2013 Annual Report
1a.Objectives (from AD-416):
Provide science-based data, results, and information to routinely inform conservation decisions affecting wetland ecosystems and the services they provide. Develop a broad collaborative foundation that facilitates the production and delivery of scientific data, results, and information.
1b.Approach (from AD-416):
Conduct collaborative regional investigations to: quantify wetland ecosystem services across an alteration gradient in agricultural landscapes; interpret effects of conservation practices and programs, and the effectiveness (i.e., the type, location, land treatment, design, and/or management) of conservation practices on ecosystem services; and identify multiple-scale factors that influence the capacity for a wetland to provide an ecosystem service within a range of estimates.
This project is a regional component of the national Wetland-Conservation Effects Assessment Project (CEAP) initiated by the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) to develop a broad collaborative wetland science foundation that facilitates the production and delivery of scientific results. The project brings together scientists from multiple federal agencies (NRCS, Agricultural Research Service, U.S. Geological Survey, and Smithsonian Environmental Research Center) and the University of Maryland to study non-tidal wetlands in the Coastal Plains of New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, and North Carolina. Research focus areas have included the effect of wetlands and wetland restoration on water quality, carbon sequestration, greenhouse gas emission, water volume storage, plant and amphibian diversity and abundance, and stream health. This project has been progressing as expected with all established FY13 deliverables having been met. These include collection preparation and analysis of soil and vegetation data to characterize the influence of hydrology, restoration age, and restoration practices on plant nutrient storage, biomass and decomposition and soil morphology, organic carbon decomposition, and carbon storage. Improved methods for mapping and monitoring key wetland functional drivers are also being developed in support of CEAP modeling efforts. Research methods and preliminary findings were communicated with the CEAP-Wetland Science Coordinator to set the foundation for the modeling of wetland ecosystem services in the Mid-Atlantic area. Project results were presented at multiple conferences and meetings and publications were produced based on ongoing research. Project findings are being used to assess and improve the effectiveness of conservation practices and Farm Bill programs affecting wetlands and associated lands in the Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain.