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Full text of "Status and Trends of Wetlands in the Conterminous United States 1998-2004"

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U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service 



tatusanci irenaso 
Wetlands in the Conterminous 
United States 1998 to 2004 



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http://archive.org/details/statustrendsofweOOdahl 



Status and Trends of 
Wetlands in the Conterminous 
United States 1998 to 2004 





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Acknowledgments 



Opposite page: Louisiana, 2005. 



Many agencies, organizations, 
and individuals contributed their 
time, energy, and expertise to the 
completion of this report. The author 
would like to specifically recognize 
the following individuals for their 
contributions. From tho Fish and 
Wildlife Service: 

Dr. Benjamin Tuggle, John Cooper, 
Herb Bergquist, Jim Dick, Jonathan 
Hall 1 , Bill Pearson, Becky Stanley 2 , 
Dr. Mamie Parker, Everett Wilson, 
Jill Parker, Robin Nims Elliott. 
From the U.S. Geological Survey: 
Greg Allord, Dave McCulloch, Mitch 
Bergeson, Jane Harner, 
Liz Ciganovich, Marta Anderson, 
Dick Vraga, Tim Saultz, Mike 
Duncan, Ron Keeler and the 
staff of the Advanced Systems 
Center. From the National Park 
Service-Cumberland Island 
National Seashore: Ginger Cox, 
Ron Crawford and George Lewis. 
From the Interagency Field Team: 
Sally Benjamin, USDA-Farm 
Services Agency; Patricia Delgado, 
NOAA, National Marine Fisheries 
Service; Dr. Jeff Goebel and Daryl 
Lund, USDA-Natural Resources 
Conservation Service; David Olsen, 
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers; and 
Myra Price, U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency. 



Mr. Marvin Hubbell, U.S. Army 
Corps of Engineers, Rock Island, IL; 
Mr. William Knapp, Deputy Science 
Advisor, U.S. Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Arlington, VA; Ms. Janet 
Morlan, Oregon Dept. of State Lands, 
Salem, OR; Dr. N. Scott Urquhart 
Research Scientist, Department of 
Statistics, Colorado State University, 
Fort Collins, CO; Mr. Joel Wagner, 
Hydrologist, National Park Service, 
Denver, CO; Dr. Dennis Whigham, 
Senior Scientist, Smithsonian 
Environmental Research Center, 
Edgewater, MD; Dr. Joy Zedler, 
Professor of Botany and Aldo 
Leopold Chair in Restoration 
Ecology, University of Wisconsin, 
Madison, WI. 

This report is the culmination 
of technical collaboration and 
partnerships. A more complete listing 
of some of the cooperators appears at 
the end of this report. 

Publication design and layout of the 
report were done by the Cartography 
and Publishing Program, U.S. 
Geological Survey, Madison, 
Wisconsin. 

Photographs are by Thomas Dahl 
unless otherwise noted. 



Peer review of the manuscript was 
provided by the following technical 
experts: Ms. Peg Bostwick, Michigan 
Dept. of Environmental Quality, 
Lansing, MI; Dr. Ken Burham, 
Statistician, Department of Fishery 
and Wildlife Biology, Colorado State 
University, Fort Collins, CO; 

1 Retired. 

2 Current affiliation: NOAA, National Marine 
Fisheries Service. 



This report should be cited as follows: 
Dahl, T.E. 2006. Status and trends 

of wetlands in the conterminous 

United States 1998 to 2004. 

U.S. Department of the Interior; 

Fish and Wildlife Service, 

Washington, D.C. 112 pp. 



Previous, title page: Freshwater wetland 
in the southeast U.S., 2005. 




nd other waterfowl congregate in the fresh 
the upper Mississippi River. Photo courtesy of FWS. . 



Funding for this study was 
provided by the following 
agencies: 

Environmental Protection Agency 

Department of Agriculture 

Farm Services Administration 

Natural Resources Conservation Sen/ice 

Department of Commerce 

National Marine Fisheries Service 

Department of the Army 

Army Corps of Engineers 

Department of Interior 

Fish and Wildlife Service 

The Council of Environmental Quality has 
coordinated these interagency efforts. 




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A fres/iuutii< rnerfieiil wetland in Xehruskn. 200.'). 



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Preface 



On Earth Day 2004, President Bush 
unveiled a new policy for our nation's 
wetlands. Moving beyond "no net 
loss" of wetlands, the President 
challenged the nation to increase the 
quantity as well as quality of these 
important resources, and ret a goal 
of restoring, improving and 
protecting more than 3 million 
acres in five years. 

The President recognized that a 
continuous effort to track progress 
toward achieving the various aspects 
of the Administration's new policies 
would be important. The Fish and 
Wildlife Service was in a unique 
position to provide the nation with 
sound scientific information 
assessing trends in the quantity of 
wetland gains and losses. As part of 
that same 2004 Earth Day message, 
the President directed the Service 
to accelerate the completion of this 
study and report the results. 

This is the Administration's report 
to Congress that provides the nation 
with scientific and statistical results 



on progress made toward our 
national wetlands acreage goals. 
I am pleased to report that the 
nation is making excellent progress 
in meeting these wetland goals. For 
the first time net wetland gains, 
achieved through the contributions 
of restoration and creation activities, 
surpassed net wetland losses. 
This is the result of a multitude of 
governmental, corporate and private 
partnerships working together to 
secure and conserve our wetland 
resources for future generations. 

