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Managed realignment as compensation for the loss of intertidal mudflat: A short term solution to a long term problem?

Mazik, Krysia; Musk, Will; Dawes, Olly; Dawes, Oliver; Solyanko, Katya; Brown, Sue; Mander, Lucas; Elliott, Mike


Will Musk

Olly Dawes

Oliver Dawes

Katya Solyanko

Sue Brown

Lucas Mander

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Professor Mike Elliott
Emeritus Professor of Estuarine and Coastal Sciences/ Research Professor, Institute of Estuarine and Coastal Studies


Intertidal mudflats are critical to the functional ecology of estuaries yet large areas are being lost as a result of land claim, erosion and coastal squeeze. This study examines whether managed realignment (at Paull Holme Strays, Humber estuary) can realistically achieve compensation for the loss of intertidal mudflat in the long term. Typical estuarine species quickly colonised the site with the total number of species recorded from the site as a whole being almost equal to that in the reference area within one year. Comparable biomass between the two areas was achieved after 2 years. However, organism abundance remains an order of magnitude lower within the realignment site compared to outside. Community structure within the realignment has changed from one characterised by terrestrial/freshwater organisms and early colonising species to one composed of typically estuarine species. However, the developing benthic communities only represent those typical of the estuary in areas of low elevation and high inundation frequency. Rapid accretion has favoured saltmarsh colonisation in much of the realignment site and this is expected to increase as accretion proceeds with invertebrate colonisation being inhibited by increasing elevation. Hence, realignment to restore intertidal mudflats can only be a short term solution in sites of high tidal elevation and in a dynamic and turbid estuary with high natural accretion rates, such as the Humber. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.


Mazik, K., Musk, W., Dawes, O., Solyanko, K., Brown, S., Mander, L., & Elliott, M. (2010). Managed realignment as compensation for the loss of intertidal mudflat: A short term solution to a long term problem?. Estuarine, coastal and shelf science, 90(1), 11-20.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jul 20, 2010
Online Publication Date Jul 24, 2010
Publication Date Nov 20, 2010
Print ISSN 0272-7714
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 90
Issue 1
Pages 11-20
Keywords Benthic communities; Estuaries; Intertidal habitat restoration; Invertebrate colonisation; Managed realignment
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