Taylor Sloey

M.S. Candidate, University of Louisiana-Lafayette

Field Travel Grant Type 1

Environmental constraints on the establishment and expansion of Schoenoplectus acutus, Schoenoplectus californicus and Typha latifolia: Applications to restoration ecology

“Estuarine wetlands provide an array of important ecosystem services. As the largest estuary on the Pacific coast of the United States, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Bay Delta is recognized for its role in providing these services. This water shed supports more than 750 plant and animal species, as well as supplies water to two-thirds of the population of California. However, historical manipulations to the hydrology of the Sacramento/ San Joaquin Bay Delta via levee construction have resulted in the loss of vast areas of wetland that have been reclaimed for agriculture. Historic modifications to the hydrology, soil quality and plant community through levee construction and agricultural use makes this site unique and important for understanding the potential to restore wetland ecosystems in this landscape. To maximize restoration success it is imperative to improve our understanding of how environmental variables influence macrophyte establishment, growth and reproduction in order to make informed recommendations for future wetland planning and management.
The establishment of the targeted wetland plant community and desired ratio of marsh: open water are important restoration criteria. Beyond sediment stability, nutrient uptake and carbon sequestration, the provision of crucial habitat for key faunal species is recognized as an important component of wetland restoration in the Delta. A greater understanding of the constraints on vegetation establishment, species composition, and expansion is needed if these projects are to provide the ecosystem services desired in the restoration plan. Schoenoplectus acutus, Schoenoplectus californicus and Typha latifolia are perennial freshwater to brackish marsh macrophytes that are native to CA and often used in restoration efforts. The objective of this research is to determine the potential for establishment of these species when agricultural levees are breached for wetland restoration in the Sacramento/ San Joaquin Bay Delta. ”