Saving The Sinking Salt Marshes: Comparing Restoration Case Studies to Louisiana’s Breaux Act

Photo courtesy of Candie Wilderman

Published 2005














This website is part of Maggie Allio's research project for Senior Seminar 2005. The purpose was to analyze a number of case studies of salt marsh restoration projects, including those funded by the Breaux Act in Louisiana. Links in blue are internal, linking to other pages of my site. Links in red are external and link to outside sites containing additional information.

**This page is best viewed with Internet Explorer 6.0 or better on a PC computer.**


Main Objective:

A comparison of global case studies was conducted (see table for results), focusing on the monitoring strategies and the effect adaptive management has on the functional success of restortaion projects.

I also hope to help students of the Luce Semester to be able to see the Breaux Act in a global context. such as the coastal wetlands in southern Louisiana.


I asked a series of questions for each case study in order to objectively analyze and compare the different studies from around the world. This analysis was done to study some of the major challenges in the field of salt marsh restoration and highlight successful strategies to enhance degraded coastal landscapes.

Photo courtesy of Candie Wilderman

Questions I used to analyze each case study

1. What type of wetland? Restoration efforts are likely to vary depending on the type of wetland being restored. This question was asked in hopes of identifying whether the difficulty of successful restoration tended to change depending on salinity, habitat, or vegetation composition.

2. Where and when did the study take place? It is important to note the cultural differences that are likely to occur between studies in different countries. The currency of the study is also important because the understanding of ecological restoration has been developing rapidly.

3. Who funded the restoration project and monitoring? This question is asked to determine if funding tends to have any effect on the success of salt marsh restoration projects and the monitoring efforts. If so, this is an interesting perspective to apply to the case study of Louisiana.

4. How is the public involved in the restoration project? This question was asked so that any indication of public involvement would be noted for each case study in order to see if public participation improved the likelihood for success in salt marsh restoration projects.

5. How adaptive/flexible is the monitoring plan? “Adaptive management is a “buzzword” in the literature, but how is it being applied to real restoration projects? These strategies can be used to achieve the functional success of salt marsh restoration.

6. What were the greatest successes and failures of the project? It is valuable to compare stories of success and failure in order to gain a better understanding of the current state of the development of restoration projects. Articulating answers to this question will help highlight the greatest issues and challenges in the field of salt marsh restoration.

7. Who is responsible for implementing the monitoring plan, and how long will it continue? Adaptive management can not take place without the accountability of project managers to implement monitoring plans that continue for an extended period of time. This question was asked in order to understand how monitoring plans are being implemented.

8. What is the assessment strategy? In addition to the structure of the monitoring plan, it is important to note the ecological indicators being used to evaluate restoration projects, and what they are being compared to. Although, this was the original focus of the project, my research shifted to analyzing the organization and vision of the monitoring plans.

9. What conclusions are drawn? The comparisons of conclusions will help frame the most important issues in the field of salt marsh restoration. Recommendations from each study will be compared and contrasted.

10. How does this study compare to salt marsh restoration projects in Louisiana? This question was asked in order to highlight the conclusions or some details of each study that may be more easily compared to those funded by the Breaux Act.

Dickinson College Environmental Studies Department

Luce Semester Home

2005 Senior Seminar Web pages