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Evaluation of Restored Wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region of the United States

Work Unit Study Proposal

Study Plan: 168.01

Principal Investigators

Ned H. Euliss, Jr. and Robert A. Gleason

U.S. Geological Survey
Biological Resources Division
Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
8711 37th Street Southeast
Jamestown, ND 58401


In 1995, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) developed a Concept Plan outlining the scope of work for a major evaluation of restored wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR) of the United States. The Concept Plan highlighted the need to evaluate restored wetlands and described a collaborative research design that would involve numerous state, federal, and private resource agencies. The overall goal of the research was to evaluate wetlands restored on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and similar areas of seeded grasslands relative to their natural analogues and the goals of agencies such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS), U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (USBR), U.S. Department of Agriculture's (USDA) Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), state conservation agencies, and private organizations such as Ducks Unlimited (DU). The Concept Plan called for a one-time extensive survey of a large sample of restored wetlands coupled with more intensive studies of longer duration and conducted on subsets of wetlands sampled during the extensive survey. The extensive survey would be conducted by NPWRC and would focus on measuring variables to characterize the outcome of previously restored wetlands and/or those linkage variables needed by our collaborators to extrapolate their data to the broader region sampled by the extensive survey; linkage variables are defined as variables that provide regional perspectives to site-specific intensive studies. Linkage variables are the primary means by which independent investigators will be linked together in this overall collaborative effort and will be the major service provided by NPWRC to our collaborators. Intensive studies will be conducted by NPWRC and various collaborators on more narrowly focused research questions. To implement this effort, NPWRC will complete 4 tasks: 1) host research planning meetings and identify collaborators, research needs, and support; 2) develop a detailed study plan for the extensive survey; 3) define study wetlands; and 4) produce final comprehensive reports. This study plan, will complete task 2 by describing the technical details of the extensive survey. Currently, NPWRC is working with NRCS, FWS, and others to define the population of restored wetlands in the PPR of Montana, North and South Dakota, Minnesota, and Iowa to facilitate task 3. This study plan also defines specific responsibilities of NPWRC with respect to time lines and deliverables. The information contained in this study plan reflects input received from our collaborators at research planning meetings, working groups, and correspondences completed already for task 1. At this time we have 24 federal, state and local resource agencies collaborating in this effort (Appendix I) and 23 intensive studies that will be linked with the extensive survey (Appendix II).

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