Introduction

This Standard Methodologies Bank is a collection of standard operating procedures and methods that are used by PDE and its partners for living shoreline and/or marsh restoration monitoring. Many of these methods have been peer reviewed and are generally accepted. This resource is geared toward researchers, municipalities, environmental groups, and teachers to monitor ecological restoration projects throughout the Delaware Estuary. Monitoring techniques are split into two categories: “professional” and “public.” Professional methodologies generally require technical expertise, specialized equipment, and/or can be expensive. Public methodologies, however, are often less expensive and are suited for all user groups such as citizen scientists and students.

The table below organizes methodologies by category, metric, user group, and searchable keyword. Use the search option in the top right corner of the table to search the most appropriate method for your project, user group, and funding availability. Available resources and a brief description for each method are described below the table. The professional and public columns on the right contain reference numbers that correspond to reference numbers in the Standard Methods Resource Table. These links direct you to large user manuals, websites geared toward helping you find more resources, and specific methods (written by PDE staff and other organizations).

Use the search bar on the right to quickly locate your desired metrics.
For contributions and suggestions to this Standard Methods Bank, please contact us at info@DelawareEstuary.org.

CategoryMetricMethod OptionsProfessionalPublicKeywords
StructureShoreline MovementReal Time Kinematic (RTK) and Global Positioning System (GPS) Survey 1, 3Living Shorelines, Restoration
StructureShoreline Movement Aerial Photographs 3Living Shorelines, Restoration, Imagery
StructureShoreline MovementDistance from Installed Post or Permanent Structure1, 38Living Shorelines, Restoration, Edge Movement/Erosion
StructureShoreline MovementLight Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) 3Living Shorelines, Restoration
StructureShoreline MovementsGIS analysis - Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS)5Living Shorelines, Restoration, Edge Movement/Erosion
StructureStructural IntegrityObservation22,
8
Living Shorelines, Restoration, Observation
StructureStructural IntegrityFixed Photo Point Photographs3, 148Living Shorelines, Restoration, Photographs, Images
BiologicalVegetation StructureHorizontal Vegetation Obstruction4Vegetation Obstruction, Productivity, Invasive/Target/Planted Species, Robustness
BiologicalVegetation StructureVertical Vegetation Obstruction (light attenuation)17Vegetation, Productivity, Invasive/Target/Planted Species, Robustness, Light Meter
BiologicalVegetation StructureVegetation Growth (measure stems)188Vegetation, Productivity, Invasive/Target/Planted Species, Robustness, Stem Heights
BiologicalVegetation StructurePercent Cover1, 3, 198Vegetation, Productivity, Invasive/Target/Planted Species Robustness, Survival
BiologicalVegetation productivityAboveground Biomass (species/stem heights)12Vegetation, Productivity, Invasive/Target/Planted Species, Robustness, Survival
BiologicalVegetation productivityBelowground Biomass (species/stem heights)13Vegetation, Productivity, Invasive/Target/Planted Species, Robustness, Survival
BiologicalVegetation productivityFixed Photo Point Photographs3, 148Vegetation, Productivity, Invasive/Target/Planted Species, Robustness, Shellfish, Birds, Oysters, Mussels, Crabs, Recruitment, Survival
BiologicalVegetation productivityLANDSAT/Infrared Imagery30Vegetation, Productivity, Invasive/Target/Planted Species, Robustness, Survival
BiologicalVegetation Community Composition and DiversityList of Species3, 43, 8Vegetation, Invasive/Target/Planted Species, Shellfish, Birds, Oysters, Mussels, Crabs
BiologicalVegetation Community Composition and DiversityVegetation Community Distribution48Vegetation, Invasive/Target/Planted Species, Recruitment, Survival
BiologicalVegetation Community Composition and DiversityPercent Cover 198Vegetation, Productivity, Invasive/Target/Planted Species, Recruitment, Survival
BiologicalInvasive speciesPercent Cover198Vegetation, Productivity, Invasive/Target/Planted Species, Recruitment, Survival
BiologicalInvasive speciesObservation (Grazing, Disturbances, presence/absence) 22, 8Vegetation, Productivity, Invasive/Target/Planted Species, Recruitment, Survival
BiologicalFaunaPercent Survival (use a quadrat or small area)1Vegetation, Productivity, Robustness, Shellfish, Oysters, Mussels, Crabs, Recruitment, Survival
BiologicalFaunaList of Species4Plant Species, Shellfish, Birds, Oysters, Mussels, Crabs, Recruitment, Survival
