• Follow-Up Vegetation and Avifaunal Surveys on Wetlands Restored through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Partners for Wildlife Program

      Norment, Christopher; Robinson, Judy A.; The College at Brockport (2000-07-01)
      There is a paucity of long-term, longitudinal follow-up studies for restored inland freshwater marshes, however, such monitoring is important if researchers are to evaluate the “success" of restoration efforts. This study conducted vegetation, avifauna and amphibian surveys in the 6th and 7th years after restoration on 13 small (< 1.50 ha) wetlands in Jefferson County, New York State. Results of vegetation surveys indicate that the average number of wetland plant species and the average number of wetland plant species were higher in 1994 than in 1997 or 1998 at all elevations (-30 cm, -20 cm, -10 cm, 0 cm, +10 cm), while the percentage of wetland plant species in the total plant community tended to increase from 1994 to 1998 at all elevations. As the average number of species at each elevation decreased, the percent of surviving species represented by wetland plants increased. Between 1994 and 1998, wetland index (WI) values tended to decrease both among restorations and within sites, suggesting a trend toward increased wetland status. Between 1994 and 1998, the only significant difference in bird species richness within habitat preference groups (OBL=obligate, FACW=facultative wetland, FAC=facultative, UPL=upland) was a decrease in the average number of FAC species. Species richness tended to be highest in UPL and OBL habitat preference groups; however, in 1994 and 1997, the combined species richness of wetland birds (OBL + FACW) tended to be higher in the average number of species and percent species representation of the avifauna community. When wetland habitat preference groups (OBL + FACW) were combined, they tended to be dominant in the average number of individuals and percent individual representation in all years. Regression analyses suggest that in 1997, a drought year, these restorations became more important as wildlife refugia. The researcher concludes that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has "succeeded" in its efforts to enhance wildlife habitat on the 13 restored wetlands in this study.