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Eco-social metrics of marsh restoration

Authors: Gonzalez, Julie;

Eco-social metrics of marsh restoration

Abstract

Understanding why habitat restoration is viewed as successful or not is key to evaluating past projects, planning future projects, and building support. Additionally, connecting public perceptions to the restoration process and habitats can improve project outcomes and generate greater public support. Yet, restoration science lacks fundamental information about the extent to which restoration actions align with measured ecological outcomes and social perceptions. Focusing on tidal marshes, we gathered qualitative and quantitative data on public perceptions of these habitats and restoration through focus groups in three estuaries in Oregon, USA. We also gathered environmental data from nine restoration projects spanning these estuaries to understand ecological responses to restoration focusing on responses of hydrology and vegetation. We mined project reports for mentions of priority project goals from an ecological perspective to compare with community priorities. Lastly, we interviewed restoration managers to provide context for the environmental data. Across our sample, hydrology scores increased with the number of restoration actions, although no clear relationship emerged between restoration action and vegetation scores. We developed a linking matrix to compare social and ecological data and found that, although restorationists and the public have similar social values, assessments of projects do not often include the highest-ranked priorities of community members and rarely track human factors as part of restoration assessment. Based on these findings, we suggest methods to include these social values in future projects and for improved communication between restorationists and the general public.

We assessed nine restoration projects spanning three Oregon estuaries: Kunz, Frederickson, Dalton, and Cox marshes in Coos Bay; Y27, Y3, and Poole Slough in Yaquina Bay; and Lint Slough and Drift Creek in Alsea Bay. We reviewed project reports and available data for all projects to determine project characteristics and environmental metrics measured. We limited our ecological assessment to metric categories that were measured at most of the projects: vegetation, hydrology, mammal use, and fish use. Other categories of ecological function were also considered including water quality and marsh elevation, but not included due to a lack of these data across estuaries and years at a given site, precluding comparison. We then collected present-day data for vegetation and channel sinuosity (as a proxy for hydrologic function) so we could compare pre-restoration and present-day data. Mammal and fish use were recorded as post-restoration presence/absence data due to the logistical inability to standardize those data for comparison and general lack of pre-restoration data for these metrics. If projects monitored mammal or fish use post-restoration and recorded their presence in some capacity, we assigned the mammal category a value of "present".

R, R Studio, ExcelFunding provided by: National Estuarine Research Reserve SystemCrossref Funder Registry ID: http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/100008160Award Number:

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citations
This is an alternative to the "Influence" indicator, which also reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Citations provided by BIP!
popularity
This indicator reflects the "current" impact/attention (the "hype") of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network.
BIP!Popularity provided by BIP!
influence
This indicator reflects the overall/total impact of an article in the research community at large, based on the underlying citation network (diachronically).
BIP!Influence provided by BIP!
impulse
This indicator reflects the initial momentum of an article directly after its publication, based on the underlying citation network.
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views
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