BiologicalFaunaMorphometric (length of animal)1, 16Shellfish, Oysters, Mussels, Crabs, Recruitment, Survival, Density, Demographics
BiologicalFaunaRecruitment, Lip Count1, 161, 2Productivity, Shellfish, Oysters, Mussels, Recruitment, Survival
BiologicalFaunaFeeding and Breeding Behavior for Avian and Fish Species1, 33Birds
PhysicalHydroperiod (tides)Water Level Loggers3, 32, 27Water, Wave, Logger, Tide Cycle
PhysicalWave energy or height and amplitudeWater Level Loggers3, 32, 27Water, Wave Height, Flow, Logger, Tide Cycle
PhysicalWave energy or height and amplitudeGauges and Buoys31Water, Wave Height, Tide Cycle
PhysicalWave energy or height and amplitudeGraduated Rod1, 31Water, Wave Height, Logger, Tide Cycle
PhysicalStream FlowCurrent Meter/Flow Meter3, 26, 312Water, Wave, Logger
PhysicalSediment capture/accretionFeldspar Marker Horizon3, 6Marsh Stability, Elevation
PhysicalSediment capture/accretionSediment Plates3Marsh Stability, Elevation
PhysicalSediment capture/accretionSurface Elevation Table (SET)3, 6Marsh Stability, Elevation
PhysicalSediment capture/accretionLaser Level1Marsh Stability, Elevation
PhysicalSediment SupplyFiltration Suspended Sediment Concentration (SSC) 22Accretion/Erosion, Elevation
PhysicalSediment SupplySecchi Disc22 Accretion/Erosion, Elevation
PhysicalBelow Ground StabilityShear Vane Strength10Marsh Stability, Robustness
PhysicalBelow Ground StabilityBearing Capacity4, 31Marsh Stability, Robustness
PhysicalErosion rate/shoreline positionSediment Plates3Marsh Stability, Accretion/Erosion, Elevation
PhysicalErosion rate/shoreline positionReal Time Kinematic (RTK) and Global Positioning System (GPS) Survey 1, 3Marsh Erosion/Accretion, Elevation, Stabilization
PhysicalErosion rate/shoreline position Aerial Photographs3Marsh Erosion/Accretion, Elevation, Stabilization
PhysicalErosion rate/shoreline positionDistance from Installed Post or Permanent Structure1, 38Marsh Erosion/Accretion, Elevation, Stabilization
PhysicalErosion rate/shoreline positionLight Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)3Marsh Erosion/Accretion, Elevation, Stabilization, Mapping
PhysicalErosion rate/shoreline positionPaddle for the Edge9Marsh Edge Erosion/Accretion, Shoreline Condition
PhysicalErosion rate/shoreline positionGIS analysis - Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS)5Marsh Edge Erosion/Accretion, Shoreline Migration
PhysicalElevation (vertical change)Real Time Kinematic (RTK) and Global Positioning System (GPS) Survey 1, 3, 20Sediment Accretion/Erosion, Mapping
PhysicalElevation (vertical change)Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR)3Sediment Accretion/Erosion, Elevation, Mapping
PhysicalElevation (vertical change)Laser Level1Sediment Accretion/Erosion
PhysicalElevation (vertical change)Surveying Instrument (Barcode Leveling)7Sediment Accretion/Erosion
PhysicalElevation (vertical change)Surface Elevation Table (SET)3, 6Sediment Accretion/Erosion, Elevation Change
PhysicalSoil TypeSediment Organic Content (Loss on Ignition [LOI])11Sediment Contents, Organic Matter Composition
PhysicalSoil TypeSediment Analysis2829Sediment Contents, Texture
PhysicalDebrisObservation22, 8Trash, Marine Debris, Wrack
ChemicalSalinityRefractometer22Water Quality Metrics, Salt Content
ChemicalDissolved OxygenProfessional InstrumentSee BelowWater Quality Metrics
ChemicalDissolved OxygenWinkler Titration2, 292Water Quality Metrics
ChemicalTurbidityProfessional InstrumentSee BelowWater Quality Metrics, Suspended Solids, Nutrients
ChemicalTurbidityTransparency Tube22Water Quality Metrics, Suspended Solids, Nutrients
ChemicalTurbiditySecchi Disc22Water Quality Metrics, Suspended Solids, Nutrients
ChemicalTotal Suspended Solids (TSS)Filtration Total Suspended Solids (TSS)25Water Quality Metrics, Suspended Solids, Nutrients
ChemicalPhDigital Titration2, 292Water Quality Metrics, Acidity
ChemicalPhColorimeter22Water Quality Metrics, Acidity
ChemicalPhProfessional InstrumentSee BelowWater Quality Metrics, Acidity
ChemicalSalinityProfessional InstrumentSee BelowWater Quality Metrics, Salt Content
ChemicalSalinityRefractometer22Water Quality Metrics, Salt Content
ChemicalAlgal BloomChlorophyll a Field Procedure1, 3, 24Water Quality Metrics, Nutrients
ChemicalTemperatureThermometer1, 21, 2Water Quality Metrics
ChemicalTemperatureProfessional InstrumentSee BelowWater Quality Metrics
ChemicalConductivityProfessional InstrumentSee BelowWater Quality Metrics
ChemicalWater Column Nutrients (Nitrogen/Phosphorus)Lab/Field Water Sample Analyses1, 3, 2329Water Quality Metrics
ChemicalContaminantsWater Contamination and Pathogens1, 3, 2329Water Quality Metrics
ChemicalContaminantsE. Coli. Lab Analysis (CFUs)22Water Quality Metrics, Bacteria

