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  • Approaches to Identify and Monitor for Potential Acid Sulfate Soils in an Ecological Restoration Context

    Purpose: Potential acid sulfate soils include materials with the capacity to generate acidity under certain environmental conditions. As such, these soils can pose challenges to ecological restoration projects occurring in wetlands and nearshore environments. To provide guidance for ecosystem restoration practitioners, the following technical note describes acid sulfate soil formation and distribution and then describes techniques for identifying and monitoring acid sulfate soil conditions prior to and following implementation of restoration activities. Finally, this technical note outlines a number of tools and recently published resources to help avoid unintended consequences of acid sulfate soil disturbance and achieve ecological restoration objectives.
  • Acid Sulfate Soils in Coastal Environments: A Review of Basic Concepts and Implications for Restoration

    Abstract: Acid sulfate soils naturally occur in many coastal regions. However, the oxidation of acid sulfate soils can decrease soil pH to <4.0, affecting vegetation and aquatic organisms. Acid sulfate soil oxidation typically occurs where anaerobic sediments or soils were exposed to aerobic conditions (for example, extended drought, artificial drainage, or dredged material placement in upland areas). Recently, field observations documented the formation of acid sulfate materials at multiple degraded marsh restoration locations (Rhode Island, New Jersey, California) following intentional dredged sediment placement into wetland environments designed to increase marsh elevation. Unlike previous studies of acid sulfate soils, the in situ dredged material did not contain acid sulfate–bearing materials at the time of placement; instead, the interaction between the marsh substrate and the overlying dredged material appears to have caused the formation of acid sulfate soils. These findings highlight the need for additional studies of acid sulfate soil formation and fate—especially within a marsh restoration context. In response, this report provides a review of literature related to acid sulfate soils, discusses preliminary data collected to evaluate acid sulfate material formation following marsh restoration, and identifies knowledge gaps requiring additional research and technical guidance.