The objectives of this paper are to summarize existing knowledge on the hydrologic characteristics of tidal marshes in the New York/New Jersey (NY/NJ) Estuary, to document the extensive linkages between hydrology and tidal marsh function, to underline their importance in designing restoration projects, and to identify research needs in this area. Hydrologic processes are responsible for the evolution, inter- and intra- marsh variability, and functional value of tidal marshes. Hydrology also controls the movement of materials and organisms between estuaries, wetlands, uplands, and the atmosphere. The importance of hydrology to tidal marsh function is widely recognized by the scientific community. Hydrologic research in tidal wetlands of the NY/NJ Estuary, however, is lacking. Anthropogenic development activities have resulted in drastic losses of tidal wetland value, and restoration is now finally a priority in many of the region's natural resource management plans. The success of tidal marsh restoration efforts depends on how appropriately hydrologic factors and their interdependencies are recognized and incorporated into design; yet, little guidance about how best to restore tidal marsh hydrology is available. There is a need to document better the hydrologic characteristics of existing and historical tidal wetlands, to improve hydrologic modeling capabilities, and to accompany other ecological investigations in tidal marshes with hydrologic documentation.
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Vol. 24 • No. 2