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Faunal recovery in a created wetland in Mission Bay, San Diego, Southern California.

During December 1995, tidal flushing was introduced into the City of San Diego's Crown Point Mitigation Site, located adjacent to the Northern Wildlife Preserve and U.C. Kendall-Frost Marsh Reserve in Mission Bay. The City of San Diego worked in cooperation with researchers at the University of California (Lisa Levin, Paul Dayton and their respective labs) and Keith Merkel and Associates Environmental Consulting to get the marsh designed and flushing. Plugs of Spartina foliosa (Pacific cord grass) were transplanted in March and May 1996 around the edges of the creek. All other plants and animals were left to naturally colonize. UCSD began monitoring the colonizing plants and animals the very first day the marsh was opened. That first spring, experimental blocks were established, soil amendments were added and we at UCSD have been studying colonization and succession ever since.

Our objectives have been to:

(1) Examine the abundance, composition and community structure of invertebrates and fish colonizing mudflat, salt marsh and creekbed habitat at the Crown Point Mitigation Site (created December 1995) and in adjacent reference habitats within Mission Bay, CA

(2) Define the mechanisms by which early colonists arrive (e.g., life histories, rafting, swimming, bed load transport).

(3) Examine change over time in soil properties, and their influence on faunal distributions at the constructed site.

(4) Examine the influence of vegetation type and cover on faunal distributions at the constructed site.

March 1996, 3 mos. after the initiation of tidal flushing.

October 1998, almost 3 yrs. after the initiation of tidal flushing. Most of the green is naturally-recruited Salicornia bigelovii(annual pickle-weed) and the transplanted (and spreading!) Spartina foliosa.

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Updated September 7, 2006
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