Comparative Strategies for Accelerated Wetland Restoration on Agricultural Land
An initial comparison of two planting and management treatments on isolated agricultural wetlands has shown planted and seeded wetland cells to have greater native plant species richness and diversity than their unplanted counterparts. General overall plant cover is not statistically different between planted and unplanted treatments after two years, though vegetative expansion by introduced species in planted wetlands is resulting in greater average covers in the second year and a much more noticeable expansion of vegetation into the deeper waters of planted wetlands. The effect of continued initial management for invasive species across all treatments has stunted the establishment of Typha species in both planted and unplanted wetlands, resulting in considerably smaller amounts of Typha species cover than other past wetland construction projects in Ohio. However, abundant Phalaris arundinacea in the local landscape and adjacent to the wetland cells has proved to be considerably harder to control. Continued studies will observe the effects of this early native favoritism on future plant community development and nutrient retention, and the ability of introduced species and initial treatment efficiencies to persist in the absence of continued invasive species management.
1) To have wetland website up and running by spring of 2005
2) To have second year plant community surveys of each cell completed and the data processed by fall of 2005
3) To implement the additional planting and seeding in the “intensive planting” wetland cells.
4) Completion of and successful defense of Master’s Thesis by Joshua Smith in the winter of 2005
March 2005 — A publication of the proceedings from the 2004 Ohio Invasive Plant Research Conference included a five page article regarding our experimental design, project goals, etc. from poster presentation given in early 2004.
April 2005 — Water levels in each wetland were adjusted to maintain consistency across all wetlands regarding water levels.
May 2005 — Invasive species management resumed
June 2005 — Wetland website created.
Early August 2005 — Plant community sampling for the second growing season took place.
Late August 2005 — Supplemental planting and seeding took place for the “intensive planting” treatment.
Impacts and Contributions/Outcomes
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) Insight into the costs and benefits associated with wetland restoration on agricultural lands 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. Degree acheivement was postponed until next year (2006) due to personal events that warranted the delay.
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