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Communities and non-profit organizations are playing a greater role in ecosystem restoration, particularly in nearshore habitats such as seagrass. Seagrass restoration success rates are variable, partly due to challenges with site selection. These challenges are greater for small organizations with limited resources. We summarize a seagrass restoration site selection method used by a Canadian non-profit organization, and a case study in Sechelt Inlet in southern British Columbia to analyze its utility. The site selection method includes assessments of socio-political, economic, ecological and physical criteria, with required and optional considerations. Socio-political factors relate to local support and absence of incompatible activities. Economic factors include time and budget. Ecological factors include local seagrass presence, lack of stressors, and a need for active restoration. Physical factors include suitable substrate, slope, depth and exposure. This selection method was applied to eight sites, of which three were rejected due to continued stressors, lack of local seagrass, or lack of support. Seagrass was transplanted at the remaining five sites and monitored for up to 4 years. Of these transplants, three were considered successful based on areal extent and density relative to reference beds. The remaining two were unsuccessful due to insufficient understanding of particular required criteria. This site selection method enables a clear understanding of biological, physical, and social contexts to enable site prioritization and selection. It also enables a thorough assessment of the reasons for restoration success or failure. This method can be adapted for restoration site selection in other marine and terrestrial ecosystems.
Audio/Video, Conference Presentation, SER2019
Society for Ecological Restoration