Top

Metric Descriptions and Standard Method Procedures:

Aboveground Biomass: Aboveground biomass is collected within a 0.25m2 quadrat or 1.0m2 quadrat for salt marsh and tidal fresh marsh sites respectively. The biomass is collected by clipping all of the vegetation stems above the marsh surface. Biomass is then washed and sorted by species and stem height. These samples are then oven dried at 60°C to measure dry weight. These data are a proxy of on plant productivity.
Professional: Determination of Aboveground Biomass of Wetland Macrophytes

Aerial photographs: Aerial photographs are a valuable tool for visual documentation of changes over time. Imagery can be loaded into Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software (such as ArcMAP or Quantum GIS) and can be used in a variety of ways. Common GIS applications include interpreting land-cover alterations, assessing vegetated salt marsh coverage, and digitizing channel development. This method requires special software.
Professional: Tidal Marsh Monitoring

Bearing Capacity: This metric assesses the belowground stability of a wetland by examining the ability of the soil to support force applied to the ground. Using a 7.4-pound slide hammer, a PVC tube is hammered into the ground, reading measurements after each slide hammer blow.
Professional: Mid-Atlantic Tidal Wetland Rapid Assessment (MidTRAM) v 4.0 or Living Shorelines Engineering Guidelines

Belowground Biomass: Belowground biomass is collected within the center of the aboveground clipped plot as a 4, 6, or 15cm diameter x 30cm depth soil core by pounding a PVC core barrel into the marsh. The contents are then washed and sorted by live/dead plant material and species (if applicable). The sorted material is finally placed in the oven at 60°C to obtain dry weights to gain insight on plant productivity.
Professional: Determination of Belowground Biomass of Wetland Macrophytes

