Characteristics of recently restored wetlands in the prairie pothole region

  • Published source details Galatowitsch S.M. & van d.V.A.G. (1996) Characteristics of recently restored wetlands in the prairie pothole region. Wetlands, 16, 75-83.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

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

Action Link
Marsh and Swamp Conservation
  1. Raise water level to restore/create freshwater marshes from other land uses

    A replicated study in 1989–1991 of 22 prairie pothole marshes in the Midwest USA (Galatowitsch & van der Valk 1996a) reported that most restored potholes (rewetted and planted with cover crops) developed some characteristic wetland plant zones within three years. Natural prairie potholes have zones of plant communities, characteristic of different water levels. Of 22 potholes studied three years after restoration, 18 had developed at least one characteristic pothole vegetation zone. Sixteen had a deep water zone with submerged vegetation. Thirteen had an emergent vegetation zone. Two had a sedge meadow zone. None had a wet prairie zone. Methods: In 1989–1991, cover of every plant species was estimated in 22 potholes and used to identify vegetation zones. All potholes had been historically drained and cultivated, but restored in 1987–1989 by rewetting (blocking/removing drainage structures and building water-retaining dikes where necessary) and sometimes planting cover crops. Note that the study evaluates the combined effect of these interventions in some potholes. All potholes had flooded in three consecutive years when surveyed. This study used a subset of the restored potholes from (4) – but not clearly the same 22 potholes as (5).

    (Summarised by: Nigel Taylor)

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