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New Jersey (USA) Wetlands Past, Present and Future: Using Sediment Archives to Inform and Guide Wetland Protection, Restoration and Resilience- January 2018
This study was funded by the US EPA. This project was undertaken, in part, to fill the knowledge gap on reference wetland conditions in New Jersey. In this project, information obtained from sediment cores from four New Jersey coastal areas was used to track the impact of human activities since European settlement and provide quantitative information on reference conditions of NJ coastal wetlands. Nutrient concentrations, concentrations of organic (PAHs), and inorganic trace metals in core sediments were evaluated. This information is essential to provide restoration targets that are historically meaningful, achievable, and can be employed to protect and sustain NJ wetlands.
Nutrient and Ecological Histories in Barnegat Bay, New Jersey- June 2011
The primary objective of this project
was to collect sediment cores from
tidal regions of Barnegat Bay and
determine the chronology of nutrient
changes (i.e., nitrogen and phosphorus)
and associated ecosystem level responses.
Sediment nitrogen concentrations
increased towards the surface in
three of the 4 cores collected indicating
an increase in nutrient loading
from portions of the watershed.
Sediment nitrogen accumulation rates
increased twofold at the up-bay
site starting in the mid-1950s.
Algal diatoms indicate major shifts
toward more eutrophic conditions
starting in the 1940-1950s consistent
with an increase in sediment nutrients
and appear to indicate impacts from
increasing population and land use
in the northern part of Barnegat
Bay, an area with urban and suburban
land use. The southern site is situated
in a rural or semi-rural area and
was the least impacted. Wetlands
in Barnegat Bay can sequester approximately
79 % of the nitrogen and 54 % of
the phosphorus estimated to be entering
the Bay from upland sources. This
illustrates the important ecosystem
services that marshes can perform
and how important it is to maintain
and enhance marshes within Barnegat
Bay. Sedimentation rates on salt
marshes are at, or just below, the
rate of relative sea level rise
in Barnegat Bay. These relatively
low rates of accretion render the
marsh vulnerable to inundation should
the rate of sea level rise accelerate
in the future. Overall, the irreversible
shifts recorded by diatom species
suggest that, despite the fact that
the Barnegat Bay wetlands are protected
by both federal and state laws,
these sites remain impacted by anthropogenic
disturbances and did not return
to their natural, reference conditions.
On the contrary, the most recent changes suggest an increase in habitat
deterioration and pollution. Thus,
the changes recorded in diatom species
convey a strong message to identify
and limit all sources of nutrients
that contribute to the degradation
of the estuary and its watershed.
Research Project Summary
Wetlands Biological Indicators for New Jersey Case Study: Forested Riparian Wetlands in the Highlands of New Jersey - May 2006
The goals of this research were to build upon various wetland assessment projects conducted by New Jersey and to aid in development of a rapid wetland assessment tool that could work toward fulfilling the EPA mandate. A specific goal of this project was to identify biological indicators that reflect the ecological health and condition of riverine wetlands in the Highlands physiographic region. Longer-term goals are to better understand a) wetland condition and its relationship to water quality and b) to understand how broadly biological indicators can be applied to wetlands that vary in location, type and extent.
Development of Wetland Quality and Function Assessment Tools and Demonstration - June 2004
The specific goal of this study was to enhance the state's ability to identify indicators for wetland value and function. To this end, the study focused on a suite of rapid assessment tools designed to evaluate wetland quality and function that could be readily implemented in the field.
Testing a Wetlands Mitigation Rapid Assessment Tool at Mitigation and Reference Wetlands within a New Jersey Watershed – June 2004
This project and the companion study above, Development of Wetland Quality and Function Assessment Tools and Demonstration, address approaches to assessing wetland function. The specific purpose of this study was to assist NJDEP in evaluation of the wetland qualitative assessment method that was developed to determine the probability that mitigated wetlands will perform wetland functions.
Creating Indicators of Wetland Status (Quantity and Quality): Freshwater Wetland Mitigation in New Jersey - March 2002
The primary objectives of this study were to assess New Jersey’s progress toward wetlands mitigation goals and develop indicators of progress toward these goals. The research was conducted by Amy S. Greene Environmental Consultants, Inc. (ASGECI), and co-managed by scientists from both the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection’s (NJDEP) Division of Science, Research and Technology (DSRT) and NJDEP’s wetlands regulatory program (Land Use Regulation Program or LURP). This study was supported by NJDEP’s Water Assessment and Environmental Indicators Research Programs. Relevant NJDEP managers were kept apprised of interim results and a peer review committee of leading state and national wetland scientists provided guidance throughout the duration of the study. For additional information about this report, please see the Dear Reader Section.
Summary and Introduction
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