Title page for ETD etd-06032006-113117

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Cannaday, Christopher Dean
Author's Email Address ccanna2@lsu.edu
URN etd-06032006-113117
Title Effects of Terraces on Submerged Aquatic Vegetation in Shallow Marsh Ponds in Coastal Southwest Louisiana
Degree Master of Science (M.S.)
Department Renewable Natural Resources
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
John Andrew Nyman Committee Chair
Frank Rohwer Committee Member
Megan LaPeyre Committee Member
  • submerged aquatic vegetation
  • terraces
  • submersed aquatic vegetation
  • wetland restoration
  • sav
Date of Defense 2006-03-29
Availability unrestricted
The wetlands of coastal Louisiana are disappearing at a rate of 65 to 80 km2yr-1. Most of the loss is the conversion of emergent marsh to shallow marsh ponds. Terracing is one restoration technique that has been used frequently in recent years. Terraces are small intertidal ridges built in shallow marsh ponds to reduce wave action. It is assumed that this will slow erosion of adjacent emergent marsh and increase Submerged Aquatic Vegetation (SAV) production, a key habitat component for many marsh fauna. Yet both relevant previous studies failed to show that terraces increased SAV abundance. In April of 2004 this study was initiated to test this assumption. Three study sites with paired terraced and unterraced ponds were selected in southwest Louisiana; two at Rockefeller State Wildlife Refuge and one at Sabine National Wildlife Refuge. SAV abundance was estimated every other month for one year. SAV biomass and frequency were significantly higher in terraced ponds. SAV frequency in unterraced ponds averaged 20% (SE 13 to 33%) but frequency for unterraced ponds was 9% (SE 5 to 14%). Terraced ponds had approximately three and half times the biomass of unterraced ponds. This indicates that terraces improve SAV production as had been suspected. Turbidity and organic matter content were lower in terraced ponds indicating a possible causal mechanism. My results confirm some assumptions of wetland restoration planners who have used terraces.
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