This report does not draw 
conclusions regarding trends in 
the quality of the nation's wetlands. 
The Status and Trends Study collects 
data on wetland acreage gains and 
losses, as it has for the past 50 years. 
However, it is timely to examine 
the quality, function, and condition 
of such wetland acreage. Such an 
examination will be undertaken 
by agencies participating in the 
President's Weilands Initiative. 








<<*»^_ 



Secretary, Department of the Interior 



Conversion Table 



U.S. Customary to Metric 



inches (in.) 


X 


25.40 


inches (in.) 


X 


2.54 


feet (ft) 


X 


0.30 


miles (mi) 


X 


1.61 


autical miles (nmi) 


X 


1.85 


square feet (ft 2 ) 


X 


0.09 


square miles (mi 2 ) 


X 


2.59 


acres (A) 


X 


0.40 



millimeters (mm) 
centimeters (cm) 
meters (m) 
kilometers (km) 
kilometers (km) 

square meters (m 2 ) 
square kilometers (km 2 ) 
hectares (ha) 



Fahrenheit degrees (F) _> 0.556 (F - 32) 



= Celsius degrees (C) 



Metric to U.S. Customary 



millimeters (mm) x 0.04 

centimeters (cm) x 0.39 

meters (m) x 3.28 

kilometers (km) x 0.62 



inches (in.) 
feet (ft) 
feet (ft) 
miles (mi) 



square meters (m 2) x 10.76 
square kilometers (km 2 ) x 0.39 
hectares (ha) x 2.47 



square feet (ft 2 ) 
square miles (mi 2 ) 
acres (A) 



Celsius degrees (C) _> 1.8 (C) + 32) 



Fahrenheit degrees (F) 



General Disclaimer 



The use of trade, product, industry or firm names or products in this report is for informative 
purposes only and does not constitute an endorsement by the U.S. Government or the Fish and 
Wildlife Service. 



Contents 



Preface 7 

Executive Summary 15 

Introduction 19 

Study Design and Procedures 21 

Study Objectives 21 

Sampling Design 24 

Types and Dates of Imagery 26 

Technological Advances 30 

Methods of Data Collection and Image Analysis 30 

Wetland Change Detection 31 

Field Verification 33 

Quality Control 34 

Statistical Analysis 36 

Limitations 37 

Attribution of Wetland Losses 39 

Results and Discussion 43 

Status of the Nation's Wetlands 43 

Attribution of Wetland Gain and Loss 47 

Intertidal Estuarine and Marine Wetland Resources 48 

Marine and Estuarine Beaches, Tidal Bars, Flats and Shoals 50 

Estuarine Emergent Wetlands 52 

Estuarine Shrub Wetlands 55 

Wetland Values for Fish and Wildlife-insert- Wetlands and Fish 57 

Freshwater Wetland Resources 61 

Freshwater Lakes and Reservoirs 78 

Terminology and Tracking Wetland Gains 78 

Wetland Restoration and Creation on Conservation Lands 81 

Wetland Restoration-insert-Restoration on the Upper Mississippi River 82 

Wetland Restoration-insert-Restoring Iowa's Prairie Marshes 85 

Monitoring Wetland Quantity and Quality — Beyond No-Net-Loss 89 

Minnesota's Comprehensive Wetland Assessment and Monitoring Strategy 90 

Summary 93 

References Cited 95 

Acknowledgement of Cooperators 98 

Appendix A: Definitoins of habitat categories used in this study 101 

Appendix B: Hammond (1970) physiographic regions of the United States 105 

Appendix C: Wetland change from 1998 to 2004 106 

Appendix D: Representative Wetland Restoration Programs and Activities 109 

9 



List of Figures 



Figure 1. A cypress (Taxodium distichum) wetland near the White River, Arkansas, 2005 19 

Figure 2. A gallery of wetland images 20 

Figure 3. Open water lakes, such as this reservoir were classified as deepwater habitats 

if they exceeded 20 acres (8 ha). Piney Run Lake, Maryland, 2005 22 

Figure 4. Coastal wetlands offshore from the mainland include salt marsh 

(estuarine emergent) (A), shoals (B), tidal flats (C) and bars 24 

Figure 5. Physiographic subdivisions of North Carolina and sample plot distribution as used 

in this study 25 

Figure 6. High resolution, infrared Ikonos satellite image of bogs (A), lakes (B) and wetlands (C) 

of northern Wisconsin, spring 2005 26 

Figure 7. Early spring 2005 Ikonos satellite image of Michigan. Leaf-off condition 

made recognition of wetland features easier 27 

Figure 8. Mean date of imagery used by state 28 

Figure 9. True color NAIP photographs scale show farmland (A), forest (B), wetlands (C) 

and lakes (D) in Indiana, 2003 29 

Figure 10. A small wetland basin estimated to have been about seven square meters 30 

Figure 11. Change detection involved a comparison of plots at two different times (Tl and T2) 31 

Figure 12. A true color aerial photograph shows a new drainage network 

(indicated by red arrow) and provides visual evidence of wetland loss 32 

Figure 13. Lands in transition from one land use category to another pose unique challenges 

for image analysts 32 

Figure 14. Field verification was completed at sites in the 35 states as shown on the map 33 

Figure 15. Topographic maps in digital raster graphics format were used as auxiliary 

information and for quality control 35 

Figure 16. Digital wetlands status and trends data were viewed combined with contemporary 
georeferenced color infrared imagery of the study areas 35 

Figure 17. The Pacific coastline 37 

Figure 18 A and B. Commercial rice fields where water was pumped to flood the rice crop 38 

