We examined the effects of irrigation on 4 moist-soil plants commonly managed for waterfowl in the Sacramento Valley, California. Irrigation resulted in taller and heavier swamp timothy (Heleochloa schoenoides), pricklegrass (Crypsis niliaca), and sprangletop (Leptochloa fasicularis). Barnyardgrass (Echinochloa crusgalli) grew taller in irrigated wetlands, but no significant difference in weight was detected. Only sprangletop yielded larger seed masses in response to irrigation. Without irrigation, swamp timothy and pricklegrass assumed a typical prostrate growth form, but with irrigation, they assumed a vertical growth form. Irrigation did not significantly affect plant density. Because of rising water costs, wetland managers should consider wildlife management objectives and plant responses before implementing irrigation practices.
Additional publication details
Effects of irrigation on seed production and vegetative characteristics of four moist-soil plants on impounded wetlands in California