We are carrying out a project at a former salt hay farm near Thompsons Beach, NJ designed to demonstrate the beneficial use of dredge material to convert a fragmented marsh at the extreme low-end of Spartina alterniflora’s elevation tolerance to a more stable marsh that is elevated by more than a foot.
Marsh restoration in the Delaware Bay is needed to recover elevation deficits in marshes with a history of salt hay farming that are in many cases feet, not inches, below elevations that will be resilient to ongoing sea level rise. Although there are almost no actively farmed marsh areas left today, vast areas of Delaware Bay salt marsh were once surrounded by dikes to keep out tides in order to facilitate farming of salt hay and upland crops.
This presents a important opportunity for matching the needs of dredge disposal with the need for marsh restoration.
Restoration, by correcting the sins of the past, can play a major role in ensuring the long-term persistence of marsh.
Partners: American Littoral Society and Stockton Coastal Research Center