Figure 19 A and B. Examples of agricultural land use 39 

Figure 20. Trees planted in rows with uniform crown height (A) and block clear cuts [blue-green 

feature in center (B)] were indicators of managed forest plantations 40 

Figure 21. Urban wetlands (shown as dark blue-black) outside of a shopping mall are 

surrounded by high density urban development. New Jersey, 2003, color infrared photograph 41 

Figure 22. Wetland area compared to the total land area of the conterminous United States, 2004 43 

Figure 23. Salt marsh along the Ecofina River, Florida 45 

Figure 24. Percentage of estimated estuarine and freshwater wetland area and covertypes, 2004 45 

Figure 25. A freshwater wetland in the southeastern United States 2005 46 

Figure 26. Average annual net loss and gain estimates for the conterminous 

United States, 1954 to 2004 46 



10 



Figure 27. Wetlands gained or lost from upland categories and deepwater, 1998 to 2004 47 

Figure 28. Composition of marine and estuarine intertidal wetlands, 2004 48 

Figure 29. Estimated percent loss of intertidal estuarine and marine wetlands to 

deepwater and development, 1998 to 2004 49 

Figure 30. Non-vegetated tidal flats grade into sparsely vegetated beach ridges. These areas 

are important for a variety of birds, sea turtles and other marine life 50 

Figure 31. Intertidal marine beaches provide important habitat for shorebirds 51 

Figure 32. The black necked stilt (Himantopus mexicanus) inhabits mud flats, pools, 

back water beaches and brackish ponds of saltwater marshes among other wetland habitats 51 

Figure 33. New shoals and sand bars are continually forming in shallow water areas. 

This image shows a new feature (brightest white areas) off the coast of Virginia, 2004 51 

Figure 34. High altitude infrared photograph of salt marsh (darker mottles), coastal Georgia, 2004 52 

Figure 35. Estuarine emergent losses as observed in this study along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. 
Inset shows close up of Louisiana where most losses occurred between 1998 and 2004 53 

Figure 36. Pelican Island, Florida, the nation's first National Wildlife Refuge is located in 

the Indian River Lagoon, a biologically diverse estuary of mangrove islands, salt marsh, 

and maritime hammocks 55 

Figure 37 A-C. Long-term trends in A) all intertidal wetlands, B) estuarine vegetated wetlands and 

C) estuarine non-vegetated wetlands, 1950s to 2004 56 

Figure 38. Approximate density and distribution of freshwater wetland acreage gains indentified 

in the samples of this study 62 

Figure 39. A tile drained wetland basin has been restored. Ohio, 2005 62 

Figure 40. Wetland restoration (freshwater emergent) on land previously classified 

as upland "other." 63 

Figure 41. Wetland restoration attributed to agricultural conservation programs in the 

upper midwest, 2004 64 

Figure 42. A restored wetland basin 65 

Figure 43 A and B. Private efforts to restore wetlands also contributed to the national acreage 

base in this study. A) western Minnesota, 2004; B) Stone Lake, 

Wisconsin, 2005 65 

Figure 44. Example of wetland loss. Fill being placed into a wetland pond in Ohio, 2005 66 

Figure 45. An emergent wetland in rural Pennsylvania, 2005, in the process of being filled. 

Both examples in Figures 46 and 47 were attributed to Rural Development 66 

Figure 46. Areas experiencing wetland loss due to development, 1998 to 2004 67 

Figure 47. Development in rapidly growing area of south Florida 68 

Figure 48. Trends in the estimated annual loss rate of freshwater vegetated 

wetland area, 1974 to 2004 69 

Figure 49. A mitigation banking site. As wetlands were converted elsewhere, cells of the 

mitigation bank were flooded to create replacement wetland. 2004 69 

Figure 50. Estimated percent loss of forested wetlands to the various upland land use 

categories between 1998 and 2004 70 

Figure 51. Forested wetland. Alabama, 2005. Photo courtesy of South Dakota State University 70 

Figure 52. A freshwater wetland dominated by the woody shrub False Indigo (Amorphafruticosa) 71 

Figure 53. Long-term trends in freshwater forested and shrub wetlands, 1950s to 2004 71 

11 



Figure 54. This field has been squared off by agricultural drainage (surface ditch indicated 

with red arrow). New Jersey, 2003 72 

Figure 55. Subtle wetland drainage practices in the prairie pothole region of South Dakota 73 

Figure 56. Long-term trends in freshwater emergent wetlands, 1954 to 2004 73 

Figure 57. A freshwater pond in central Kansas is starting to support emergent vegetation, 2005 74 

Figure 58. Number and approximate location of new freshwater ponds 

created between 1998 and 2004 75 

Figure 59. A newly created open water pond as part of a golf course. Maryland, 2005 75 

Figure 62 A-D. Different ponds have been constructed for different purposes throughout 

the United States 76 

Figure 61. Color infrared aerial photograph of new development in south Florida. Ponds and small 
residential lakes (shown as dark blue) are surrounded by new housing 77 

Figure 62. Commercial cranberry operations had created several 

open water ponds (dark blue areas) 77 

Figure 63. Long-term trends in freshwater pond acreage, 1954 to 2004 77 

Figure 64 A and B. Freshwater lakes provide wildlife and fish habitat as well as opportunities for 
recreation and education 78 

Figure 65. Created wetland on an area that was upland (dry land) 79 

Figure 66. A wetland restoration (reestablishment). This former wetland basin had been completely 
drained and reclassified as upland 79 

