6 Steps To Wetland Prairie Restoration
A successful wetland prairie restoration project involves a series of basic steps that should be followed to ensure the restoration site is appropriate and well understood and so that a diverse native ecosystem can be established and maintained over time. As is true with the management of any natural area, an adaptive management approach is recommended so that emerging threats can be identified and addressed. The six-step process listed below is recommended to ensure a successful wetland prairie restoration project.
Site SelectionSelecting a site that possesses appropriate soil types and hydrology along with consideration of the size and geographic context are critical evaluation factors for identifying sites that are likely to support a high quality wetland prairie ecosystem. Soils: Hydric soils must be present (NRCS classification for wetland soil types). Hydrology: Suitable wetland prairie hydrology should exist or have potential to be reestablished through removal of agricultural drainage features. Soils must be saturated or have shallow inundation during the wet season and become dry during the summer and early fall. Historic Condition: Evidence that the site supported a prairie ecosystem in the past should be established through interpretation of historic vegetation maps or historic aerial photos. Size: Wetland prairie restoration may occur on a site of any size, but larger sites tend to have higher potential for supporting a diverse native ecosystem and are less prone to invasion by non-native vegetation (lower edge to area ratio). Larger sites generally produce higher quality results, benefit from economies of scale, and are easier to manage over the long term. Proximity: Sites that are situated in close proximity to other natural areas or pro- vide critical connectivity are preferred. The Oregon Conservation Strategy (ODFW, 2006) and Willamette Synthesis Project (TNC, ongoing) provide direction toward selecting sites that provide strategic connectivity and support larger regional conservation goals.
- Non-saturated soil (often not a wetland)
- Saturated soils, not inundated (no standing water above the soil surface)
- Inundated areas (up to 2 inches of standing water)
- Pools (2 to 6 inches of standing water)
- Persistent pools (>6 inches of standing water)
- Ditch or swale
- Direction of flow (for ditches, swales, and general direction of sheet flow)
A detailed description of Site Preparation Techniques and Recommended Approaches can be found in Chapter 4 of the guide (see left sidebar for link).
A detailed description of Plant Establishment Techniques and Recommended Approaches can be found in Chapter 5 of the guide (see left sidebar for link).
A detailed description of Long Term Management Techniques and Recommended Approaches can be found in Chapter 6 in the guide (see left sidebar for link).