Eli Polzer

M.S. Candidate, SUNY College at Brockport

Conference Travel Grant Type 2 (Joint Aquatic Sciences Meeting)

Pre-Implementation Vegetation Assessment of the Braddock Bay Coastal Wetland Restoration Project

“Braddock Bay, a 120-hectare coastal wetland along the shore of western Lake Ontario, is part of the Rochester Embayment Area of Concern and is recognized as impaired by the United States/Canadian International Joint Commission. Localized effects of lake-level stabilization, barrier beach degradation and consequent erosive wave action, and invasive plant encroachment on the assemblage and succession of wetland plant communities are well-documented. In summer 2013, a pre-implementation assessment of compromised wetland flora was conducted to inform the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in design of a plan to reestablish optimal sedge/grass meadow habitat via channel and pond construction, strategic dredge spoil siting, and emergent plant control. Approximately 1.25 linear kilometers of robust remnant sedge/grass meadow community was present along the wetland perimeter, although its spatial extent has been constricted greatly by competitive pressure from invasive cattail (Typha x. glauca), which was dominant throughout much of the wetland. Seedbank analyses suggested that on-site native plant species may be capable of modest recruitment at appropriate soil moisture levels, although they may benefit from accompanying vegetation seeding and planting. This restoration serves as a pilot for additional Great Lakes coastal wetland projects and has the potential to supplement a range of additional ecological studies and ameliorative projects in the Great Lakes basin. ”