Tidal marsh restoration optimism in a changing climate and urbanizing seascape

Nathan J. Waltham*, Caitlin Alcott, Myriam A. Barbeau, Just Cebrian, Rod M. Connolly, Linda A. Deegan, Kate Dodds, Lucy A. Goodridge Gaines, Ben L. Gilby, Christopher J. Henderson, Catherine M. McLuckie, Thomas J. Minello, Gregory S. Norris, Jeff Ollerhead, James Pahl, James F. Reinhardt, Ryan J. Rezek, Charles A. Simenstad, Joseph A. M. Smith, Eric L. SparksLorie W. Staver, Shelby L. Ziegler, Michael P. Weinstein

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    Tidal marshes (including saltmarshes) provide remarkable value for many social (cultural, recreational) and environmental (fish production, water quality, shoreline protection, carbon sequestration) services. However, their extent, condition, and capacity to support these services are threatened by human development expansion, invasive species, erosion, altered hydrology and connectivity, and climate change. The past two decades have seen a shift toward working with managers to restore tidal marshes to conserve existing patches or create new marshes. The present perspective examines key features of recent tidal marsh restoration projects. Although optimism about restoration is building, not all marshes are the same; site-specific nuances require careful consideration, and thus, standard restoration designs are not possible. Restoration projects are effectively experiments, requiring clear goals, monitoring and evaluation, and adaptive management practices. Restoration is expensive; however, payment schemes for ecosystem services derived from restoration offer new ways to fund projects and appropriate monitoring and evaluation programs. All information generated by restoration needs to be published and easily accessible, especially failed attempts, to equip practitioners and scientists with actionable knowledge for future efforts. We advocate the need for a network of tidal marsh scientists, managers, and practitioners to share and disseminate new observations and knowledge. Such a network will help augment our capacity to restore tidal marsh, but also valuable coastal ecosystems more broadly.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1681-1690
    Number of pages10
    JournalEstuaries and Coasts
    Issue number6
    Early online date22 Jan 2021
    Publication statusPublished - Sep 2021


    • Restoration challenges
    • Restoration knowledge
    • Restoration opportunities
    • Saltmarsh
    • Seascape


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