Figure 67. "Improved" wetland or wetland enhancement — hydrology has been restored to 

an existing albeit degraded wetland 79 

Figure 68 . Wetland protection or preservation — included pre-existing wetland acres either 

owned or leased long-term by a federal agency 79 

Figure 69. A system of federal lands including National Wildlife Refuges and 

Wetland Management Districts are restoring and enhancing wetland acres 81 



List of Tables 



Table 1. Wetland, deepwater, and upland categories used to conduct 

wetland status and trends studies 23 

Table 2. Change in wetland area for selected wetland and deepwater categories, 1998 to 2004 44 

Table 3. Changes to estuarine and marine wetlands, 1998 to 2004 49 

Table 4. Contrasting different estimates of wetland loss in Louisiana 54 

Table 5. Changes in freshwater wetland area between 1998 and 2004 61 

Table 6. Contrasting the Fish and Wildlife Service's Wetlands Status and Trends with the Council on 
Environmental Quality report (2005) on federal efforts to track wetland gains 80 

Opposite page: Freshwater wetlands of the Yosemite Valley, California. 
12 



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Executive Summary 



A freshwater forested wetland of the 
Great Lakes region, 2005. 



For over half a century the Fish 
and Wildlife Service has been 
monitoring wetland trends of the 
nation. In 1956, the first report on 
wetland status and classification 
provided indications that wetland 
habitat for migratory waterfowl had 
experienced substantial declines 
(Shaw and Fredine 1956). 

Over the intervening 51 years, 
the Fish and Wildlife Service has 
implemented a scientifically based 
process to periodically measure 
wetland status and trends in the 
conterminous United States. The 
Fish and Wildlife Service's Wetlands 
Status and Trends study was 
developed specifically for monitoring 
the nation's wetland area using a 
single, consistent definition and 
study protocol. The Fish and Wildlife 
Service has specialized knowledge 
of wetland habitats, classification, 
and ecological changes and has used 
that capability to conduct a series 
of wetland monitoring studies that 
document the status and trends of 
our nation's wetlands. This report is 
the latest in that series of scientific 
studies. 

Data collected for the 1998 to 2004 
Status and Trends Report has led to 
the conclusion that for the first time 
net wetland gains, acquired through 
the contributions of restoration and 
creation activities, surpassed net 
wetland losses. There was a net gain 
of 191,750 wetland acres (77,630 
ha) nationwide which equates to an 
average annual net gain of 32,000 
acres (12,900 ha). 

The efforts to monitor wetland 
status and trends that are described 
in this report have been enhanced 
by the multi-agency involvement in 
the study's design, data collection, 
verification, and peer review of the 
findings. Interagency funding was 
essential to the successful and timely 
completion of the study. 



The first statistical wetlands status 
and trends report (Frayer et al. 
1983) estimated the rate of wetland 
loss between the mid 1950s and the 
mid 1970s at 458,000 acres (185,400 
ha) per year. There have been 
dramatic changes since that era 
when wetlands were largely thought 
of as a hindrance to development. 
The first indications of those 
changes came from the Fish and 
Wildlife Service's updated status 
and trends report (Dahl and Johnson 
1991) covering the mid 1970s to the 
mid 1980s. The estimated rate of 
wetland loss had declined to 290,000 
acres (117,400 ha) per year. 

In 2000, the Fish and Wildlife 
Service produced the third 
national status and trends report 
documenting changes that occurred 
between 1986 and 1997. Findings 
from that report indicated the 
annual loss rate was 58,500 acres 
(23,700 ha), an eighty percent 
reduction in the average annual rate 
of wetland loss. 

On Earth Day 2004, President Bush 
announced a wetlands initiative that 
established a federal policy beyond 
"no net loss" of wetlands. The policy 
seeks to attain an overall increase 
in the quality and quantity of 
wetlands. The President set a goal of 
restoring, improving and protecting 
more than 3 million acres (1.2 
million ha) in five years. To continue 
tracking wetland acreage trends, the 
President further directed the Fish 
and Wildlife Service to complete 
an updated wetlands status and 
trends study in 2005. This latest 
report provides the nation with 
scientific and statistical results on 
the progress that has been made 
toward achieving national wetland 
quantity goals. This report does not 
assess the quality or condition of 
the nation's wetlands. The Status 
and Trends Study collects data on 
wetland acreage gains and losses, 



15 



as it has for the past 50 years. 
However, it is timely to examine 
the quality, function, and condition 
of such wetland acreage. Such an 
examination will be undertaken 
by agencies participating in the 
President's Wetlands Initiative. 

This study measured wetland 
trends in the conterminous United 
States between 1998 and 2004. The 
estimates of estuarine emergent 
area were made prior to Hurricanes 
Katrina and Rita during the summer 
of 2005. The Cowardin et al (1979) 
wetland definition was used to 
describe wetland types. By design, 
intertidal wetlands of the Pacific 
coast, reefs and submerged aquatic 
vegetation were excluded from this 
study. 

An interagency group of statisticians 
developed the design for the national 
status and trends study. The study 
design consisted of 4,682 randomly 
selected sample plots. Each plot is 
four square miles (2,560 acres or 
1,040 ha) in area. These plots were 
examined, with the use of recent 
remotely sensed data in combination 
with field work, to determine 
wetland change. Field verification 
was completed for 1,504 (32 percent) 
of the sample plots distributed in 35 
states. Representatives from four 
states and seven federal agencies 
participated in field reconnaissance 
trips. 

Estimates were made of wetland 
area by wetland type and changes 
over time. 



National Status 
and Trends 

This study found that there were 
an estimated 107.7 million acres 
(43.6 million ha) of wetlands in the 
conterminous United States in 2004. 
Ninety-five percent of the wetlands 
were freshwater wetlands and five 
percent were estuarine or marine 
wetlands. 

