The Use of Case Studies in Establishing Feasibility for Wetland Restoration

Authors

  • Kristine N. Hopfensperger,

    Corresponding author
    1. Appalachian Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Frostburg, MD 21532, U.S.A.
      Address correspondence to Kristine N. Hopfensperger, email khopfensperger@al.umces.edu
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  • Katharina A. M. Engelhardt,

    1. Appalachian Laboratory, University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Frostburg, MD 21532, U.S.A.
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  • Steven W. Seagle

    1. Department of Biology, Appalachian State University, Boone, NC 28608, U.S.A.
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Address correspondence to Kristine N. Hopfensperger, email khopfensperger@al.umces.edu

Abstract

Establishing restoration feasibility is a multifaceted process that requires consideration of the ecological, social, and economic conditions of a given site. Examining completed restoration projects that report successes and failures may enhance this complex decision-making process. We describe five completed wetland restoration projects and identify commonalities among them to inform the process of establishing feasibility for proposed restoration projects. Most of the case studies identified the need to gather preexisting and historical information, develop scenarios through hydrologic modeling, study the restoration materials, use best professional judgement for unanswered questions, establish multigroup collaboration, gain public support from stakeholders, and monitor postrestoration. We applied these lessons to a study that evaluated the feasibility of restoring Dyke Marsh Preserve, a tidal freshwater marsh in Virginia that the National Park Service is mandated to preserve. We found that the use of case studies substantially increased confidence in the decision-making process by focusing discussions on the most important ecological, social, and economic aspects of a potential restoration.

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