Publication

Salinization during salt-marsh restoration after managed realignment

Veeneklaas, R., Koppenaal, E., Bakker, J. P. & Esselink, P., Aug-2015, In : Journal of Coastal Conservation. 19, 4, p. 405-415 11 p.

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Salt marshes provide an important and unique habitat for plants and animals. To restore salt marshes, numerous coastal realignment projects have been carried out, but restored marshes often show persistent ecological differences from natural marshes. We evaluate the effects of elevation and marsh topography, which are in turn affected by drainage and livestock grazing, on soil salinity after de-embankment. Salinity in the topsoil was monitored during the first 10 years after de-embankment and compared with salinity in an adjacent reference marsh. Additionally, salinity at greater depths (down to 1.2 m below the marsh surface) was monitored during the first 4 years by measuring the electrical conductivity of the groundwater. Chloride concentration in the top soil strongly decreased with increasing elevation; however, it was not affected by marsh topography, i.e. distance to creek or breach. Chloride concentrations higher than 2 g Cl-/litre were found at elevations below 0.6 m + MHT. Salinization of the groundwater, however, took several years. At low marsh elevations, the salinity of the deep groundwater (at 1.2 m depth) increased slowly throughout the full 4-year period of monitoring but did not reach the level of seawater. Compared to the ungrazed treatment, the grazed treatment led to lower accretion rates, lower soil-moisture content and higher chloride content of soil moisture. The de-embankment of the agricultural grasslands resulted in a rapid increase of soil salinity, although deeper ground-water levels showed a much slower response. Elevation accounted for most of the variation in the salinization of the soil. Grazing may enhance salinity of the top soil.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)405-415
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Coastal Conservation
Volume19
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Aug-2015

    Keywords

  • Drainage, Elevation, Grazing management, Salinity, NITROGEN MINERALIZATION, INUNDATION FREQUENCY, SOIL-SALINITY, WADDEN SEA, VEGETATION, ELEVATION, IMPACT, HALOPHYTES, DISPERSAL, ARGENTINA

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