Masthead Friends of Good Harbor

Summary of Methodology:

Marsh Assessment and Stewardship Project

The seven parameters will be studies using the following methodologies:

1. Vegetation – At pre-established stations, using identification books when necessary, SSCW will work with volunteer monitors to identify and determine percent cover of all plants present within a one meter square quadrant along a series of randomly located linear transects. Vegetation is assessed during peak growing season between July and August. Phragmites australis is an invasive species of concern that is assessed as an indicator species. Where appropriate, percent cover and height will be documented within the one-meter square plots measured.
2. Salinity – Pore (within peat) and surface water will be tested for salinity concentrations at pre-existing stations using a hand-held refractometer. Pore water sippers are utilized to obtain pore water. Salinity measurements are generally taken twice a month from June through September.
3. Nekton – Nektons are collected using the minnow trap method. The contents (fish, crabs, shrimp) are transferred to a bucket and sorted by species with sub-sampling when catch exceeds quantities of 40 per species. At least three stations are sampled in each marsh evaluation area. Nektons are sampled once per month from June to August.
4. Macro Invertebrates – Three types of samples were collected at three stations along the creek in each marsh evaluation area: quadrant samples at top of bank, D-Net samples in the stream and auger samples in stream substrate. Samples will be preserved, sorted and identified to family. Macro invertebrates are surveyed once generally in August or early September.
5. Land Use – Maps and aerial photography along with field techniques to describe land use and the environmental characteristics of the landscape are used to gain an overall measure of human disturbance at a particular wetland site.
6. Tidal Influence – Tidal restrictions are measured using staff gauges to determine how the patterns of tidal range and water depth affect the viability of a wetland.
7. Avifauna – Birds are used as bio-indicators for the salt marsh habitats. The presence/absence of certain bird species may provide clues about the fish and invertebrate populations in the salt marsh. Field identification is necessary.

In addition, there will be Photographic Monitoring. At pre-established stations, a photographic record of site conditions will be documented at the macro-scale and micro-scale. Macro-scale photo monitoring will include collecting a minimum of landscape photographs from fixed points of landscape level and feature images. Specific features captured at the macro-scale include upstream and downstream of any culverts. Micro-scale photo monitoring will include establishment of vegetation assessment transects and recording fixed transects and fixed vegetation plots with photo monitoring.

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