Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2017NY241B

Quantifying the ecosystem services of nitrogen removal and carbon sequestration in restored urban tidal wetlands

Institute: New York
Year Established: 2017 Start Date: 2017-03-01 End Date: 2018-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $19,675 Total Non-Federal Funds: $39,351

Principal Investigators: Chester Zarnoch

Abstract: Large scale wetland restoration efforts are common worldwide, and often motivated towards regaining lost ecosystem services such as nitrogen (N) removal and carbon (C) sequestration. Despite large monetary investment in wetland construction, research on the capacity for restored wetlands to retain C and remove N in eutrophic environments lags far behind. It is critical, however, to document these ecosystem services to help justify costs of restoration. In 2015-16 NYC Parks completed an assessment of 22 restored tidal wetlands in NYC that included measurements of habitat value and marsh structure but did not quantify N assimilation, N removal, or C sequestration. We propose to perform measurements of C and N pools, and N fluxes including denitrification at four restored tidal wetland sites in the Harlem River. We predict that the interactions among plant growth and activity, physicochemical conditions, and sediment characteristics will drive C and N dynamics. Nutrient and gas fluxes will be measured using continuous flow-through core incubations. We will incorporate this new data into NYC Parks’ assessments of tidal wetland conditions and examine the combined data sets for relationships that can predict marsh functioning and provisioning of ecosystem services. We will also use the data to estimate the economic value of N removal and C sequestration at each marsh site. This effort will help inform managers of the environmental conditions and restoration designs that can promote ecosystem services in restored tidal wetlands.