Protecting Alabama's Water Quality through Marsh Restoration

In coastal Alabama, stormwater runs off the land into coastal waters, carrying with it a variety of pollutants and disease-causing microbes that degrade water quality and threaten human health. Fully restored coastal marshes with complete plant cover are able to absorb up to 80 percent of the nitrogen pollution in this runoff. Less is known, however, about the capacity of marshes at different stages of restoration to improve water quality.

A team led by the Weeks Bay Reserve and University of Alabama addressed this gap by working with stakeholders to assess the ability and cost-effectiveness of marsh restoration designs, at varying stages of recovery, to remove nitrogen pollution from stormwater runoff.