Chlorophyll a Field Procedure: Water samples are taken at various depths within the water column and tested for phytoplankton populations. Since chlorophyll a is generally proportional to the amount of phytoplankton in the water column, it can be used to determine overall productivity which can ultimately be linked to nutrient concentrations.
Professional: Tidal Marsh Monitoring or Standard Operating Procedure for Chlorophyll a Sampling Method Field Procedure or New Oyster Habitat Restoration Monitoring and Assessment Handbook

Colorimeter: An inexpensive method for determining water pH via a paper color intensity scale. The pH level of water reveals acidity; this is critical for sensitive species.
Public: Volunteer Estuary Monitoring: A Method Manual

Current Meter/Flow Meter: Stream flow and current metrics are used to calculate discharge volume and shoreline impact of creeks and riverbanks. These measurements help managers make decisions about best management practices. Flow measurements can be taken in a variety of locations in a number of ways. There are methods to suit all user groups.
Professional: Discharge Measurements at Gaging Stations or Tidal Marsh Monitoring or Living Shorelines Engineering Guidelines
Public: Volunteer Stream Monitoring: A Methods Manual

Digital Shoreline Analysis System (DSAS): A freely available software application which works within the Environmental Systems Research Institute (Esri) Geographic Information system (ArcGIS) software. DSAS is designed to assess shoreline change over time. This software provides rate-of-change statistics for a time series of shoreline vector data. Understanding historical shoreline change is key to identifying stressors and may help determine how to best reduce further erosion.
Professional: DSAS: Digital Shoreline Analysis System 4.0

Distance from installed post or permanent structure to shoreline (m/y): A simple technique for determining shoreline change is measuring the distance from a designated offshore point to the shoreline edge. This metric will help managers determine if project sites are prograding.
Professional: Tidal Marsh Monitoring or New Oyster Habitat Restoration Monitoring and Assessment Handbook
Public: Citizen Scientist Monitoring of Nature-Based Coastal Resiliency and Restoration Projects: A Guidance Manual 4.2

E. Coli. Lab Analysis (Colony Forming Units, CFU): Escherichia Coli bacteria is a bacteria found in the intestinal tract of warm-blooded animals. When this bacteria is found in the water column it indicates fecal pollution and possible presence of other pathogens. this lab analysis uses petri dish counts to determine pathogen presence.
Professional: Method 1103.1: Escherichia coli (E. coli) in Water by Membrane Filtration Using membrane-Thermotolerant Escherichia coli Agar (mTEC)

Feeding and Breeding Behavior for Avian and Fish Species: Bird and Fish behaviors are influenced significantly by the environment in which they live. They are able to move between habitats and can quickly respond to habitat restoration. Understanding breeding and feeding behaviors can help determine spatial distribution and abundance of prey, which depends on hydrology and water quality conditions. There are a variety of methods which can be used by a range of skill levels, from the volunteer to expert level.
Professional: New Oyster Habitat Restoration Monitoring and Assessment Handbook
Professional/Public: Tidal Marsh Monitoring

Filtration: Suspended solids in the water column impact flora and fauna by providing food and affecting light penetration. Filtering water samples can provide insight to how much suspended solids are present within the water column. Other tests can be run as well to determine organic and inorganic content. This method requires special filters and filter apparatuses.
Professional: EPA Methods for Chemical Analysis of Water and Wastes (TSS)
Public: Volunteer Estuary Monitoring: A Method Manual (SSC)

Fixed Photo Point Photographs: Photo documentation of a site will be taken from predetermined and demarcated photo points to assess the changes in an area. This is an effective and inexpensive way to obtain valuable information about how a site matures and adapts over time.
Professional: Methods for Fixed Photo Point Observations
Professional/Public: Tidal Marsh Monitoring or Citizen Scientist Monitoring of Nature-Based Coastal Resiliency and Restoration Projects: A Guidance Manual 4.2

Gauges and Buoys: There are a variety of wind wave measuring instruments that can be used by experts to quantify wave energy impacts on a site. Pressure gauges use fluctuating water pressures under waves to measure wave action while accelerometer buoys are anchored to the bed and measures waves via a buoy rising/falling above the surface. Wave height can impact a sites success or failure significantly.
Professional: Living Shorelines Engineering Guidelines

