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     # - THE SCIENCE OF ECOLOGY AND WETLAND PROTECTION: A SYMBIOTIC RELATIONSHIP Tiner R.*, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 300 Westgate Center Drive, Hadley, MA 01035 USA

    Abstract: The science of ecology has played a vital role in setting the stage for wetland protection and conservation in the United States. In early times, observations and writings by naturalists stimulated public interest in wetlands, their wildlife and aesthetic qualities especially their wildness. As the US population rose after the Industrial Revolution, development of the nation's natural resources intensified. At that time, wetlands were viewed as wastelands by many - lands in need of "reclamation" for development. The rampant destruction of wetlands that followed eventually caused much concern as waterfowl populations declined and remaining habitat was being degraded. This moved the government to establish wildlife refuges and similar areas and employ wildlife management techniques to improve habitat for waterfowl. Later, scientists studying tidal marshes established the life-support connection between these wetlands and coastal fisheries vital for local and regional economies. The government also began to investigate and report on the status of wetlands and the consequences of wetland losses for fish and wildlife and local industries. This aroused public attention about devastating losses and their effect on wetland wildlife as well as on the environmental services that wetlands provide. In response to public outcry at the local level, state governments first established laws to protect coastal wetlands which may be the first statewide land use regulations focused on natural resources. At the federal level, wetlands became regulated as "waters of the US" since they play a critical role in maintaining water quality and aquatic life. Government regulations brought increased scrutiny from the regulated public over the science behind wetlands – their identification, delineation, and functions. To address these issues and help shape wetland policy, governments invested huge sums to conduct studies to advance the science. The presentation will provide a brief history of the symbiotic relationship between the science and wetland conservation/protection.

     # - EXAMINING THE SEDIMENT RETENTION FUNCTION OF WETLANDS IN RESPONSE TO FORESTRY ACTIVITIES IN CENTRAL BRITISH COLUMBIA, CANADA Caley K.A.*, University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC V2N 4Z9 Canada ; Owens P.N., University of Northern British Columbia, Prince George, BC V2N 4Z9 Canada

    Abstract: It is well-documented that one function of a wetland is to maintain a steady flow of water and sediment from land surfaces to other waterbodies. Yet, despite this known fact about wetlands, our understanding of this function is limited. Much of the quantitative research has focussed on the storage of sediment in wetlands under natural conditions or immediately following a disturbance. Information is currently lacking regarding the variability of a wetland’s sediment storage function over time, and the impact of increased sediment delivery on this function. To address this issue, two wetlands in the Quesnel River Basin (Central British Columbia, Canada), whose surrounding catchment areas were significantly logged, are being studied. Historical forestry practices were selected as a mechanism that potentially increases the amount of sediment transported through the wetlands. Sediment cores were collected in the summer of 2009 from both wetlands as well as their adjacent lakes to determine the relative proportion of sediment retained by each feature in years prior to, during and following forestry practices. Analysis of radionuclides (210Pb and 137Cs) will be carried out to determine core chronology and sedimentation rates. Other proxy indicators (magnetic susceptibility, loss-on-ignition, particle size distribution, carbon-to-nitrogen ratio, and geochemical indicators) will be used to assess the wetland filtration over time, and to trace the movement of allochthonous material through the catchment. Climate data will also be examined to determine whether fluctuations in sedimentation rates are explained better by climatic factors (e.g. precipitation, temperature).

     # - SOIL MOISTURE AND PROPAGULE AVAILABILITY DRIVE REINVASION PRESSURE DURING RESTORATIONS OF EXOTIC-DOMINATED WETLANDS: CAN WE USE THESE FACTORS TO PREDICT RESTORATION OUTCOMES? Gabler C.A.*, Rice University, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 6100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77005 USA ; Siemann E., Rice University, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, 6100 Main Street, Houston, TX 77005 USA

    Abstract: When restoring exotic-invaded ecosystems, newly recruiting exotics frequently drive communities away from targets and their control is often costly. However, the rate and intensity of exotic recruitment following adult removal – and thus impacts on native communities and exotic control costs – can vary dramatically between equivalently invaded habitats. Prior studies suggest ontogenetic niche shifts in invasive Chinese tallow tree (Triadica sebifera) rapidly broaden its soil moisture tolerances early in development. This, paired with interannual variation in soil moisture conditions, creates variable windows for tallow recruitment that may drive observed differences in reinvasion pressure. To test this hypothesis and investigate the factors driving tallow reinvasion pressure (which might be used to predict restoration outcomes in tallow-invaded habitats) I am conducting replicated restoration experiments in 11 habitats formerly dominated by tallow trees representing a moisture gradient. At each site I established mesocosms with treatments manipulating soil moisture and both native and tallow seed density. After one growing season post-removal, both germination and survival of native and exotic species varied significantly among sites. Overall, tallow seed addition has increased reinvasion pressure, whereas native seed addition has not affected tallow recruitment but increased native cover. As hypothesized, moisture treatments have impacted native cover and tallow germination, whereas site-specific moisture manipulations (site*moisture interaction) have had major and varied effects on native and tallow performance. Features of the tallow monocultures quantified prior to removal, e.g. seedling density, correlate with reinvasion pressure (P=0.0038, R2=0.720) and may be useful predictors of restoration costs. These and other results are discussed.

