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Ecosystem Restoration and Protection

NCSU BAE Ecosystem Restoration and Protection

North River Farms Restoration Current Research Objectives


North River Phase 2 Monitoring Stations
Figure 1. The locations of the two monitoring stations are shown by the red boxes.


Introduction

Marsh restorations are being promoted as a means of improving water quality and wildlife habitat, but by how much the water quality is improved has yet to be determined. In the earlier Phase 2 research, we found that it was difficult to determine how much nitrogen was being removed from the agricultural drainage water entering the marsh. One water sample a day from an automatic water sampler was not sufficient to characterize the complicated nutrient dynamics of a tidal marsh. Nutrient concentrations likely vary with the tidal cycle as water from the downstream estuary is mixed with water from the upstream agricultural fields. We hope to finally be able to determine the amount of nitrogen being removed by a salt marsh using new water quality monitoring methods.

Objectives

Primary research goals for this effort include:

  1. Create a continuous record of flow and water quality for an upstream and downstream monitoring station.
  2. Determine the amount of nitrate retained by the salt marsh using a mass balance approach.