Graduated Rod: Graduated Rods may be used for determining the difference in height between points or to determine the elevations in relation to a reference point. The relief of a study area provides important information about the plant and shellfish communities.
Professional: New Oyster Habitat Restoration Monitoring and Assessment Handbook or Living Shorelines Engineering Guidelines

Horizontal Vegetative Obstruction: 1m2 vegetation plots distributed along a transect will allow for more detailed monitoring to take place. A profile board which is 1 m long and divided into 10 decimeter painted sections is used to measure visibility through 4m of vegetation. This metric, combined with Vertical Vegetation Obstruction, will ultimately provide a vegetation robustness reading.
Professional: Mid-Atlantic Tidal Wetland Rapid Assessment (MidTRAM) v 4.0

Landsat/Infrared Imagery: Landsat, or Land Remote-Sensing Satellite System, is a program managed by NASA and the US Geologic Survey. This program is dedicated to obtaining images of earth via orbiting satellites carrying sophisticated remote sensing observation instruments. This program has acquired millions of images which are valuable for global research and planning at the expert level.
Professional: LANDSAT Program

Laser Level: An instrument designed to easily measure surface elevation across an area of interest. It provides data on elevation which is useful for understanding sediment supply and vegetation communities.
Professional: New Oyster Habitat Restoration Monitoring and Assessment Handbook

Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR): This requires technical equipment and software, but can be used for a variety of applications. This technique allows professionals to examine environments with accuracy, precision, and flexibility. It can provide elevations across large landscapes, which is useful when determining best management practices.
Professional: Tidal Marsh Monitoring

List of Species (e.g., fish, plants, birds): Compiling a list of species observed at a location may be valuable to understand how a site is changing over time. Plant guides are useful for determining plant species.
Professional: Mid-Atlantic Tidal Wetland Rapid Assessment (MidTRAM) v 4.0
Professional: Mid-Atlantic Tidal Wetland Rapid Assessment (MidTRAM) v 4.0
Professional/Public: Tidal Marsh Monitoring or Citizen Scientist Monitoring of Nature-Based Coastal Resiliency and Restoration Projects: A Guidance Manual 4.2

Marker Horizon: An artificial soil horizon, typically made of feldspar, is placed on top of the wetland surface to measure ssedimentation and accretion. Marker horizons may be installed in conjunction with Sediment Elevation Tables benchmarks or they may stand alone. Routinely monitoring several marker horizons throughout a project site will provide valuable information on sediment accumulation and/or decomposition/erosion.
Professional: The Surface Elevation Table and Marker Horizon Technique: A protocol for Monitoring Wetland Elevation Dynamics or Tidal Marsh Monitoring

Morphometric (e.g., length/shape of nekton or oysters): Collecting data on shellfish length with a simple ruler or digital caliber will provide information on how the shellfish population is distributed across various size classes. This type of data will inform managers and scientists of shellfish growth, survivorship, and mortality.
Professional: New Oyster Habitat Restoration Monitoring and Assessment Handbook or Methods for Shellfish Population Density and Demographics in Living Shoreline Treatments

Observations (grazing, disturbances, debris, presence/absence, overall site condition): Recording general field observations provides information that may otherwise not be captured such as the overall condition of vegetation and water surface appearance. This type of information may prove to be valuable when interpreting data results.
Professional/Public: Volunteer Estuary Monitoring: A Method Manual or Citizen Scientist Monitoring of Nature-Based Coastal Resiliency and Restoration Projects: A Guidance Manual 4.2

Paddle for the Edge: This is a data collection initiative that is driven by volunteer kayakers, canoeists, and stand up paddle boarders. Volunteers, also known as citizen scientists, are critical to helping scientists study shoreline migration across large areas.
Public: Paddle for the Edge Training Book 2017