In the estuarine system, estuarine 
emergents dominated, making up 
an estimated 73 percent (almost 3.9 



million acres or 1.6 million ha) of 
all estuarine and marine wetlands. 
Estuarine shrub wetlands made 
up 13 percent of the area and non- 
vegetated saltwater wetlands 14 
percent. 

In the freshwater system, forested 
wetlands made up 51 percent of 
the total area, the single largest 
freshwater category. Freshwater 
emergents made up an estimated 
25.5 percent of the total area, shrub 
wetlands 17 percent and freshwater 
ponds 6.5 percent. 

Wetland area increased by an 
average 32,000 acres (12,900 
ha.) annually. The net gain in 
wetland area was attributed to 
wetlands created, enhanced or 
restored through regulatory 
and nonregulatory restoration 
programs. These gains in wetland 
area occurred on active agricultural 
lands, inactive agricultural lands, 
and other lands. Freshwater wetland 
losses to silviculture, urban and 
rural development offset some 
gains. Urban and rural development 
combined accounted for an 
estimated 61 percent of the net 
freshwater wetlands lost between 
1998 and 2004. This study reports 
on changes in wetland acreage and 
does not provide an assessment of 
wetland functions or quality. 

Intertidal 
Estuarine and 
Marine Wetland 
Resources 

Three major categories of estuarine 
and marine wetlands were included 
in this study: estuarine intertidal 
emergents (salt and brackish water 
marshes), estuarine shrub wetlands 
(mangrove swamps) and estuarine 
and marine intertidal non-vegetated 
wetlands. This latter category 
included exposed coastal beaches 
subject to tidal flooding, shallow 
water sand bars, tidal flats, tidally 
exposed shoals, and sand spits. 

In 2004, it was estimated there 
were slightly more than 5.3 



million acres (2.15 million ha) of 
marine and estuarine wetlands in 
the conterminous United States. 
Estuarine emergent wetlands 
declined by 0.9 percent. The average 
annual rate of estuarine emergent 
loss was 5,540 acres (2,240 ha). This 
rate of loss was consistent with the 
rate of salt marsh loss recorded from 
1986 to 1997. Most of the losses of 
estuarine emergent wetland were 
due to loss to deep salt water and 
occurred in coastal Louisiana. One 
or more of several interrelated 
factors may have contributed to 
these losses including: deficiencies 
in sediment deposition, canals and 
artificially created waterways, 
wave erosion, land subsidence, and 
salt water intrusion causing marsh 
disintegration. 

There were an estimated 728,540 
acres (294,960 ha) of intertidal 
non-vegetated wetlands in 2004. 
From 1998 to 2004 marine intertidal 
beaches declined by 1,870 acres 
(760 ha). Intertidal non-vegetated 
wetland changes to urban and other 
forms of upland development were 
statistically insignificant in this 
study. 

There were an estimated 682,200 
acres (276,190 ha) of estuarine shrub 
wetland in 2004. This estimate 
represented a small gain of about 800 
acres (320 ha). The area of estuarine 
shrub wetlands has been steady over 
the past two decades. 



Freshwater 

Wetland 

Resources 

Large shifts between the freshwater 
wetland types and uplands took 
place between 1998 and 2004. 
Freshwater wetland gains resulted 
from restorations and the creation of 
numerous freshwater ponds. 

Agricultural conservation programs 
were responsible for most of 
the gross wetland restoration. 
These gains came from lands in 
"agriculture" category as well 
as from conservation lands in 



16 



the "other" land use category. 
Agricultural programs that 
promoted pond construction 
also contributed to the increased 
freshwater pond acreage. 

Ponds were included as freshwater 
wetlands consistent with the 
Cowardin el at. definition. 
Freshwater pond acreage increased 
by almost 700,000 acres (281,500 ha) 
from 1998 to 2004, a 12.6 percent 
increase in area. This was the 
largest percent increase in area, 
of any wetland type in this study. 
Without the increased pond acreage, 
wetland gains would not have 
surpassed wetland losses during the 
timeframe of this study. The creation 
of artificial freshwater ponds has 
played a major role in achieving 



wetland quantity objectives. 
The replacement of vegetated 
wetland areas with ponds represents 
a change in wetland classification. 
Some freshwater ponds would not be 
expected to provide the same range 
of wetland values and functions as a 
vegetated freshwater wetland. 

Freshwater forested wetlands 
were affected by two processes, 
the conversion of forested wetland 
to and from other wetland types 
through cutting or the maturation of 
trees, and loss of forested wetland 
where wetland hydrology was 
destroyed. Estimates indicated 
that the area of freshwater forested 
wetland increased. Between 1998 
and 2004, forested wetland area 
increased by an estimated 548,200 



acres (221,950 ha). Most of these 
changes came from small trees, 
previously classified as wetland 
shrubs, maturing and being re- 
classified as forest. 

Despite the net gains realized from 
restoration and creation projects, 
human induced wetland losses 
continued to affect the trends of 
freshwater vegetated wetlands — 
especially freshwater emergent 
marshes which declined by an 
estimated 142,570 acres (57,720 
ha). These wetlands are important 
to a number of wildlife species. 
Contributed inserts to the report 
highlight the importance of wetlands 
to fish and wildlife. 




American avocets (Recurvirostra americana) at Bear River; Migratory Bird Refuge, Utah, a river delta wet la ud that attracts 
hundreds of species of waterfowl and. shorebirds. Photo courtesy of the FWS. 



