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Title: The Choptank Watershed Wetland Conservation Effects Assessment Project: Monitoring the Delivery of Wetland Ecosystem Services across the Landscape

item Lang, Megan
item McCarty, Gregory

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Research Notes
Publication Acceptance Date: 12/5/2007
Publication Date: 12/17/2007
Citation: Lang, M.W., Eckles, D., McCarty, G.W. 2007. Monitoring wetland conservation benefits across the Choptank landscape [abstract]. Conservation Effects Assessment Project Highlights. 2008 CDROM.

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: CEAP-Wetlands (NRCS) and the Choptank Benchmark Watershed CEAP (ARS) have established a partnership to assess and ultimately enhance the effect of conservation practices on ecosystem services provided by wetlands in the Choptank Watershed. The provision of these wetland services (e.g., pollutant reduction) is vital to the health of the Choptank River, a major tributary of the Chesapeake Bay with high nutrient and sediment loads originating from agricultural. This new collaborative project brings together an interdisciplinary group of experts and resources from multiple federal agencies and the University of Maryland to assess the ability of “natural,” restored, and prior-converted (drained) wetlands on cropland to improve water quality. Project scientists will synergistically combine information gained from individual wetlands with landscape scale measurements from satellite images and other geospatial datasets. The ability to quantify ecosystem services ‘on the ground’ and then link this information to remotely sensed data, represents a very powerful tool for future wetland assessments. The synergistic potential of multiple types of remotely sensed images is being assessed (i.e., lidar, synthetic aperture radar, and multispectral imagery) and initial results are extremely promising. The impact of this project is greatly enhanced by extending the analysis to adjacent streams and measuring the effect of wetland biogeochemical processes on stream health. Examination of the wetland/stream connection is especially timely given the wetland regulation debate (e.g., the impact of the “significant nexus” concept on the jurisdiction of the Clean Water Act) ongoing within the federal government and increasing attention on the health of the Chesapeake Bay. Project findings will be used to assess and improve the effectiveness of conservation practices and Farm Bill programs affecting wetlands and associated lands on the Maryland and Delaware Coastal Plain. This project encourages future inter-agency cooperation and is an important step towards producing a national landscape analysis tool that can be used to support the adaptive management of wetland restoration and enhancement programs.