OOS 22-5 - Reviewing coastal habitat restoration efforts in the U.S. and the services they deliver

Wednesday, August 9, 2017: 9:20 AM
Portland Blrm 256, Oregon Convention Center
Jonathan H. Grabowski1, Rachel K. Gittman1, Katie K. Arkema2, Rick Bennett3, Jeff Benoit4, Seth Blitch5, Kelly Burks-Copes6, Anthony Chatwin7, Allison Colden8, Alyssa Dausman9, Bryan DeAngelis10, Rachel Houge11, Ron Howard12, A. Randall Hughes1, Ben Scaggs11, Steven B. Scyphers1, Tisa Shostik13 and Ariana Sutton-Grier14, (1)Marine Science Center, Northeastern University, Nahant, MA, (2)The Natural Capital Project, Stanford University, Seattle, WA, (3)US Fish and Wildlife Service, (4)Restore America's Estuaries, (5)The Nature Conservancy, (6)Environmental Laboratory, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Vicksburg, MS, (7)National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, (8)Chesapeake Bay Foundation, (9)Gulf Coast Ecosystem Restoration Council, (10)North America region, The Nature Conservancy, Narragansett, RI, (11)EPA Gulf of Mexico Program, (12)USDA NRCS, (13)NOAA Restoration Center, (14)Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Silver Spring, MD

Coastal and estuarine habitats, many of which have already been reduced by over 50%, face numerous threats such as reduced water quality, high turbidity, low dissolved oxygen, and continued habitat degradation. Therefore, restoration efforts will likely be necessary in many coastal systems to recover lost habitats and associated ecosystem services. In addition to understanding where these habitats have been lost, quantifying where and how many acres of each key habitat (e.g., seagrass beds, salt marshes, oyster reefs, coral reefs and mangroves) have previously been restored will help guide future restoration efforts. We reviewed existing restoration databases across multiple federal agencies that conduct coastal habitat restoration in the U.S. to provide a more comprehensive understanding of restoration effort over the past 10 years. We then compared how the average size and extent of restoration effort varies as a function of habitat, region and time.


Our analyses suggest that restoration efforts vary widely by habitat type, though we have thus far only examined restoration efforts conducted by one agency. In particular, far more tidal wetland has been restored over the past decade than other critical coastal and estuarine habitats, but the amount of oyster reef and mangrove habitats restored annually have increased substantially during this same period. We are in the process of integrating data from the NOAA Restoration Center, US Fish and Wildlife Service, US Department of Agriculture, US Army Corps of Engineers, Environmental Protection Agency, and the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation to build a more holistic understanding of past restoration effort in the U.S. Reviewing past restoration efforts is a necessary step in determining the degree to which restoration and conservation efforts are recovering lost ecosystem functions associated with coastal and estuarine habitats.