17 





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w ' .1 



Introduction 



Figure 1. A cypress (Taxodium 
distichum) wetland near the White 
River, Arkansas, 2005. 



The mission of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service is to conserve, protect, and 
enhance fish, wildlife, plants, and 
their habitats for the continuing 
benefit of the American people. The 
Fish and Wildlife Service supports 
programs relating to migratory 
birds, endangered species, certain 
marine mammals, inland sport 
fisheries and a system of 545 
national wildlife refuges. The Fish 
and Wildlife Service communicates 
information essential for public 
awareness and understanding 
of the importance of fish and 
wildlife resources and changes in 
environmental conditions that can 
affect the welfare of Americans. 
To this end, the Fish and Wildlife 
Service maintains an active role in 
monitoring wetland habitats of the 
nation. 

The importance of wetlands as fish 
and wildlife habitat has always been 
the primary focus of the Fish and 
Wildlife Service's wetland activities. 
Wetlands are transitional from truly 
aquatic habitats to upland and as a 
result, wetland abundance, type and 
quality are directly reflected in the 
health and abundance of many fish 
and wildlife species. 

The Emergency Wetlands Resources 
Act (Public Law 99-645) requires 
the Fish and Wildlife Service to 
produce national wetlands status 
and trend reports for the Congress 
at ten year intervals. The Fish and 
Wildlife Service has responded to 
this mandate with national wetlands 
status and trends reports in 1983, 
1991 and 2000 (Frayer et al. 1983; 
Tiner 1984; Dahl and Johnson 1991; 
and Dahl 2000). 

These wetland status and trend 
reports have been used by federal, 
state, local and tribal governments 
to develop wetland conservation 
strategies, measure the efficacy 
of existing policies, and validate 
comprehensive performance 
toward halting loss and regaining 
wetlands. Industry, the scientific 
community, conservation groups, 
decision makers and the public value 
this contemporary information for 
planning, decision-making, and on- 
the-ground management. 



Our nation's wetlands goals have 
historically been based on wetland 
acreage and the ability to provide a 
quantitative measure of the extent 
of wetland area as a means to 
measure progress toward achieving 
the national goal of "no net loss." 
This concept was first formulated 
as a national goal by the National 
Wetlands Policy Forum (The 
Conservation Foundation 1988) 
and was later adopted as federal 
policy by President George H W. 
Bush. In an effort to monitor the 
status and trends in the quantity 
and type of our nation's wetlands, a 
series of Fish and Wildlife Service 
reports have documented a steadily 
declining wetland loss rate. From 
the mid 1950s to the mid 1970s, the 
nation lost about 458,000 wetland 
acres annually. This rate of loss 
was substantially reduced to about 
59,000 acres annually by 1997. 

On Earth Day 2004, President 
George W Bush announced a 
wetlands initiative that established a 
federal policy beyond "no net loss" of 
wetlands. The policy seeks to attain 
an overall increase in the quality 
and quantity of wetlands and set 
a goal of restoring, improving and 
protecting more than 3 million acres 
(1.2 million ha) in five years (Council 
on Environmental Quality 2005). To 
continue tracking wetland trends, 
the President further directed 
the Fish and Wildlife Service to 
complete an updated wetlands status 
and trends study in 2005 — five years 
ahead of the mandated legislative 
schedule. 

This updated report used the 
latest technologies in remote 
sensing, geospatial analysis and 
computerized mapping. The most 
recent aerial and satellite imagery 
available was analyzed to document 
wetland change on 4,682 two-mile 
square (5.2 sq. km) sample plots 
located throughout the 48 states. It 
covers the period from 1998 to 2004, 
and provides the most recent and 
comprehensive quantitative measure 
of the areal extent of all wetlands 
in the conterminous United States 
regardless of ownership. The study 
provides no qualitative assessments 
of wetland functions. 



19 













i 



20 



Study Design and Procedures 



Study Objectives 



This study was designed to provide 
the nation with current, scientifically 
valid information on the status 
and extent of wetland resources 
regardless of ownership and to 
measure change in those resources 
over time. 

Wetland Definition and Classification 

The Fish and Wildlife Service 
used the Cowardin et al. (1979) 
definition of wetland. This definition 
is the standard for the agency 
and is the national standard for 
wetland mapping, monitoring 
and data reporting as determined 
by the Federal Geographic Data 
Committee. It is a two-part 
definition as indicated below: 



Ephemeral waters, which are not 
recognized as a wetland type, and 
certain types of "farmed wetlands" 
as defined by the Food Security 
Act were not included in this 
study because they do not meet 
the Cowardin et al. definition. 
The definition and classification of 
wetland types have been consistent 
in every status and trends study 
conducted by the Fish and Wildlife 
Service. Habitat category definitions 
are given in synoptic form in Table 
1. The reader is encouraged to also 
review Appendix A, which provides 
complete definitions of wetland 
types and land use categories used 
in this study. 



Wetlands are lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic 
systems where the water table is usually at or near the surface 
or the land is covered by shallow water. 

For purposes of this classification wetlands must have one or 
more of the following three attributes: (1) at least periodically, 
the land supports predominantly hydrophytes, (2) the substrate 
is predominantly undrained hydric soil, and (3) the substrate is 
non soil and is saturated with water or covered by shallow water 
at some time during the growing season of each year. 







Figure 2. A gallery of wetland images. From top to bottom left; emergent marsh in Wisconsin, black-crowned night heron 
(Nycticorax nycticorax) (FWS), shrub wetland in Michigan (courtesy of St. Mary's University), Bosque del Apache National, 
Wildlife Refuge, New Mexico (FWS). From top to bottom, right; forested tvetland (FWS), Parker River National Wildlife 
Refuge, Massachusetts (FWS), freshwater wetland, northern Indiana, 2005, American toad (Bufo americanus) (Isaac 
Chellman, USGS). 



