Groundbreaking Study Uses Reserves to Evaluate Restoration Success

The Takeaway: Newly standardized performance measures make it easier and more economical to evaluate wetland restoration projects.

A lack of “pre-degradation” data makes it hard for scientists to properly evaluate wetland restoration projects. To address this issue, research reserves and NOAA created new wetland performance measures that are reliable, economical, and applicable to many restoration projects across the country.

The research team compared 17 completed wetland restoration sites against nine comparable wetland areas in five research reserves, an approach that cuts the costs associated with “comparison-from-scratch” site studies. Reserve sites provided excellent baseline ecological conditions because of their permanent protection and monitoring.

Scientists from the NOAA National Estuarine Research Reserves and NOAA Restoration Center authored the study, and the baseline sites were in Virginia’s Chesapeake Bay Reserve, Rhode Island’s Narragansett Bay Reserve, Oregon’s South Slough Reserve, Maine’s Wells Reserve, and the North Carolina Reserve. (2017)

More Information: Estuaries and Coasts article

Partners: NOAA’s National Estuarine Research Reserve System and Restoration Center, Chesapeake Bay Reserve, Narrangansett Bay Reserve, North Carolina Reserve, South Slough Reserve, Wells Reserve, and the North Carolina Reserve