The effectiveness of best management practices on non-tidal wetlands

Reid, Addison
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University of Delaware
Wetlands are important in maintaining a healthy, productive environment. These ecosystems provide humans with services such as water filtration, absorption of nutrients, flood prevention, and habitat to many plants and animals. Wetlands work as filters to protect humans from the impacts of pollution and other heavy metals. Since wetlands are a fundamental part of the ecosystem, monitoring their health is imperative to the life of these habitats. I investigated if three non-tidal wetlands had been restored to original conditions by the implementation of Best Management Practices by Maryland Department of the Environment. The first site (the railroad site) was disturbed by a railroad running adjacent to the wetland, the second site (the rescue squad site) was disturbed by the installation of a gas line, and the third site (the airport site) was disturbed by the installation of a gas line and all terrain vehicle traffic through the site. Using established methods, I surveyed for amphibians once a month from April 2009 to October 2009, I conducted breeding bird surveys three times during June and July 2009, and I surveyed the vegetation at each site during August 2009. I compared the presence of non-native invasive species, bird abundance and richness, and amphibian abundances at each site. Due to the lack of data prior to disturbance, determining the degree of restoration was difficult. Although all sites are still suffering the impacts of the disturbances, the airport site had the greatest degree of restoration compared to the other sites. These results provide an indication of the level of effort that is needed to protect these ecosystems and return them to their original condition in order to provide habitat and services to the environment.