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. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecss.2010.07.009