Salt Marsh Restoration Site Selection Tool An Example Application: Ranking Potential Salt Marsh Restoration Sites Using Social and Environmental Factors
Salt Marsh Site Selection Tool Ranking Potential SaltMarsh Restoration Sites Using Social and Environmental Factors Site selection is one of the first steps in project planning, followed by site assessment and project design. This geographic information system (GIS)-based tool was designed to assist with site selection by helping the restoration planner identify restoration opportunities that meet multifunctional management goals. The outputs of this tool should only be used in combination with expert opinion, local knowledge, and site-specific information to identify appropriate restoration opportunities.
Salt Marsh Site Selection Tool Ranking Potential SaltMarsh Restoration Sites Using Social and Environmental Factors The major strength of the tool is that it allows the simultaneous evaluation of multiple selection criteria. The following slides demonstrate one example of how the tool can be used to find restoration projects that may: • Be of potential recreational and scenic value to the public • Provide educational opportunities for local school children • Provide protection to critical subtidal habitat • Provide habitat for colonial nesting birds • Enhance connections between existing natural areas and the restored salt marshes • Reduce the impact of point-source pollution • Provide substantially-sized salt marsh habitat • Restore native vegetation • Control the spread of Phragmites or other “invasive species"
Salt Marsh Site Selection Tool Step 1 – Load the Data: The tool uses spatial data layers (grids) of all of the critical decision making criteria to calculate the suitability of a particular salt marsh to a given set of management goals.
Step 2 –Analysis: Salt Marsh Site Selection Tool The tool scores the salt marsh sites based on multiple criteria based on user choice.
Salt Marsh Site Selection Tool Step 2 –Analysis: For this analysis we have chosen North Kingstown. All salt marsh restoration sites within the specified region will be scored according to the criteria that the user chooses for the analysis.
Salt Marsh Site Selection Tool Step 2 – Analysis: The tool will use the chosen criteria to score the potential restoration sites. These choices should reflect specific management goals. Public Amenity Values
Salt Marsh Site Selection Tool Step 2 – Set Up the Analysis: Logistical criteria allow for better feasibility planning. Logistics: • Sites that have sufficient road access will be more accessible to the public.
Salt Marsh Site Selection Tool Step 2 – Set Up the Analysis: Ecological management objectives are incorporated into the scoring along with the previously chosen public amenity values. Ecological Values and Pollution Abatement
Salt Marsh Site Selection Tool Step 3 – Weight the Scoring Criteria: The tool then allows weighting of the the chosen criteria according to the priorities determined when formulating the management objectives.
Salt Marsh Site Selection Tool Step 4 –Visualize the Results: The tool scores and maps the potential restoration sites. This gives the user a look at the rank of the various restoration sites and their location. Score
Salt Marsh Site Selection Tool Step 5 – Create Reports: Using the reporting function of the tool, key characteristics of the potential restoration areas are output into text-based reports for further reflection and analysis.
Salt Marsh Site Selection Tool Step 5 – Examine Restoration Potential: The reports are used to initiate further investigations into the restoration potential of specifically identified high scoring sites.
Salt Marsh Site Selection Tool Using the Outputs The combination of the ranking function of the tool, site specific information, and the ability to display ancillary data, along with results, leads to enhanced restoration planning. Site Specific Information Provided by the Tool Map-Enhanced Visualization Wetland Complex Name: West Passage Wetland Complex Size: 11.6 acres Watershed: West Bay On-site Impacts: Severely tidally-restricted (Phragmites >30% cover), Vegetation change/Phragmites-dominated Restoration Actions: Reduce tidal constriction & remove Phragmites More Informed Restoration Planning
Salt Marsh Site Selection Tool Using the Outputs The results are a prioritized regional data set of potential restoration opportunities. The outputs can assist with restoration planning by • Viewing them in the context of other relevant data layers • Comparing results among differing priorities to identify common areas • Providing a quantifiable and repeatable approach to decision-making • Implementing alternate management practices. The results serve as a startingpoint for pursuing site-specific information, gathering expert opinion, and assessing restoration feasibility.