Projects and Research
Current Projects Include
Refuge staff and Student Conservation Association interns complete saltmarsh vegetation surveys at Wertheim, Seatuck, and Lido Beach each August and September. The team surveys 203 one-meter square quadrats to assess how theis responding to restoration efforts. During the surveys, the team records percent cover, stem density, and stem height. Hurricane Sandy resiliency projects involve the use of coir logs to fill former mosquito ditches, newly excavated channels to improve tidal flow, thin layer deposition, and a new living shoreline.
In the 1930s, ditches were added to the marshes to drain them, assuming that drier marshes would reduce the mosquito populations. However, rain water still collected in low areas and mosquitoes continued to breed, and small fish that fed on mosquito larvae could no longer get into the drier marsh areas. Pesticides developed in the 1940s suppressed the mosquitoes, but damaged the marsh ecosystem. Today, an alternative to spraying insecticides is using Open Marsh Water Management. These techniques include filling in some of the ditches and creating new tidal creeks and ponds, which allow small fish and other mosquito predators back into the marsh.
National Audubon Society surveyed Seatuck National Wildlife Refuge for the annual Christmas Bird Count. Participants observed 236 individual birds and 35 species within the refuge. Notable species included a northern harrier, eastern screech-owl, great horned owl, northern saw-whet owl, and peregrine falcon. The 2020 count marks the 121st year of the Christmas Bird Count tradition!