Sustainable Created Forested Wetlands


Practitioners, the public, and regulatory agencies are concerned with the assurance of successful type-for-type forested wetland creation (or restoration) as compensatory mitigation for forested wetland impacts. The ability of a forested wetland to provide essential functions and values is strongly correlated with the quality/quantity/species diversity of the vegetation. So the overarching question to answer for this research effort was the determination of the best metric(s) to measure the ecological success of forested wetlands restoration.

Related questions include how does the choice of quality (or size)/ quantity/species diversity of woody species affect the ability of the created wetland to perform these functions and how do these functions change through time from initial planting to closed canopy cover? Since wetland mitigation is based on performance criteria, what is the ‘best recipe’ for establishing and ensuring a successfully created sustainable forested wetland in the Piedmont Region of Virginia? Finally, this project is looking at how the plant community can best be be designed and managed in order to provide the greatest diversity and quality of wetland functions and values (wildlife habitat, flood flow attenuation, nutrient uptake, sediment detention, etc.).

This research team, composed of faculty from the College of William & Mary (VIMS) and Christopher Newport University has developed a new metric for forested vegetation success that has been accepted by the Norfolk District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. A follow-up research award is using the data from this program to help develop a protocol for the most effective selection of species, stocktypes, and densities to meet the recommended state and federal agency success criteria.

Requests for Proposals

Original Request for Proposals: Sustainable Created Forested Wetlands, 2008

Amount awarded: $953,549

Final Research Report

Final Report to Piedmont Wetlands Research Program: Development of Woody Ecological Performance Standards for Created/Restored Forested Wetlands. Herman W. Hudson III² and James E. Perry², August 2018. This report supports establishment of an alternative woody ecological performance standard for forested compensatory mitigation sites based on analysis of planted and naturally colonizing woody vegetation from 17 created/restored forested wetland mitigation sites (ages 2 to 22 years).

Annual Reports to the Piedmont Wetlands Research Program: Assessment of Woody Vegetation for Replacement of Ecological Functions in Created Forested Wetlands of the Piedmont Province of Virginia.

These reports provide 7 years of survival, morphological, and biomass data for more than 4,000 trees planted in hydrologically distinct experimental cells and wetland mitigation banks. Planting material recommendations and support for the development of an alternative woody ecological performance standard for compensatory mitigation sites are presented.

Journal Articles

Theses and Dissertations

Conference Proceedings

Conference, Symposium and Meeting Presentations

Posters, Abstracts, and Manuscripts



¹ Center for Wetland Conservation, Christopher Newport University
² Virginia Institute of Marine Science, College of William & Mary
³ College of William & Mary
⁴ U.S. Geological Survey