State-of-the-art Survey and Evaluation of Marsh Plant Establishment Techniques: Induced and Natural - Volume I: Report of Research



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United States Army Corps of Engineers Waterways Experiment Station


Knowledge of marsh and aquatic plant establishment was assessed by reviewing the literature and contacting agencies and individuals likely to have relevant information. Factors that affect plant establishment in saltwater areas include tides, salinity, drainage, aeration, water table, rainfall, soil, evaporation, temperature, biota, water depth, light penetration, and current and wave action. In freshwater areas water levels or depths, substrate, water quality, turbidity, and currents and wave action are particularly important to plant establishment. Aquatic and marsh plants propagate naturally by both seeds and vegetative parts. The propagules are dispersed by wind, water, animals, and man. By controlling various environmental factors, it is possible to promote and encourage the natural invasion and growth of aquatic and marsh plants, especially in freshwater systems. In many cases, plantings of aquatic and marsh plants will be necessary to vegetate a new substrate. Seeding appears to be the least expensive procedure, but environmental conditions must be favorable or success will be low. Transplants usually provide faster establishment and are hardier than seedlings. Efforts at establishing Spartina alterniflora in Atlantic coast marshes have shown good results. The basic problems encountered in establishment of aquatic and marsh plants are physically unsuitable substrates, nutrient deficiencies, polluted sediments, excessive wind or current action, excessive turbidity, unfavorable patterns of water level fluctuations, and unfavorable water depths. Research is needed in aquatic and marsh plant taxonomy, biology, and ecology. Special effort should be devoted to the study of site conditions and propagule collecting and planting methods.


266 pages


marsh planting, revegetation, spartina alterniflora, state-of-the-art studies, marsh plants, aquatic plants, marshes