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Salinification of coastal wetlands and freshwater management to support resilience

January 1, 2022

Climates are rapidly changing in wetland ecosystems around the world and historical land-use change is not always given enough consideration in climate adaptation discussions. Historical changes to hydrology and other key environments can exacerbate vegetation stress; e.g., recent drought and flood episodes are likely more extreme because of climate change. The contributions of global and regional changes that affect groundwater and surface water availability all need consideration in conservation planning including sea-level rise, coastal subsidence and compaction, fluid extraction, and floodplain reengineering. Where subsidence is not too extreme, healthy coastal vegetation often can keep ahead of sea-level rise by accreting elevation through sedimentary and/or biogenic processes. Better water conservation and minimum water delivery during drought may support foundational species and avoid wetland collapse. Local approaches have been developed to rewet inland floodplains decades after their reengineering for agricultural and urban development to support biodiversity in salinified coastal wetlands. The purpose of this paper is to describe inland wetland remediation techniques that may also be useful to increase freshwater delivery to coastal wetlands experiencing salinification. While some salinified coastal ecosystems may transition in the future, attempts can be made to remediate salinification related to historical land use in support of wetland conservation, health, and sustainability.

Publication Year 2022
Title Salinification of coastal wetlands and freshwater management to support resilience
DOI 10.34133/ehs.0083
Authors Beth Middleton, Jere Boudell
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ecosystem Health and Sustainability
Index ID 70245152
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Wetland and Aquatic Research Center