Conservation and Management
Freshwater tidal creeks are threatened by development and its associated run-off (e.g., residential, agricultural, roads, bridges), habitat alteration in the adjacent landscape (e.g., logging, pollution run-off), and alteration to the natural tidal hydrology (e.g., impoundments, blocked culverts, stream channelization, water diversions, bank stabilization). Reduction in water quality is a threat to freshwater tidal creeks (e.g., siltation, trash, turbidity, septic/nutrient run-off, pesticides). Freshwater tidal creeks are threatened by invasive, non-native plants, such as Eurasion water-milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) and water chestnut (Trapa natans), and animals, such as zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) and non-native snails (Bithynia tentacula).
Conservation Strategies and Management Practices
Where practical, establish and maintain a tidal creek buffer to reduce storm-water, pollution, and nutrient run-off, while simultaneously capturing sediments before they reach the freshwater tidal creek. Buffer width should take into account the erodibility of the surrounding soils, slope steepness, and current land use. If possible, minimize the number and size of impervious surfaces in the surrounding landscape. Avoid habitat alteration within the creek and surrounding landscape. For example, roads should not be routed through the riparian buffer area. If the creek must be crossed, then bridges are preferred over filling and culverts. Restore past impacts, such as removing obsolete impoundments and ditches in order to restore the natural tidal hydrology. Prevent the spread of invasive exotic species into the river through appropriate direct management, and by minimizing potential dispersal corridors.
Development and Mitigation Considerations
Buffers that diminish or eliminate disturbances in this estuarine community are critical considerations for any development project. Such disturbances include the influx of water-borne solutes (e.g., road salt, fertilizers, herbicides, pesticides, sewage), water-borne sediments, and noise pollution. Strive to minimize or eliminate hardened shorelines and maintain very low-sloped shorelines within the tidal zone. Maintain high connectivity between the freshwater tidal creeks and the tidal river, as well as with tidal marshes to encourage full tidal flushing during each tidal cycle. For example, barriers such as railway causeways should have numerous culverts to allow sufficient hydrologic connectivity.
Continue searching for large freshwater tidal creeks in good condition (A- to AB-ranked), prioritizing creeks that are associated with other high quality freshwater tidal natural communities (e.g., freshwater tidal marshes, freshwater intertidal mudflats, freshwater tidal swamps, etc.). Survey for occurrences on Long Island.
Collect sufficient quantitative data on the characteristic flora and fauna of freshwater tidal creeks. Research the effects of invasive exotic plants and animals on freshwater tidal creeks.
- Acipenser brevirostrum (Shortnose Sturgeon)
- Bidens bidentoides (Estuary Beggar Ticks)
- Cardamine longii (Long's Bittercress)
- Carex bullata (Button Sedge)
- Eriocaulon parkeri (Estuary Hatpins)
- Kinosternon subrubrum (Eastern Mud Turtle)
- Ligumia nasuta (Eastern Pondmussel)
- Orontium aquaticum (Golden Club)
- Plantago cordata (Heart-leaved Plantain)
- Strongylura marina (Atlantic Needlefish)