Monitored bog at Mille Lacs Kathio State Park.
Effective wetland management and restoration requires a fundamental understanding of the frequency, timing, duration, and depth of water level fluctuations in different types of wetlands -- the hydrologic regime. Wetlands depend on surface and groundwater that can be affected by Minnesota’s water appropriations (MN DNR Groundwater Thresholds Project). The hydrology of lakes, streams and groundwater has been systematically monitored for decades, yet there have been few comprehensive programs to monitor wetland hydrology. To address this lack of foundational data, we are building a network of 60 reference (minimally disturbed) wetland sites across Minnesota to monitor hydrology. Data collected from the network will be used to develop “target hydrographs”, illustrating normal, infrequent, and rare water levels for a given wetland type.
Sites will span the ecological provinces of Minnesota as well as common wetland types, including deep marsh, shallow marsh, fen, wet meadow, forested/shrub swamp, bog, and forested/shrub floodplain. Sites are located on public land, have limited impacts on their hydrology and have relatively high-quality plant communities.
We are collecting hydrology data using shallow wells. Inside the wells are transducers that record water elevation every 15 minutes. We download the data twice per year. We have also conducted vegetation surveys at the first 20 sites.
We currently have 25 sites at 18 land management units.
Monitoring well at Lake Maria State Park.
Funding for this project was provided by Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Grant CD-00E02438 and the Minnesota Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).