Webb, Frederick J., Jr. (ed.) / Proceedings of the Nineteenth Annual Conference on Wetlands Restoration and Creation : May 14-15, 1992
Patrick, Sandra L.
Monitoring at Hookers Prairie reclamation site, pp. 121-144 PDF (10.0 MB)
The herbaceous vegetation appears to be close to meeting FDER permit criteria for successful reclamation for this site. Wetland species are reproducing in all systems, and wetland species cover already exceeds requirements in the marsh system. Wetland species cover is approaching the required level in the other systems, and diversity nearly meets, or exceeds, the standard in the forest and stream systems. Cover of the nuisance species, cattail and primrose willow, was 1.2%, 5.6%, and 2.8%, respectively in the three systems. However, these species accounted fo less than 9% of dominance in any system. Evidence of cattail decline due to herbicide application was present in many areas of the wetland. Survival of planted trees continued to be rather low. After the second year, less than 20% of the trees have survived in either the forested or stream systems. Second-year mortality was rather high in blackgum, but low in red maple and pop ash. Pop ash and red maple also appeared to have the most consistent growth increases. Tree cover of planted species showed a slight increase in the stream system, but decreased in the forested system due to tree mortality. Volunteer Carolina willow has become the dominant shrub species in much of the wetland. The growth rate of this species indicates that soil conditions are good in the wetland and that natural succession is possible. The abnormally high water levels during 1991 probably enhanced establishment of the willows and lowered the survival of other woody species. Maintenance of lower water levels in 1992 will favor the growth of the planted woody species and should retard further establishment of willow seedlings, thus creating a favorable balance of woody species in the wetland. This should result in a mix of fast-growing willows which will provide habitat diversity at an early date and of longer-lived hardwoods, which will provide long-term habitat diversity in the created wetland. Water levels appears to have increased substantially over those prevalent during the first year after planting. This apparently has favored the establishment of the herbaceous species, but may have resulted in some mortality of tree seedlings. Wildlife usage of the wetland appears to be strong in a wide variety of types and trophic levels, indicating the development of a balanced functioning ecosystem. Water levels in the future will be controlled within an elevation range from 37 m - 37.3 m (121.5' to 122.5') MSL to ensure that survival of the newly planted tree seedlings is not adversely affected by high water levels. The reconnection of the IMCF Hookers Prairie wetland reclamation site (which was isolated for mining in 1985) is planned for spring of 1992. The reconnection will be accomplished through a series of culverts placed within the berm that currently isolates the reclamation area. The culverts will be equipped with flow control devices to maintain optimum water levels in the mitigation area. After approximately five years, the culverts will be removed and grassed swales will be constructed and contoured to establish permanent connections to the Prairie. The resulting system was designed to promote herbaceous growth, as well as tree survival and growth in a manner similar to that of the pre-existing natural system. 144
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