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Wetland Symposium

Dynamics of a Prairie Wetland Complex


GEORGE A. SWANSON, NED H. EULISS, JR., AND BRUCE A. HANSON

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center, Route 1, Box 96C, Jamestown, ND 58401-9736

An interdisciplinary, cooperative study was initiated in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologists and U.S. Geological Survey hydrologists to define the hydrology of a prairie wetland complex, the role that hydrology plays in influencing wetland chemistry, and the combined influence of hydrology and chemistry on wetland macroinvertebrate and hydrophyte communities. Wetland communities were determined by the position that each wetland basin occupied within the landscape with respect to elevation and the associated ground-water gradients that controlled dissolved salt concentrations. Wetland communities occupying basins located along hydrologic gradients were further modified by annual fluctuations in water level and dissolved salts that established and maintained vegetative zones and by long-term trends in climatic conditions that cycled semipermanent wetlands.


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