Tidal Marsh Restoration in Areas with Contaminated or Unconsolidated Soils

Teresa Doss, The Louis Berger Group, Inc.

100 Halsted Street, East Orange, NJ 07019




The restoration of tidal marshes is a developing science, and often involves a series of trial and error before reaching the established goal a healthy, vigorous growth of emergent vegetation. The goal is even more difficult to reach when the wetland soils to be revegetated are unconsolidated or contaminated, which often occurs in urban areas. An experiment was developed to test whether or not bog mats could be utilized in an area where emergent vegetation had not been able to be established under the typical seed or plant methods. In the Summer of 2001, three bog mats were placed in a low marsh area of unconsolidated muck within a restoration site in the Hackensack Meadowlands. Spartina alterniflora seed was incorporated using three different methods: 1) seeding the mats in the nursery ten days prior to placing the mats on site; 2) placing the seed on top of the mats after placing the mats on site; and 3) placing the seed below the mats while placing the mats on site. The results of the experiment after three growing seasons will be presented, along with information about uses of the bog mats in other tidal marsh situations and recommendations for future use in restorations within urban, contaminated sites.