Restoring The Physical Integrity Of The Tidal Wetland Restoration

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Across all projects, the first step in tidal wetland restoration is almost always to create a “restoration site template” that will form the basis of the entire project. Experts believe that “restoring the physical integrity of the tidal wetland offers the best opportunity of restoring ecologic integrity” (Faber “Design” 17). How the template is formed will ultimately dictate what the final wetland will look like. Construction of the wetland base may require either excavation or fill depending on the site conditions. Some sites, like the Ballona Wetlands, have been filled with a massive layer of dirt, and in these cases, the site will need to be excavated back down to the bottom of the root zone so that natural sedimentation processes…show more content…
In the consideration of which method is appropriate, one must also evaluate the site’s natural sedimentation load and its effect on the site’s own capacity for self-restoration. For example, at the Sears Point Wetlands, no additional fill was placed on the project site even though the land had significantly subsided because of the “high local suspended sediment concentrations in the San Pablo Bay promoting rapid natural sedimentation” (Wetlands and Water 65). Another element to the template design of a restoration site is the decision to excavate tidal channels and a drainage system. Oftentimes, project managers can choose to “rejuvenate pre-existing tidal drainage system by redirecting tidal flows into the area.” If the natural drainage system has become too shallow over time, one may choose to excavate channels that follow the original drainage network of the wetland. This decision can contribute significantly to the success of the wetland because the natural processes will be restored much more quickly than if the wetland was allowed to re-develop those channels on its own (Faber “Design” 47). Because the drainage systems function as valuable wildlife habitat, the Sears Point project took special care to establish the “antecedent channel configuration” by
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