, Volume 81, Issue 1-3, pp 107-117

A Proposed Coast-Wide Reference Monitoring System for Evaluating Wetland Restoration Trajectories in Louisiana

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Wetland restoration efforts conducted in Louisiana under the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection and Restoration Act require monitoring the effectiveness of individual projects as well as monitoring the cumulative effects of all projects in restoring, creating, enhancing, and protecting the coastal landscape. The effectiveness of the traditional paired-reference monitoring approach in Louisiana has been limited because of difficulty in finding comparable reference sites. A multiple reference approach is proposed that uses aspects of hydrogeomorphic functional assessments and probabilistic sampling. This approach includes a suite of sites that encompass the range of ecological condition for each stratum, with projects placed on a continuum of conditions found for that stratum. Trajectories in reference sites through time are then compared with project trajectories through time. Plant community zonation complicated selection of indicators, strata, and sample size. The approach proposed could serve as a model for evaluating wetland ecosystems.