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Wetland Symposium

Prairie Wetland Restoration and Water Quality Concerns


M. A. JACOBSON, BRENDAN J. CAIN, KEN N. BROOKS, AND JOE MAGNER

University of Minnesota, Department of Forest Resources, 520 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-3898; University of Minnesota, Department of Forest Resources, 520 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-3898; University of Minnesota, Department of Forest Resources, 520 Lafayette Road, St. Paul, MN 55155-3898; Minnesota Pollution Control Association, 115 Green Hall, 1530 North Cleveland Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55108-1030

In the Prairie Pothole Region of Minnesota, many palustrine and riverine wetlands were drained for agricultural purposes. Drainage has altered the natural localized flow systems. Areas that were previously closed prairie potholes now contribute flow, sediment, and solutes to the Minnesota River. Today, the drained potholes and riverine wetlands produce more stormflow, which has accelerated land and water degradation.

The purpose of this study is to determine the effects of a restored wetland on stormflow and associated water quality that flows into the Minnesota River and Big Stone Lake through Meadowbrook Creek of Big Stone County, Minnesota. Meadowbrook Creek, an ephemeral stream, will pass through two restored wetlands. The Steen Wetland (16 ha), restored in 1988, is managed by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources. The Redfield Wetland (6 ha), to be restored in 1993, will be managed by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Water samples for storm events have been collected since March 1992 at two sites, the inflow of the proposed Redfield Wetland and the outflow of the Steen Wetland. Water levels were recorded continuously and samples taken to determine total phosphorus, soluble reactive phosphorus, ammonium nitrogen, nitrate, nitrite, Kjeldahl nitrogen, and total suspended solids (TSS). After one year of study, the current creek and Steen Wetland configuration show considerable attenuation in TSS and nitrate.

This research is supported in part by the Minnesota Agricultural Experiment Station, Upper Minnesota River Watershed District, Minnesota Pollution Control Agency, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.


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