Study

Marsh community development in a central Florida phosphate surface-mined reclaimed wetland

  • Published source details Erwin K.L. & Ronnie B.G. (1985) Marsh community development in a central Florida phosphate surface-mined reclaimed wetland. Wetlands, 5, 155-166.

Actions

This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Reprofile/relandscape: freshwater marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation

Raise water level to restore/create freshwater marshes from other land uses

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation

Transplant or replace wetland soil: freshwater marshes

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Reprofile/relandscape: freshwater marshes

    A study in 1982–1984 aiming to create a freshwater marsh on formerly mined land in Florida, USA (Erwin & Best 1985) reported that reprofiling (along with raising the water table) allowed marsh vegetation to develop within three months. Three months after intervention, 16 plant species were present with 33% total vegetation cover. After two years, 26 plant species were present with 75% total vegetation cover. During the second year after creation, the most abundant plant species were broadleaf cattail Typha latifolia (17–60% cover) and water pennywort Hydrocotyle sp. (17–35% cover). Methods: The study aimed to create a marsh on surface-mined land (historically a mix of forest and rangeland). In the early 1980s, a surface-mined area was landscaped to a gentle slope with shallow depressions. The water table was also raised by building a levee downslope. The study does not distinguish between the effects of these interventions. Some ponds were dug, but no wetland soil was added to this area. Interventions were completed in May 1982. Between autumn 1982 and summer 1984, the cover of every plant species was recorded along three randomly placed permanent transects (crossing zones of emergent and floating/submerged vegetation).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

  2. Raise water level to restore/create freshwater marshes from other land uses

    A study in 1982–1984 aiming to create a freshwater marsh on formerly mined land in Florida, USA (Erwin & Best 1985) reported that building a levee to raise the water table (along with reprofiling) allowed marsh vegetation to develop within three months. Three months after intervention, 16 plant species were present with 33% total vegetation cover. After two years, 26 plant species were present with 75% total vegetation cover. During the second year after creation, the most abundant plant species were broadleaf cattail Typha latifolia (17–60% cover) and water pennywort Hydrocotyle sp. (17–35% cover). Methods: The study aimed to create a marsh on surface-mined land (historically a mix of forest and rangeland). In the early 1980s, the water table was raised by building a levee downslope. The area was also landscaped to a gentle slope with shallow depressions. The study does not distinguish between the effects of these interventions. Some ponds were also dug, but no wetland soil was added to this area. The interventions were completed by May 1982. Between autumn 1982 and summer 1984, the cover of every plant species was recorded along three randomly placed permanent transects (crossing zones of emergent and floating/submerged vegetation).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

  3. Transplant or replace wetland soil: freshwater marshes

    A controlled study in 1982–1984 in a marsh undergoing restoration in Florida, USA (Erwin & Best 1985) reported that an area amended with wetland soil typically had higher plant species richness and total vegetation cover than an unamended area, and that the areas were dominated by different plant species. Statistical significance was not assessed. Over two years, more plant species were recorded in the amended area than the unamended area in six of six comparisons (amended: 34–48 species/392 m; unamended: 14–30 species/276 m; note different transect lengths). Total vegetation cover was higher in the amended area in four of six comparisons (for which amended: 84–105%; unamended: 33–62%; other comparisons lower in amended area). From the second year after intervention, pickerelweed Pontederia cordata dominated the amended marsh (32–64% cover) but broadleaf cattail Typha latifolia was typically the most abundant species in the unamended marsh (17–60% cover). Methods: The study site was a surface-mined marsh undergoing restoration through rewetting, reprofiling and pool excavation. Part of the site was topped with a 2–10 cm layer of soil from a nearby wetland. Restoration was completed in May 1982. Between autumn 1982 and summer 1984, plant species and their cover were recorded along transects (crossing zones of emergent and floating/submerged vegetation, but otherwise randomly placed). There were three transects (total length 392 m) in the amended part of the site and three (total length 276 m) in the unamended part.

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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