Concurrent Session: Effective wetland restoration & mgmt techniques
1:30 PM - 3:00 PM Wed
Co-authors: Rachel Schultz, State University of New York-Brockport
Title: Assessment of floristic quality, composition, and soil P dynamics in restored and natural SE WI wetlands
Abstract: Past WDNR research has indicated that wetland floristic quality assessment metrics (WFQA; measures of wetland condition) are inversely correlated with the proportion of redox-sensitive soil phosphorus (Fe- and Al- bound; % exchangeable P) when wetlands are grouped by broad cover type (i.e., herbaceous vs. woody). However, no known studies have explored whether this relationship occurs within individual wetland community types or in restored wetland sites in Wisconsin or elsewhere. We surveyed southern sedge meadows (SSM) and emergent marshes (EM) in SE WI within 1) 64 natural wetlands (NW) at varying levels of human disturbance; and 2) 15 restored wetland (RW) sites in the WI Glacial Habitat Restoration Area (GHRA) using the WDNR timed meander survey method. WFQA metrics included cover-weighted and unweighted mean coefficient of conservatism. Surface soils (0-15 cm; per site) were analyzed at NRCS for general physicochemistry, soil test P, and related analytes for estimation of soil P retention metrics (i.e., Phosphorus Sorption Ratio [PSR]). Multivariate analysis indicated RW had lower WFQA than NW, and WFQA was negatively associated with % exchangeable P and Mehlich-3 P for SSM sites. RW were also more associated with invasive graminoids (e.g. Phalaris arundinacea) than were NW. A negative relationship between soil P and WFQA was stronger for organic than mineral soils in SSM; however, EM WFQA was not significantly related to any soil P variables. Restorations with WFQA goals would benefit from soil P and physicochemsitry data to inform design and likely maintenance needs, especially in ag landscapes. NW with low % exchangeable P and low disturbance could be prioritized for ecosystem and watershed protection.
Bio: Aaron Marti is the new WDNR streams biologist for Northcentral WI. He previously served as USDA-NRCS Soil Conservationist for the same area, as well as WDNR's statewide wetland researcher for 7 years. His work focuses on water resources monitoring, assessment, ecology, and protection. He received his bachelor's degree in water resources from UW-Stevens Point and master's degree in biology from Ball State University.