Percent Cover per m2: 1m2 vegetation plots distributed along a transect will offer more detailed monitoring to take place. This metric will provide an understanding of vegetation robustness by estimating the extent of plant presence. Robustness is linked to vegetation health, the marsh’s ability to trap sediments for accretion, and shoreline stability.
Professional: Tidal Marsh Monitoring or New Oyster Habitat Restoration Monitoring and Assessment Handbook or Methods for Percent Vegetative Cover
Public: Citizen Scientist Monitoring of Nature-Based Coastal Resiliency and Restoration Projects: A Guidance Manual 4.2

Percent Survival (use a quadrat or small area): This method for counting shellfish within an area or quadrat results in a better understanding of population size, survivorship, and recruitment on constructed or reference sites.
Professional: New Oyster Habitat Restoration Monitoring and Assessment Handbook

Professional Instrument: There are a number of professional instruments at varying price ranges which give instant measurements for dissolved oxygen, salinity, pH, conductivity, temperature, etc. These are handheld instruments that can yield immediate results in the field. Some companies which manufacture these instruments include YSI, Hydromet, Fischer Scientific, etc.

Real Time Kinematic (RTK) and Global Positioning System (GPS) Survey: Real time kinematic surveying (RTK) is an in situ technique used to measure elevation within the range of several centimeters over a large area. This technique can be expensive and requires trained practitioners to walk across the marsh surface to obtain precise vertical elevation measurements. The RTK can also be used to track changing shoreline edges and vegetation zones over time.
Professional: Tidal Marsh Monitoring or New Oyster Habitat Restoration Monitoring and Assessment Handbook or Methods for RTK Point Collection and ArcGIS Methods for Topographic Elevation Modeling in an Area of Interest or Methods for Marsh Futures Area of Interest (AOI) Elevation Zone Delineation (for elevation)

Recruitment, Lip Count: Measuring shellfish population densities and demographics (e.g. age and size) via counting and measuring provides information about overall shellfish population health and water quality within the site.
Professional: Methods for Shellfish Population Density and Demographics in Living Shoreline Treatments
Professional/Public: New Oyster Habitat Restoration Monitoring and Assessment Handbook or Volunteer Estuary Monitoring: A Method Manual

Refractometer: This is a piece of equipment used to measure the salinity of a body of water. They are inexpensive and friendly to all user groups. Salinity levels impact sensitive plant and animal communities.
Professional/Public: Volunteer Estuary Monitoring: A Method Manual

Secchi Disc: An easy to use, inexpensive, and accurate tool for measuring water clarity. Water clarity data provides proxies of suspended sediments in the water column.
Professional/Public: Volunteer Estuary Monitoring: A Method Manual

Sediment Analysis: Sediment analysis may include a variety of components such as particle size and organic material content. Sediment composition and size distribution are fundamental properties of soils; they can provide information about overall site conditions.
Professional: Techniques of Water-Resources Investigations of the United States Geologic Survey
Public: Volunteer Stream Monitoring: A Methods Manual

Sediment Organic Content (Loss on Ignition [LOI]): Both aboveground and belowground samples can be collected for this metric. Biomass and soil is collected by clipping all vegetation stems at the marsh surface and/or by a 15cm diameter x 30cm depth soil core. The biomass or soil is then washed, sorted by live/dead and species (if applicable), dried, ground, and placed into a muddle furnace at 400-600°C to distinguish between inorganic and organic matter decomposition.
Professional: Method for Loss-On-Ignition (LOI) Weight Analyses

Sediment Plates: Sediment Plates are an easy to use and inexpensive way to measure erosion and sediment accumulation. Plates can be made of a variety of materials (e.g tile) and are anchored into the ground with a long rod. Routine monitoring reveals sediment surface accumulation or loss over time.
Professional: Tidal Marsh Monitoring

Shear Vane Strength: This is a hand-held instrument used by professionals to measure soil shear strength. This instrument involves pushing a 4 bladed vane into the soil at different depths to determine its strength. Soil strength impacts the capacity of a soil to resist deformation and shoreline erosion.
Professional: Shear Vane Manual

