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Wetland Symposium

Water Quality and Wildlife Benefits from a Created Wetland in Southwestern North Dakota


U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MS 39180; U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Waterways Experiment Station, Vicksburg, MS 39180; North Dakota Game and Fish Department, P.O. Box 2476, Williston, ND 58801; U.S. Army Corps Engineers, Lake Sakakawea Area Office, P.O. Box 532, Riverdale, ND 58565

In the winter of 1991-92, the flow Spring Creek, a tributary to Bowman-Haley Reservoir, ND, was diverted through a 8.5 ha created wetland in an effort to improve the quality of water entering the reservoir. In addition to water-quality benefits, the created wetland was designed to maximize shallow-water habitats for use by migratory and breeding waterbirds. In the spring of 1992, data collection was initiated to gather information on waterbird use of Spring Creek as well as the created wetland. Water samples were collected at points upstream from the created wetland as well as at the outlet structure from the wetland to the Spring Creek channel to investigate wetland water-quality functions. Water samples were analyzed for three quality parameters: (1) total suspended solids (TSS), (2) total phosphorous (TP), and (3) total Kjeldahl nitrogen (TKN). The data indicates that TSS was greatly reduced by the created wetland. TSS concentrations declined from a peak of 260 mg/l upstream of the wetland to 30 mg/l at the outlet structure. The wetland functioned to reduce TP from 1.18 mg/l to 0.75 mg/l. The TKN peak was only slightly reduced from 5.2 mg/l to 4.6 mg/l. Waterbird surveys indicate that the created wetland provided pair habitat for at least 14 pairs of ducks, and brood-rearing habitat for at least 5 duck broods. In comparison, a 2-km segment of Spring Creek immediately upstream from the created wetland provided habitat for only 5 pairs of ducks, and no broods. The created wetland also provided habitat for large numbers of shorebirds during both spring and fall migration. Preliminary data shows that the Spring Creek created wetland improves downstream water-quality. It also provides adequate pair and brood-rearing habitat for waterfowl, as well as other resources for migratory shorebirds. Monitoring efforts will continue through 1993 and 1994.

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