WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH GRANT PROPOSAL
Project ID: 2005NH39B
Title: The Role of Vegetated Buffers in Maintaining Salt Marsh Species Diversity
Project Type: Research
Focus Categories: Wetlands, Ecology, Nutrients
Keywords: Nitrogen, salt marsh, riparian, ground water
Start Date: 03/01/2005
End Date: 02/28/2006
Federal Funds: $5,840
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $11,686
Congressional District: 1
Replacement of natural vegetation within the watershed of an estuary with agriculture and residential land use is known to impact the integrity of the estuarine ecosystem (see Related Research). Vegetated buffer strips are recommended to reduce the impacts of these land uses on the estuary. However, specific responses within the salt marsh plant community to varying widths and types of vegetated buffers are unknown.
Knowledge of the effect of buffer width and type on the adjacent salt marsh plant community will inform best management practices for shoreline property owners and land managers, will help town planners with ecologically sound review of coastal development plans, and will help justify and strengthen guidelines for shoreline protection.
I propose to identify and classify all vegetated buffers associated with salt marshes around the Great Bay Estuary in New Hampshire. At specific sites with various buffer widths present, I will further assess the plant community and the chemistry of the groundwater. Plant species diversity and abundance will be measured in both the high salt marsh and the vegetated buffer. Groundwater wells will be installed at the upper and lower edges of vegetated buffers of various widths, and concentrations of nitrogen in the groundwater will be analyzed.