Breilly Roy

Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Fall 2018


For hundreds of years farmers have been utilizing the salt marshes of New England to grow a variety of grasses as fodder for their livestock. When the industrial revolution came about, those farms were abandoned for easier factory jobs. Quickly, the marshes returned back to an ecosystem without human interference. Today, many of the salt marshes are in poor shape due to the retention of surface water. It was previously assumed that these hydrological failures in salt marsh communities were due to natural causes and more recent human elements such as mosquito ditching. It has recently been determined that the majority of drainage problems are due to old agricultural modifications that have been left fallow for over a century. This study evaluates whether or not agricultural modifications can be identified utilizing RTK GPS elevation points at Furbish Marsh, a site owned by Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge in Wells, Maine. During the summer of 2018, as part of a larger study, elevation readings were taken to obtain x,y position coordinates and orthographic height. These data were analyzed in ArcGIS in order to locate agricultural features within the marsh. From the data collected, a management plan was proposed to restore tidal ebb and flow. The desired outcome is to restore Furbish Marsh to a condition more resilient to sea level rise and to provide nesting habitat for the imperiled Saltmarsh Sparrow, Ammodramus caudacutus.


Department: MES

MPS Track: MCO

Location: Rachel Carson National Wildlife Reserve, US Fish and Wildlife Service

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