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Environmental Management

, Volume 6, Issue 4, pp 317–328 | Cite as

Coastal zone development: Mitigation, marsh creation, and decision-making

  • Margaret Seluk Race
  • Donna R. Christie
Research

Abstract

Marsh creation is currently receiving wide attention in the United States as an important tool for mitigating the impacts of development in coastal wetlands. The perception that there is no net loss in valuable coastal wetlands when development is mitigated by the creation of man-made marshes can have a substantial impact on the permitting and decision-making processes. The effective result may be the trading of natural salt marshes for man-made marshes.

Techniques for marsh creation were developed by the US Army Corps of Engineers to enhance and stabilize dredge spoil materials. Most research sponsored by the Corps has been directed at determining whether these goals have been accomplished. A survey of the research indicates that there is insufficient evidence to conclude that man-made marshes function like natural salt marshes or provide the important values of natural marshes. It is necessary, therefore, for decision-makers to understand the limitations of present knowledge about man-made marshes, realistically evaluate the trade-offs involved, and relegate mitigation to its proper role in the permitting process—post facto conditions imposed on developments that clearly meet state qualifications and policies.

Key words

Artificial marshes Coastal zone Coastal wetlands Habitat creation Man-made marshes Marsh creation Mitigation Salt marshes Wetland regulation 

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag New York Inc. 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Margaret Seluk Race
    • 1
  • Donna R. Christie
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Policy and Ocean Management ProgramWoods Hole Oceanographic InstitutionWoods Hole

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