Webb, Frederick J., Jr. (ed.) / Proceedings of the Fourteenth Annual Conference on Wetlands Restoration and Creation : May 14-15, 1987
Reed, Robert B.; Willard, Daniel E.
Wetland evolution in midwestern reservoirs, pp. 167-179 PDF (4.8 MB)
WETLAND EVOLUTION IN MIDWESTERN RESERVOIRS Robert B. Reed and Daniel E. Willard School of Public and Environmental Affairs Indiana University Bloomington, Indiana ABSTRACT Hundreds of reservoirs dot the midwestern landscape. Although most are less than fifty years old, many have extensive wetland systems. Builders, however, frequently plan to develop the shorelines of these impoundments for homesites and often include wetlands areas in their plans. When development activities affect wetlands, public interest might profit from carefully conceived plans which include mitigation and preservation. To develop such plans, we must first understand what kinds of wetlands are best suited and, therefore, best to create for the reservoir systems with which we work. To that end, we have studied the natural establishment of wetlands in recently impounded reservoirs, their changes over time and the rate at which those changes have occurred. Observations suggest that wetlands establish quickly and spread continually in these systems. Our research focuses on four central and southern Indiana reser- voirs: Geist Reservoir, Morse Reservoir, Monroe Reservoir, and Patoka Reservoir, with varying ages: 44 years, 31 years, 22 years, and 9 years, respectively. The wetland vegetation at each location currently ranges between predominately herbaceous, both persistent and nonper- sistent, deciduous shrub, and deciduous forest. Most of the informa- tion used to track the evolution of these wetlands came from historical records, principally aerial photographs, supplemented by site inspec- tions to verify boundaries and check present conditions. INTRODUCTION Indiana has lost 80% of its historic wetlands, and most of those remaining are degraded (personal communication, Indiana Department of Natural Resources). The state's many reservoirs, however, provide areas where wetlands are expanding and serving as increasingly valuable fish and wildlife habitat. Yet, despite their apparent worth, reser- voir wetlands face pressure from real estate developers who attempt to take advantage of high land values caused by the limited availability of lakeside property in Indiana. *By noting our observations on reservoir wetlands, we hope to assist regulators in understanding the potential value of these areas and help land developers in preparing mitigation proposals that involve 167
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