Northeastern Section - 53rd Annual Meeting - 2018

Paper No. 34-33
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM


MAXWELL, Marie1, HATCH, Christine E.2, KANAMARU, Kinuyo1 and NEILL, Chris3, (1)Department of Geology, Amherst College, Amherst, MA 01002-5000, (2)Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003, (3)Woods Hole Research Center, Falmouth, MA 02540

The total land area for wetland and estuaries in coastal Massachusetts has decreased significantly over the last 100 years due to climate changes, environmental changes, and commercial development. One such land-use change is the transformation of a large percentage of the region’s wetlands into cranberry farms. However, with the demand for Massachusetts cranberries diminishing, many farms are being restored to their natural wetland state. Unfortunately, most restoration projects include little data collection and even less long-term monitoring.

Tidmarsh Farms, in Manomet, Massachusetts, cultivated cranberries for over 100 years, and is now in the process of a restoration design that includes removing barriers to water flow, increasing soil organic content in the shallow root zone, and generating variability in topography. Ideally, these actions will result in diverse microclimates and increased surface soil moisture that will provide a habitat more likely to encourage the growth of a wide variety of wetland plants and other native species (UMass Center for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment, 2017).

To make sure that restoration goals are met, it is necessary to make quantifiable observations to monitor the progress. We conducted baseline monitoring on 3mx3m vegetation plots at 71 locations collecting 30cm-deep sediment cores at each plot. Cores were divided into increments of 5cm and 10cm, and moisture content, soil organic content, pH, redox potential, electrical conductivity, Fe, N, Ca, and Mg where then measured for each sample.

The goal of this study is to map the distribution of soil chemistry, texture, and water content with depth to compare pre-restoration to post-restoration conditions. We also compare surface soil moisture values to those measured with a soil moisture probe. Together, these data should provide a baseline site characterization so that progress can be tracked with long-term monitoring as the wetland is restored.