21 



Deepwater Habitats 

Wetlands and deepwater habitats are 
defined separately by Cowardin et 
al. (1979) because the term wetland 
does not include deep, permanent 
water bodies. Deepwater habitats 
are permanently flooded land lying 
below the deepwater boundary of 
wetlands (Figure 3). Deepwater 
habitats include environments where 
surface water is permanent and 
often deep, so that water, rather 
than air, is the principal medium in 
which the dominant organisms live, 
whether or not they are attached to 
the substrate. For the purposes of 



conducting status and trends work, 
all lacustrine (lake) and riverine 
(river) waters were considered 
deepwater habitats. 

Upland Habitats 

An abbreviated upland classification 
system patterned after the U. S. 
Geological Survey land classification 
scheme described by Anderson 
et al. (1976), with five generalized 
categories, was used to describe 
uplands in this study. These 
categories are listed in Table 1. 




Figures. Open water lakes, such as this 
reservoir were classified as deepwater 
habitats if they exceeded 20 acres (8 ha). 
Piney Run Lake, Maryland, 2005. 



22 



Table 1. Wetland, deepwater, and upland categories used to conduct wetland status and trends studies. 
The definitions for each category appear in Appendix A. 



Category 

Salt Water Habitats 

Marine Subtidal* 

Marine Intertidal 

Estuarine Subtidal* 

Estuarine Intertidal Emergents 

Estuarine Intertidal Forested/Shrub 

Estuarine Unconsolidated Shore 

Estuarine Aquatic Bed 

Riverine* (may be tidal or nontidal) 



Common Description 

Open ocean 

Near shore 

Open-water/bay bottoms 

Salt marsh 

Mangroves or other estuarine shrubs 

Beaches/bars 

Submerged or floating estuarine vegetation 

River systems 



Freshwater Habitats 

Palustrine Forested 

Palustrine Shrub 

Palustrine Emergents 

Palustrine Unconsolidated Shore 

Palustrine Unconsolidated Bottom 

Palustrine Aquatic Bed 

Palustrine Farmed 

Lacustrine* 

Uplands 

Agriculture 

Urban 

Forested Plantations 

Rural Development 

Other Uplands (see further explanation in Appendix A) 



Forested swamps 

Shrub wetlands 

Inland marshes/wet meadows 

Shore beaches/bars 

Open-water ponds 

Floating aquatic/submerged vegetations 

Farmed wetland 

Lakes and reservoirs 

Cropland, pasture, managed rangeland 

Cities and incorporated developments 

Planted or intensively managed forests, silviculture 

Non-urban developed areas and infrastructure 

Rural uplands not in any other category; barren lands 



*Deep mate r habitat 



23 



Sampling Design 

This study measured wetland extent 
and change using a statistically 
stratified, simple random sampling 
design, the foundations of which 
are well documented (Dahl 2000; 
USFWS 2004b). The sampling 
design used for this study was 
developed by an interagency 
group of spatial sampling experts 
specifically to monitor wetland 
change. It can be used to monitor 
conversions between ecologically 
different wetland types, as well as 
measure wetland gains and losses. 

Sample plots were examined, with 
the use of remotely sensed data 



in combination with field work, 
to determine wetland change. 
To monitor changes in wetland 
area, the 48 conterminous states 
were stratified or divided by state 
boundaries and 35 physiographical 
subdivisions described by Hammond 
(1970) (Appendix B). 

Monitoring Wetlands 

Stratification of the nation based on 
differences in wetland density makes 
this study an effective measure of 
wetland resources. Some natural 
resource assessments stop at county 
boundaries or at a point coinciding 
with the census line for inhabitable 
land area. Doing so may exclude 
offshore wetlands, shallow water 



embayments or sounds, shoals, sand 
bars, tidal flats and reefs (Figure 
4). These are important fish and 
wildlife habitats. 

The Fish and Wildlife Service 
included wetlands in coastal areas 
by adding a supplemental sampling 
stratum along the Atlantic and 
Gulf coastal fringes. This stratum 
includes the near shore areas of the 
coast with its barrier islands, coastal 
marshes, exposed tidal flats and 
other offshore features not a part of 
the landward physiographic zones. 
The coastal zone stratum, included 
28.2 million acres (11.4 million ha). 
At its widest point in southern 
Louisiana, this zone extended about 
92.6 miles (149 km) from Lake 




Figure .J- Coastal wetlands offshore fro in the mainland, include soli marsh (estuarine emergent) (A), shoals (B), tidal flats id 

and bars. National Aerial Photography /'rot/ram, color infrared /ih olograph, coast a I Louisiana, 200^. 



24 



Pontchartrain to the furthest extent 
of estuarine wetland resources. 
In this area, saltwater was the 
overriding influence on biological 
systems. The coastal zone in this 
study was not synonymous with any 
state or federal jurisdictional coastal 
zone definitions. The legal definition 
of "coastal zone" has been developed 
for use in coastal demarcations, 
planning, regulatory and 
management activities undertaken 
by other federal or state agencies. 

To permit even spatial coverage 
of the sample plots and to allow 
results to be computed easily by 
sets of states, the 36 physiographic 
regions formed by the Hammond 
subdivisions and the coastal zone 



stratum were intersected with state 
boundaries to form 220 subdivisions 
or strata. An example of this 
stratification approach and the way 
it relates to sampling frequency is 
shown for North Carolina (Figure 5). 

