Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Five years (2000-2004) of post-reconstruction monitoring of freshwater tidal wetlands in the urban Anacostia River, Washington, D.C. USA

June 9, 2009

The Anacostia River in Washington, D.C. USA consisted of over 809 hectares (2000 acres) of freshwater tidal wetlands before mandatory dredging removed most of them in the first half of the 20th century. Much of this13 kilometer (8 mile) reach was transferred to the National Park Service (NPS). Planning processes in the 1980's envisioned a restoration (rejuvenation) of some wetlands for habitat, aesthetics, water quality and interpretative purposes. Subsequently, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in a cost share agreement with the District of Columbia reconstructed wetlands on NPS lands at Kenilworth - 12.5 hectares (1993), Kingman 27 hectares (2000), a Fringe Marsh - 6.5 hectares (2003) and is currently constructing Heritage Marsh - 2.5 hectares (2005/2006). The USGS Patuxent Wildlife Research Center in conjunction with the University of Maryland Biological Engineering Department was contracted to conduct post-reconstruction monitoring (2000-2004) to document the relative success and progress of the Kingman Marsh reconstruction primarily based on vegetative response but also in conjunction with seed bank and soil characteristics. Results from Kingman were compared to Kenilworth Marsh (reconstructed 7 years prior), Dueling Creek Marsh (last best remaining freshwater tidal wetland bench in the urbanized Anacostia watershed) and Patuxent River Marsh (in a more natural adjacent watershed). Vegetation establishment was initially strong at Kingman, but declined rapidly as measured by cover, richness, diversity, etc. under grazing pressure from resident Canada geese and associated reduction in sediment levels. This decline did not occur at the other wetlands. The decline occurred despite a substantial seed bank that was sustained primarily be water born propagules. Soil development, as true for most juvenile wetlands, was slow with almost no organic matter accumulation. By 2004 only two of 7 planted species remained (mostly Peltandra virginica) at Kingman which did provide almost 50% of the approximately 1/3 total vegetation cover remaining.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2006
Title Five years (2000-2004) of post-reconstruction monitoring of freshwater tidal wetlands in the urban Anacostia River, Washington, D.C. USA
Authors D. Hammerschlag, C. Krafft
Publication Type Book Chapter
Publication Subtype Book Chapter
Index ID 5211381
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Patuxent Wildlife Research Center