Surface Elevation Table (SET): This metric gives precise measurements of sediment elevation over long periods of time. SET benchmarks are permanently installed for routine measurements and are generally paired with several Marker Horizons to discern between surface (accretion) and subsurface (shallow subsidence) processes. These readings and installations require professionals.
Professional: The Surface Elevation Table and Marker Horizon Technique: A protocol for Monitoring Wetland Elevation Dynamics or Tidal Marsh Monitoring

Surveying Instrument (barcode leveling): An accepted method for measuring wetland elevation over long periods of time. This method does not require a permanent set up in the marsh and yields similar results as SETs. This is a digital barcode leveling laser instrument which can be used across large areas of wetland.
Professional: Wetland Elevations at Sub-Centimeter Precision: Exploring the Use of Digital Barcode Leveling for Elevation Monitoring

Thermometer: Thermometers can vary in price and function. They can easily record the temperature of air and water.
Professional: New Oyster Habitat Restoration Monitoring and Assessment Handbook
Professional/ Public: Volunteer Estuary Monitoring: A Method Manual

Titration Kit: Inexpensive kits which can be used to measure dissolved oxygen, pH, NH3, NH4, and NHx by all user groups. Dissolved oxygen (Winkler Titration) and pH (Digital Titration) measurements help explain flora and fauna community distribution.
Professional/Public: Volunteer Estuary Monitoring: A Method Manual
Public: Volunteer Stream Monitoring: A Methods Manual

Transparency Tube: Sometimes called a “turbidity tube,” tube readings are a proxy for total suspended solids and turbidity of a source of water, these reading compare relatively well to precise lab measurements.
Professional/Public: Volunteer Estuary Monitoring: A Method Manual

Vegetation Community Distribution: Monitoring sites will have several transects, or lines, which are used to guide vegetation distribution measurements. The position and extent of vegetation will change over time; this method offers a basic understanding of vegetation distribution across a site.
Professional: Mid-Atlantic Tidal Wetland Rapid Assessment (MidTRAM) v 4.0
Public: Citizen Scientist Monitoring of Nature-Based Coastal Resiliency and Restoration Projects: A Guidance Manual 4.2

Vertical Growth (measuring stems): 1m2 vegetation plots distributed along a transect will allow for more detailed monitoring to take place. Randomly measuring the height of 25 stems throughout the plot will help managers track changes over time.
Professional/Public: Methods for Vegetation Growth or Citizen Scientist Monitoring of Nature-Based Coastal Resiliency and Restoration Projects: A Guidance Manual 4.2

Vertical Vegetation Obstruction (Light attenuation): 1m2 vegetation plots distributed along a transect will allow more detailed monitoring to take place. Within each plot, 10 light meter readings are taken, 5 above standing vegetation and 5 at the sediment level, to measure the percent of light reaching the wetland surface. This metric, combined with Horizontal Vegetation Obstruction, will ultimately provide a vegetation robustness reading.
Professional: Field and Calculative Methods for the Measurement of Vegetation Robustness

Water Level Loggers: Water levels, or hydroperiods (inundation or water residence via the tide), can be determined by a variety of tactics. Water level loggers, placed in a protective housing, are commonly used to record inundation times.
Professional: Tidal Marsh Monitoring or Stage Measurements at Gaging Stations or Method for HOBO Water Level Logger Deployment and Assessing Hydroperiods on Tidal Marsh Platforms

Water Sample Analysis: Contaminants, pathogens, nutrients, and other chemical measures are critical to monitoring. Since plants rely on nutrients such as nitrogen and phosphorus to grow and reproduce, excess or insufficient availability can cause population declines. Drinking water contaminants can have dangerous health impacts on communities. There are a variety of water quality testing methods which are suited for a variety of user groups ranging from volunteers to professionals including: laboratory chemistry, titration, grab sampling, in situ tests, and much more.
Professional: Tidal Marsh Monitoring or Methods Approved to Analyze Drinking Water Samples to Ensure Compliance with Regulations or New Oyster Habitat Restoration Monitoring and Assessment Handbook
Public: Volunteer Stream Monitoring: A Methods Manual or Volunteer Estuary Monitoring: A Method Manual

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