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Petaluma River Marsh Restoration

Project Description:  

This project involved a broad range of physical and biological monitoring of a 45-acre tidal marsh restoration project on a subsided diked bayland on the Petaluma River over a five-year period. Hydrogeomorphic and biological processes controlling evolution to a tidal marsh via natural sedimentation, documenting site changes.

Funding came from the Sonoma Land Trust, US Fish and Wildlife Service, CA Sea Grant Program, SF Bay Regional Water Quality Control Board, and USGS. 

Data collection included high-frequency time series measurements of water level, temperature, suspended sediment concentrations, and velocity; topographic surveys; vegetation surveys; and avian surveys. 

Remotely sensed data collection included low-altitude stereographic aerial imagery at 6-month to 1-year intervals used to generate high-resolution DEMs and channel planform maps. We analyzed tidal inundation, sediment flux, and effects of the February 1998 El Niño storms. These data allowed several determinations of hydrogeomorphic and biological processes influencing tidal marsh restoration evolution.

We identified important effects of pilot channels and small internal berms, determined that most sediment supply occurs during monthly higher spring tides, determined that desiccation strongly influences site elevations at certain evolutionary stages, and identified appropriate data collection frequency intervals for determining project evolution.

Additional Info

  • Project Duration: 1996-2008
  • Client: Multiple

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