Benjamin Beas

Ph.D. Candidate, Oklahoma State University

Conference Travel Grant Type 2 (Society of Wetland Scientists)

The effects of sediment-ation and sediment removal on vegetation communities within the Rainwater Basin, NE: implications on the effectiveness of wetland restoration

“Alterations of natural hydrologic regimes from agricultural land use have affected most of the wetlands in the Great Plains. These alterations in hydrology can have a negative effect on the vegetation communities found within these impacted wetlands, often leading to a high percentage of invasive species of special concern to wetland habitat health. We examined the vegetation communities in 36 wetlands, among three treatment groups (reference, restored, and impacted by agriculture) within the Rainwater Basin region of Nebraska. This region is deemed one of the nine areas of critical concern for wetland loss in the United States by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Each wetland was surveyed once a month from June – August 2008. Initial analysis of monthly data has shown significant differences in species richness between reference wetlands and agricultural wetlands, and restored wetlands and agricultural wetlands. Currently, we are analyzing data to determine if there are differences in native vs. invasive species and, facultative vs. obligate species richness and percent cover among the three treatment groups.”