During the summer 2014, in partnership with the MIT Sea Grant; University of Massachusetts, Boston (Consortium for Ocean Sensing in the Nearshore Environment, COSINE); and North and South Rivers Watershed Association, the Jones River Watershed Association conducted monitoring of geological, biological, and chemical conditions in local salt marshes using a combination of remote sensing and traditional on-the-ground techniques. Wireless network cameras were deployed in key areas of perceived change in the marsh for continuous visual monitoring of physical conditions and to try to capture changes while minimizing physical damage to fragile marsh habitat. Geographic and biological survey results are being used to ground-truth the remotely sensed camera data. The main focus of this research was to look at changes in trends and conditions of salt marsh in light of climate change (particularly sea level rise), regional salt marsh dieback, and invasive species. Six out of seven sites surveyed showed an increase in low marsh (Spartina alterniflora) compared to high marsh (Spartina patens), with five out of seven sites also showing a decrease in marsh border (primarily Iva frutescens) (see Figure 1 below). A description of the methodology used, findings and recommendations are available in the study report: Jones, North, and South Rivers Salt Marsh Assessment. file size 3MB Jones River Watershed Association and North and South Rivers Watershed Association. 2015.
Figure 1: Belt Width Comparison 2000 vs. 2014.(North and South Rivers stations)
[Iva = Iva frutescens; Ds = Distichlis spicata; Sp = Spartina patens; Sa= S. alterniflora (short and tall forms)]
[Stations: Trouant Island (TI), Driftway (DW), Scituate Conservation(SC), Coast Guard(CG), Rexham (RX), Chittenden (CH)]