Indicators of wetland condition for the Prairie Pothole Region of the United States

Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
By: , and 



We describe a study designed to evaluate the performance ofwetland condition indicators of the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR)of the north central United States. Basin and landscape scaleindicators were tested in 1992 and 1993 to determine theirability to discriminate between the influences of grasslanddominated and cropland dominated landscapes in the PPR. Pairedplots were selected from each of the major regions of the PPR.Among the landscape scale indicators tested, those most capableof distinguishing between the two landscapes were: 1) frequencyof drained wetland basins, 2) total length of drainage ditch perplot, 3) amount of exposed soil in the upland subject to erosion,4) indices of change in area of wetland covered by water, and5) number of breeding duck pairs. Basin scale indicators includingsoil phosphorus concentrations and invertebrate taxa richnessshowed some promise; however, plant species richness was the onlystatistically significant basin scale indicator distinguishinggrassland dominated from cropland dominated landscapes. Althoughour study found a number of promising candidate indicators, oneof our conclusions is that basin scale indicators present anumber of implementation problems, including: skill levelrequirements, site access denials, and recession of site accessby landowners. Alternatively, we suggest that the use oflandscape indicators based on remote sensing can be an effectivemeans of assessing wetland integrity.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Indicators of wetland condition for the Prairie Pothole Region of the United States
Series title Environmental Monitoring and Assessment
DOI 10.1023/A:1019982818231
Volume 78
Issue 3
Year Published 2002
Language English
Publisher Springer
Contributing office(s) Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Patuxent Wildlife Research Center
Description 24 p.
First page 229
Last page 252
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