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An integrated monitoring approach using multiple reference sites to assess sustainable restoration in coastal Louisiana

December 31, 2006

Achieving sustainable resource management in coastal Louisiana requires establishing reference conditions that incorporate the goals and objectives of restoration efforts. Since the reference condition is usually considered sustainable, it can be a gauge to assess the present condition of a (degraded) system or to evaluate progress of management actions toward some target system state (the reference or desired conditions).

In 2003, the Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, and Restoration Act (CWPPRA) Task Force and the Louisiana State Wetlands Authority adopted the “Coastwide Reference Monitoring System -- Wetlands” (CRMS--Wetlands) for Louisiana. This system will provide data from multiple reference sites to explore the properties of a sustained reference condition. CRMS--Wetlands provides links between project-specific and system-wide objectives, criteria for selecting reference sites or conditions, a more robust statistical design, and critical monitoring variables. In addition, a system-wide assessment and monitoring plan (SWAMP) is being developed that incorporates and evaluates existing monitoring efforts (to the extent possible) within a system-wide experimental design. The SWAMP will integrate monitoring of biological, chemical, physical, and climatological variables in four modules: wetlands (CRMS--Wetlands), barrier islands, inshore waters and rivers, and nearshore coastal waters. Data and information collected under SWAMP will contribute to developing a systems-synthesis model for coastal Louisiana.

Regional restoration project leaders in coastal Louisiana acknowledge the mutual dependence of monitoring and modeling the coastal landscape. For example, experiments or measurements should not be conducted independently of modeling and vice versa. Assessment should be directed at reducing scientific uncertainty to improve confidence in modeling and monitoring tools and ultimately to assist management actions. An adaptive environmental assessment and management process prescribes modeling, monitoring, and research activities to be conducted from initial stages of restoration planning to optimize the ability to assess and achieve sustainable restoration.

Publication Year 2006
Title An integrated monitoring approach using multiple reference sites to assess sustainable restoration in coastal Louisiana
Authors Gregory D. Steyer, Robert R. Twilley, Richard C Raynie
Publication Type Conference Paper
Index ID 70204490
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization National Wetlands Research Center