Conservation and Management
Inland salt ponds are threatened by development and its associated run-off (e.g., agriculture, residential, commercial, roads), habitat alteration (e.g., pollution, dumping, utility ROWs), and recreational overuse (e.g., trampling, fishing?). Alteration to the natural hydrological regime is also a threat to this community (e.g., impoundments, ditching, beaver?). Inland salt marshes are threatened by invasive species, such as reed grass (Phragmites australis) and purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria).
Conservation Strategies and Management Practices
Where practical, establish and maintain a natural buffer to reduce storm-water, pollution, and nutrient run-off, while simultaneously capturing sediments before they reach the pond. Buffer width should take into account the erodibility of the surrounding soils, slope steepness, and current land use. Wetlands protected under Article 24 are known as New York State "regulated" wetlands. The regulated area includes the wetlands themselves, as well as a protective buffer or "adjacent area" extending 100 feet landward of the wetland boundary (NYS DEC 1995). If possible, minimize the number and size of impervious surfaces in the surrounding landscape. Avoid habitat alteration within the pond and surrounding landscape. For example, roads and trails should be routed around ponds, and ideally not pass through the buffer area. If the pond must be crossed, then bridges and boardwalks are preferred over filling. Restore past impacts, such as removing obsolete impoundments and ditches in order to restore the natural hydrology. Prevent the spread of invasive exotic species into the pond through appropriate direct management, and by minimizing potential dispersal corridors, such as roads.
Development and Mitigation Considerations
When considering road construction and other development activities, minimize actions that will change what water carries and how water travels to and from this community, both on the surface and underground. Water traveling over-the-ground as runoff usually carries an abundance of silt, clay, and other particulates during (and often after) a construction project. While still suspended in the water, these particulates make it difficult for aquatic animals to find food; after settling to the bottom of the system, they bury small plants and animals and alter the natural functions of the community in many other ways. Thus, road construction and development activities near this community type should strive to minimize particulate-laden run-off into this community. Water traveling on the ground or seeping through the ground also carries dissolved minerals and chemicals. Road salt, for example, is becoming an increasing problem both to natural communities and as a contaminant in household wells. Fertilizers, detergents, and other chemicals that increase the nutrient levels in wetlands cause algal blooms and eventually an oxygen-depleted environment in which few animals can live. Herbicides and pesticides often travel far from where they are applied and have lasting effects on the quality of the natural community. So, road construction and other development activities should strive to consider how water moves through the ground, the types of dissolved substances these development activities may release, and how to minimize the potential for these dissolved substances to reach this natural community.
Search for historical sites, possibly needs some de novo work. Survey the aquatic community and determine which fish and invertebrates are present.
There is a need for research focusing on identifying and compiling information on previously known and suspected locations of inland salt ponds. Research is also needed to understand both the historical range of variation in water level fluctuations from year to year and how the composition and abundance of characteristic species (including fauna) in the ponds.
- Diplachne fusca ssp. fascicularis (Salt-meadow Grass)