A case study of the effects of wetland restoration on the hydrology, species diversity, species composition and floristic quality of restored wetlands within a Central Florida ranchland, 2003 – ongoing.

Sonnier G., P. J. Bohlen, H. M. Swain, S. L. Orzell, E. L. Bridges, E. H. Boughton. 2018. Environmental Data Initiative. https://doi.org/10.6073/pasta/b745934d136ce9ca8de26c5063eee86a.

We are happy to report that this data package was published with the support of Gabriel Kamener, EDI’s Summer 2018 Fellow with the “Hydrology Monitoring Program” at the Archbold Biological Station (FL). Gabriel’s mentor at ABS is Vivienne Sclater (GIS and Data Manager).

In the USA the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) has restored millions of acres of wetlands through its Wetland Reserve Easement (WRE) programs. However few quantitative studies have explored whether WREs have enhanced wetland hydrology and wetland plant communities. Additionally USDA Compatible Use Permits for cattle grazing and other management practices are sometimes issued for WREs but little is known about potential benefits/detriments of such practice on the success of wetland restoration. In this study we tested if hydrological restoration of previously drained species poor pastures increased water depth and hydroperiod. Restoration involved plugging key ditches adding water control structures and a berm. We also tested if hydrological restoration increased plant diversity (alpha and beta) floristic quality (using coefficient of conservatism) and increased the cover of wetland species (using species wetland status). Finally we tested if cattle grazing had an effect on the success of restoration by comparing grazed plots to fenced plots. We studied two conservation easements (a total of 748 acres) located on semi-native pastures in central Florida USA. We monitored vegetation using permanent transects stratified by vegetation type before (2004-2005) and after (2012) the restoration (2008). We assessed wetland hydroperiod using groundwater wells set up in 2003 and located within and outside the boundaries of these two easements.

central_florida_ranchland_2
Hydrological restoration in a conservation easement within a Central Florida ranchland.

Related article

Sonnier G, Bohlen PJ, Swain HM, Orzell SL, Bridges EL, Boughton EH (2018) Assessing the success of hydrological restoration in two conservation easements within Central Florida ranchland. PLoS ONE 13(7): e0199333. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0199333

Recommended citation for this data package

Sonnier G., P. J. Bohlen, H. M. Swain, S. L. Orzell, E. L. Bridges, E. H. Boughton. 2018. A case study of the effects of wetland restoration on the hydrology, species diversity, species composition and floristic quality of restored wetlands within a Central Florida ranchland, 2003 – ongoing. Environmental Data Initiative. https://doi.org/10.6073/pasta/b745934d136ce9ca8de26c5063eee86a.

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