Comparative Strategies for Accelerated Wetland Restoration on Agricultural Land

2004 Annual Report for GNC03-015

Project Type: Graduate Student
Funds awarded in 2003: $10,000.00
Projected End Date: 12/31/2006
Region: North Central
State: Ohio
Graduate Student:
Faculty Advisor:

Comparative Strategies for Accelerated Wetland Restoration on Agricultural Land


A comparison of three plant community establishment and management treatments for agricultural wetlands has shown planted wetland cells to have a greater plant species richness and diversity than their unplanted counterparts. General overall plant cover does not appear different among planted and unplanted treatments after one year. The effect of continued initial management for invasive and exotic plants across all treatments has stunted initial successes that Phalaris, Phragmites, and Typha species might have otherwise had over natives. We will continue to observe the effects of this early native favoritism on plant community dynamics and nutrient abatement in planted and unplanted cells.

Objectives/Performance Targets

1) Establish six, half-acre, hydrologically independent wetland cells for the research and continued monitoring of wetland restoration on agricultural land by the end of 2003.

2) To complete baseline soil, water, and seedbank sampling of the site by the end of fall 2003.

3) To decide upon the experimental treatments in each wetland cell and to finish the applications of this experimental design (planting/seeding/site preparation) before the winter of 2004.

4) To complete the purchasing and installation of sampling and monitoring equipment by May of 2004.

5) To have the first complete and thorough plant community assessment of each cell completed and the data processed by fall of 2004.

6) To have wetland website up and running by spring of 2005.

7) To have second complete and thorough plant community assessment of each cell completed and the data processed by fall of 2005.

8) Completion of and successful defense of Master’s thesis by Joshua Smith in the winter of 2005.



July of 2003—Wetland basins and control boxes constructed.

October 2003—Wetland basins planted and seeded for first time per experimental design.

April 2004—Wetland basins planted and seeded again per experimental design.

May 2004—The installation of a permanent grid for plant community sampling was completed. Plant community management treatments, weekly water sampling and photographs, and other general monitoring began.

August 2004—Plant community sampling for the first growing season took place.

—To come—

March 2005—A publication of the proceedings from the 2004 Ohio Invasive Plant Research Conference, which will include a five page article regarding our experimental design, project goals, etc. from a poster presentation given in early 2004.

April 2005—Supplemental planting and seeding takes place for second set of planted treatment cells per experimental design.

May 2005—Plant community management treatments, daily water sampling, daily photographs, and general monitoring resume.

June 2005—Website for wetlands is up and running.

August 2005—Plant community sampling for the second growing season will take place.

December 2005—Joshua L. Smith presents and defends thesis at OSU.

Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes

Primary current and future outputs include:

1) Providing for the development and integration of further out-door, hands-on curriculum regarding wetlands, wetland restoration and experimental design at Oberlin College.

2) Providing continued insight into the costs and benefits associated with different wetland restoration techniques on agricultural land and the treatment capabilities potentially contained therein for storm water and nutrient runoff.

3) Development of a publicly accessible website detailing the project and reporting real-time data readings from the field.

4) Oraganized tours for farmers and city officials.

5) A Master’s thesis and refereed publications for OSU graduate student Joshua Smith and faculty collaborators.


Jay Martin
Student Advisor
The Ohio State University
590 Woody Hayes Drive
Columbus, OH 43210
Office Phone: 6142476133
Martin Quigley

Major Professor