State Wildlife Grant - T-27-HM

Project Title

Removing Sedimentation as a Technique for Restoring Palustrine Seasonal and Temporary Wetlands in the Northeast Drift Prairie of North Dakota

Target Species

All wetland associated species

Timeline

July 2008 – Dec. 2010

Investigators

Mark Fisher, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Description

The Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of North Dakota is a characterized by a mosaic of small (<.01 ha.) to large (>30 ha.) wetlands in either a grassland or cropland dominated landscape. Conversion of grassland to cropland and drainage of wetlands across the entire PPR has resulted in wetland loss of up to 90% in some areas. To magnify the “dysfunction” of many Palustrine wetlands in the northeastern region, hybridization of invasive narrow-leaved cattails with the native broad-leaved (common) cattail has evolved the hybrid cattail. The hybrid cattail is ideally suited for the shallow water wetlands commonly found in the PPR in the northern Great Plains. Hybrid cattail expansion, first recognized during the mid 1950’s, is a symptom of the problem of excessive sedimentation of PPR wetlands. The unfortunate result is entire palustrine emergent temporary, seasonal and semi-permanent wetlands can become dominated by this invader. The ultimate goal of this project is to provide improved habitat conditions for wildlife species listed in the SoCP predicated upon the following objectives; 1) to identify and restore at least 50 “cattail choked/sediment impacted” wetland basins totaling 30 surface acres on Federal, State and/or private lands (CRP primarily) within either the Drift Prairie or Red River Valley Geological areas; 2) to improve hydrophytic diversity from low diverse stands of cattails to diverse assemblages of hydrophytes that naturally occur(ed) in prairie pothole wetlands; 3) to measure these changes annually on 10 randomly selected restored wetland basins; 4) ultimately assess project success or failure based upon hydrophytic responses as measured in objective 3.