Creating riverine wetlands: Indicators of ecological succession, nutrient retention, and pulsing effects.
Mitsch, William*,1, Zhang, Li1, Anderson, Christopher1, Altor, Anne1, Hernandez, Maria1, 1 The Ohio State Univeristy, Columbus, Ohio, USA
ABSTRACT- Successional patterns, water quality changes, and effects of hydrologic pulsing are documented for a whole-ecosystem experiment involing two created wetlands that have been subjected to continuous inflow of pumped river water for more than 10 years. At the beginning of the growing season in the first year of the experiment (1994), 2400 individuals representing 13 macrophyte species were introduced to one of the wetland basins. The other basin was an unplanted control. Patterns of succession are illustrated by macrophyte community diversity and net aboveground primary productivity (NAPP), soil development, water quality changes, and nutrient retention for the two basins. The planted wetland continued to be more diverse in plant cover 10 years after planting and the unplanted wetland appeared to be more productive but more susceptible to stress. Soil color and organic content continued to change after wetland creation and wetlands had robust features of hydric soils within a few years of flooding. Organic matter content in surface soils in the wetlands increased by approximately 1% per 3 year period. Plant diversity and species differences led to some differences in the basins in macrophyte productivity, carbon sequestration, water quality changes and nutrient retention. The wetlands continued to retain nitrate-nitrogen and soluble reactive phosphorus ten years after their creation. There are some signs that sediment and total phosphorus retention are diminishing after 10 years of river flow. Results from a flood pulsing experiment in the two basins in 2003-04 are described for water quality, nutrient retention, NAPP, and methane and nitrous oxide gaseous fluxes.
Key words: wetland restoration, wetland succession, Olentangy River Wetland Research Park
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