phragmites invasion and spread.

Oldest Operating Wetland Mitigation Bank in the US
This report is a review of the Goose Creek Wetland Bank in Chesapeake, Virginia. The paper focuses on its development and utilization.

On-going Development of Nontidal Wetland Inventory, Functional Assessment, and Monitoring Strategy for Virginia
This project develops and implements a three level assessment protocol for nontidal wetlands in Virginia. This is the first phase of a series of projects which are intended to provide assessments across all of Virginia. In this project a level I – GIS based assessment will be completed on all wetlands mapped by the National Wetlands Inventory in Virginia. Level II assessments involving field assessments of stressors will be initiated in the coastal plain of Virginia. Level III assessments will involve detailed analysis of habitat and water quality functions on selected sites. Preliminary site selection in the coastal plain will be undertaken in this project phase.

Pamunkey Marshes
This project evaluated several methods to preserve the character of valuable tidal freshwater wetlands in the face of increasing relative sea level, by controlled additions to marsh surface elevations.

Recommendations for Implementing the Tidal Wetlands Mitigation-Compensation Policy
We recommend that VMRC and wetlands boards consider both vegetated and non-vegetated wetlands in implementing the no-net-loss policy.

Refinement and validation of a multi-level assessment method for Mid-Atlantic tidal wetlands
This project will build upon work conducted under the “Development of an Inventory and Multi-Level Assessment Method for Virginia, Maryland and Delaware Tidal Wetlands” project currently being conducted by CCRM and collaborative partners from the Delaware Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control, and Maryland Department of Natural Resources. The Level III assessment protocol developed under this ongoing effort will be utilized in this study to sample approximately 20 additional estuarine tidal wetland sites within the York River, Virginia and Indian River, Delaware watersheds. Additional data collected at these sites will be used to help validate the Level I and Level II condition assessment models developed under previous research efforts. We hope that the development, refinement and validation of a multi-level assessment model will result in its implementation by state and local environmental management and regulatory agencies across the Delmarva region.

Status and Trends of Phragmites australis Invasion within Constructed Wetlands of Virginia
Research that centers around Phragmites and its management in Virginia.

science publications
A Summary of Methods for Controlling Phragmites australis
A synopsis of the most common practices for eradicating P. australis. The purpose of this paper is not to endorse any one method but rather outline the options that are currently available.

Advances in Wetland Status and Trends Monitoring - Cumulative Error Comparisons
This paper examines the limitations of certain wetland mapping techniques with special emphasis on cumulative error problems.

An Introduction to Wetland Seed Banks
An article that describes wetland seed banks and seed ecology.

Common Reed Phragmites Australis Distribution in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed
The extensive Phragmites occurrence throughout the upper estuary suggests that both local and regional environmental factors of management concern may contribute to the suspected spread of Phragmites along both Maryland and Virginia shoreline.

Creating Tidal Marshes in the Chesapeake Bay
Creating Tidal Salt Marshes in Chesapeake Bay

Detritus: Mother Nature's Rice Cake
This article examines the composition and importance of detritus in the food web.

Development of Forested Depressional Wetland HGM model for wetlands management in Virginia
The Hydrogeomorphic (HGM) method for modeling and assessing wetlands is an emerging standard for many federal and state agencies. Implementation of this approach in Virginia is currently hampered by a lack of appropriate models. This project initiated the preliminary development of a Forested (Woody) Depressional Wetland HGM model in the coastal plain of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Field Guide to Virginia Salt and Brackish Marsh Plants
An illustrated publication of salt and brackish wetland plants by zonation within the marsh.

MARSH Project Newsletter
Scientists at VIMS are studying the effect of spray dredging a thin layer of material on the marsh surface in three locations. At the same time, other smaller scale experiments involving Koir logs and mesh were installed to test sediment trapping effectiveness.

Nontidal Wetland Functions And Values
A report that discusses the role of wetlands and their various functions. A Wetlands Technical Report.

Plant Adaptations to Saturated Soils and the Formation of Hypertrophied Lenticels and Adventitious Roots in Woody Species
A wetlands technical report on determining the extent of forested wetlands using analysis of roots and hypertrophied lenticels.

Plowing Through the Muck: A Review of Wetland Assessment/Evaluation Methods
A wetlands technical report reviewing various assessment and evaluation methods.

The Formation of Hypertrophied Lenticels, Adventitious Water Roots, and an Oxidized Rhizosphere by Acer rubrum Seedlings over Time Along a Hydrologic Gradient, December 1994
The effect of three hydrologic regimes (dry, saturated, and inundated) were investigated on red maple seedlings and their root systems.

Tidal Marsh Inventories
Publications for localities with maps and tables indicating wetland coverage.

Wetland Seed Banks: Research in Natural and Created Wetlands
A wetlands technical report describing the historical perspective of seed banks and their use in research and created wetlands.

Wetlands Flora Reports
A collection of individualized species reports for wetlands flora.

Wetlands Management Handbook
Information on wetlands ordinance, dunes, guidelines, mitigation policies, permits, and marinas for Virginia.

Wetlands of Virginia: total, isolated and headwater
A special CCRM report that focuses on various types of wetlands - especially isolated and headwater wetlands.

map products
Development of Tidal Wetland Inventory and Assessment for York River, Virginia Watershed
The objective of this project is to provide VMRC and DEQ the ability to report status and trends of estuarine wetlands along with cumulative impacts to this resource within the York River watershed. CCRM will utilize unique data sets obtained over the past 30 +/- years to provide a GIS-based analysis. In addition to the remotely sensed data outlined above, data previously collected by CCRM’s Comprehensive Coastal Inventory (CCI) will be incorporated into this assessment.

Maritime Forest Project
The purpose of this project were to use remote sensing techniques to delineate existing coastal maritime forests, as well as compute, on a county-by-county basis, the amount of maritime forest cover present in each coastal locality, and the extent of maritime forests located within conservation lands.

Tidal Marsh Inventory
GIS coverage of all marshes delineated in the Tidal Marsh Inventory Series.

Wetlands Data Viewer
The Wetlands Data Viewer tool allows users to obtain National Wetland Inventory (NWI) statistics for any hydrologic unit in Virginia.

training

Wetlands Self Taught Education Units
A training series on various topics related to wetlands with units and self tests.

in the news
Chesapeake BayWatch with Dr. Kirk Havens
Chesapeake Bay Watch is a continuing program designed to engage the public in issues regarding the living resources and natural history of the Bay. Topics range from current issues to plant and animal species to seasonal changes in the Bay and other topics of general interest.

Garden Club of America Scholarship
The Center manages the annual advertisement, review, and selection of recipients for the Garden Club of America Scholarship for Wetland Studies. Each year the Center advertises and responds to inquiries regarding the award. In February it receives, reviews, and ranks applicants and makes a recommendation to the GCA for that years awards. Awards are open to any graduate student undertaking a field oriented study of wetlands at an American university. For more information, please see http://ccrm.vims.edu/garden_club.html

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