     # - Wetland Graduate Education at Louisiana State University Spans 76 years and 19 Academic Programs Nyman J.A.*, Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, Baton Rouge 70803 ; Scaroni A.E., Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, 70803; Tobias V.D., Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, 70803

    Abstract: Many universities educate graduate students in wetlands. With over 16,200 km2 of coastal marshes and 19,000 km2 of forested wetlands, including North America’s largest active river delta, inactive deltaic, chenier plain, and contiguous floodplain forest, Louisiana is an ideal place for graduate wetland education. Rapid coastal subsidence also creates ideal field sites in which to explore effects of sea-level rise on coastal wetlands. Louisiana State University (LSU) is one of several in Louisiana that educates graduate students in wetlands. In 2009, LSU was ranked in the first tier for “Best National Universities” by U.S. News & World Report, and also received the Carnegie Foundation’s highest Basic Classification and most diverse Graduate Instructional Program classification. Our objective was to describe the history of graduate education in wetlands at LSU. We reviewed graduate course work, theses, and dissertations to document this history. We searched the current catalog electronically for courses containing the word “wetland” in the title or description. We searched all theses and dissertations through 2001, and most through 2008, electronically for titles containing the word “wetland, marsh, swamp, delta, chenier, or ecology.” We found 18 wetland courses (47 hours excluding cross-listed courses) that spanned 7 departments in 4 colleges; 16 of these were senior or graduate level. We found 429 theses and dissertations from 1934 through 2008 that spanned 19 departments in 8 colleges. Students interested in graduate studies focused on wetlands, and mentors of such students, should consider a wide range of academic programs at LSU.

     # - NITROGEN POLLUTION AND ORGANIC MATTER DECOMPOSITION IN A BRACKISH MARSH Wang L.*, Mendel Hall Rm 147 Biology 800 Lancaster Avenue, Villanova, PA 19085 USA ; Megonigal J.P., 647 Contees Wharf Road, Edgewater, MD 21037 USA; Langley J.A., 647 Contees Wharf Road, Edgewater, MD 21037 USA

    Abstract: Marshes accumulate mineral and organic matter to maintain a constant soil elevation relative to sea level. Recently, accelerating sea-level rise resulting from global warming has contributed to vast losses of marsh area. An ongoing field experiment has shown that increased nitrogen (N) pollution may enhance plant productivity, which should help marshes accumulate soil. However, it remains unknown how N pollution affects marsh decomposition that could partially negate peat accumulation. We conducted a field manipulation in a brackish marsh to determine the N effects on peat decomposition. Contrary to many predictions, we found that N addition tended to reduce the decomposition rate of peat and inhibited the enzyme activity of polyphenol oxidase. In contrast, elevated atmoshperic CO2, which reduces soil N availability, tended to stimulate decomposition. We also conducted a companion laboratory incubation to isolate the direct effects of N on decomposition and to explore how N may interact with soil oxygen status. N addition reduced peat respiration rates, suppressed accumulation of dissolved organic carbon (DOC) and total organic nitrogen at low oxygen concentrations. Because of the ecosystem services provided by marshes, it is critical to understand the impact of N pollution on the processes that sustain marshes.

     # - USING GOOD SCIENCE TO RESOLVE DIFFICULT 404 ISSUES IN THE WEST Galli C.*, Holland & Hart LLP, 222 So. Main Street, Suite 2200, Salt Lake City, UT 84101 USA

    Abstract: From both a technical and legal perspective, the work of the wetlands scientist to gather relevant technical data and present the same to regulators can be challenging particularly in the arid west. In this presentation an experienced wetlands attorney will provide three brief case studies involving wetlands delineations and jurisdictional determinations in the arid west, applying the public interest review criteria to large-scale real estate development projects, and applying the Corps’ mitigation criteria to large public works projects and open water discharges. The presentation will identify three specific regulatory requirements relating to delineations, mitigation, and public interest review which often pose regulatory challenges and baffle regulators given the ambiguities and subjectivity in the current law. The case studies relate to projects involving open water mitigation in bull trout habitat, obtaining preliminary jurisdictional determinations for long transportation corridors involving hundreds of stream crossings, and conducting public interest review for controversial large-scale development projects. The presentation will provide examples of scientific and technical data to satisfy and resolve regulator ambiguities; and examples of effective and ineffective ways to present the scientific data to regulators and stakeholders. Presenting good science in the appropriate manner builds public support and reduces litigation risk, while even good science poorly presented can create regulatory uncertainty and litigation risk no matter the quality and level of detail of the science. The presentation will provide examples from judicial decisions on the use and abuse of science in the Clean Water Act 404 context.





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