In the physiographic strata 
described above, weighted, stratified 
sample plots were randomly 
allocated in proportion to the amount 
of wetland acreage expected to occur 
in each stratum. Each sample area 
was a surface plot 2.0 miles (3.2 
km) on a side or 4.0 square miles 
of area equaling 2,560 acres (1,036 
ha). The study included all wetlands 
regardless of land ownership. 



This study re-analyzed the land area 
for 4,371 existing sample plots used 
for past wetlands status and trends 
studies. Three hundred eleven 
supplemental sample plots were 
added to Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, 
Iowa, Missouri, North Dakota, 
South Dakota, California, Oklahoma 
and Texas. Augmentation was done 
to provide more finite measurement 
and equitable spatial coverage of 
plots, since loss rates had been 
declining historically. This brought 
the total number of sample plots 
used in this study to 4,682. 




Figure 5. Physiographic subdivisions of North Carolina and sample plot distribution as used in this study. 



25 



Types and Dates 
of Imagery 

Image analysts relied primarily 
on observable physical or spectral 
characteristics evident on high 
altitude imagery, in conjunction with 
collateral data, to make decisions 
regarding wetland classification and 
deepwater determinations 3 . 



Remote sensing techniques to detect 
and monitor wetlands in the United 
States and Canada have been used 
successfully by a number academic 
researchers and governmental 
agencies (Dechka et al. 2002; 
Watmough et al. 2002; Tiner 1996; 
National Research Council 1995; 
Patience and Klemas 1993; Lillesand 
and Kiefer 1987; Aldrich 1979). The 
use of remotely sensed data, either 



from aircraft or satellite, is a cost 
effective way to conduct surveys 
over expansive areas (Dahl 1990a). 
The Fish and Wildlife Service has 
used remote sensing techniques to 
determine the biological extent of 
wetlands for the past 30 years. To 
monitor wetland change, only high 
quality imagery was acquired and 
used. 



'Analysis of imagery was supplemented 
with substantial field work and ground 
observations. 




. •» <y-*) 



'S>t 



«w 



Figure 6. High resolution, infrared Ikonos satellite image of bogs (A), lakes (B) and wetlands (C) of northern Wisconsin, spring 
2005. Image courtesy of Space Imaging Corp. 



26 



This study used multiple sources 
of recent imagery and direct on- 
the-ground observations to record 
wetland changes. To recognize and 
classify wetland vegetation, color 
infrared imagery was preferred 
(Figure 6). Experienced wetland 
interpreters have found color 
infrared to be superior to other 
imagery types for recognition and 
classification of wetland vegetation 
types (USFWS 2004b). 



Wherever possible, leaf-off (early 
spring or late fall) imagery was 
used. Imagery obtained when 
vegetation was dormant allowed 
for better identification of wetland 
boundaries, areas covered by water, 
drainage patterns, separation of 
coniferous from deciduous forest, 
and classification of some understory 
vegetation (Tiner 1996). There are 
distinct advantages to using leaf- 
off imagery to detect the extent of 



forested wetlands. Leaf off imagery 
enhances the visual evidence of 
hydrologic conditions such as 
saturation, flooding, or ponding 
(Figure 7). This imagery, combined 
with collateral data including soil 
surveys, topographic maps, and 
wetland maps were used to identify 
and delineate the areal extent of 
wetlands. 




Figure 7. Early spring 2005 Ikonos satellite image of Michigan. Leaf-off condition made recognition of wetland features easier. 
These old oxbows or swales (indicated by red arrows) can be masked, by heavy tree canopy later in the growing season. Image 
courtesy of Space Imaging Corp. 



27 



In 2004, recent aerial photographic 
coverage for large portions of the 
country was not available. Multiple 
sources of satellite imagery in 
combination with recently acquired 
digital photography were used 
to complete this study. Satellite 
imagery made up about 45 percent 
of the source material used for 
this analysis. Advantages included 



higher resolution digital imagery 
that was acquired close to the target 
reporting date. The mean dates 
of the imagery used, by state, are 
shown in Figure 8. 

Satellite imagery was supplemented 
with National Agriculture Imagery 
Program (NAIP) imagery acquired 
during the agricultural growing 



season (Figure 9). NAIP imagery 
made up about 30 percent of the 
source imagery. (For technical 
specifications of NAIP imagery 
see www.apfo.usda.gov/NAIP/ .) 
The remaining imagery needed to 
complete the study was acquired 
through various sources of high 
resolution aerial photography. 



Washington 



Oregon 



Idaho 



Nevada 



Utah 



California 



Arizona 



Montana 


North Dakota j 


Minne 


sota jl^~l < ^^~~\^/ — 'T— y 


Vernu 

< New York 
\ Pennsylvania £ 

JWest rj ^^H 
Virginia' X^ 
s. jj Virginia *^K 

~P North ^c-l 
Carolina p% 

South \-^ 
SCarolina 

V *? 

rgia y^ 
\Florida\ 


/^t Mai " 6 


Wyoming 1 


I 
South Dakota 

. Nebraska 


[Wisconsin 


\ Michigan 

Ohio 
Indiana 


i 1 jlNew Hampshire 
l-'HvTassachusetts 


V 


owa ) V 


"-^^Connecticut 
-4 New Jersey 






Y Illinois 


-Delaware 


Colorado 


Kansas 




Missouri / |Ujft 

^\ T^ Kentucky / 


Maryland 




Oklahom 
Texas 


a 








New Mexico J 


Arkansas/ 


ennessee /^ 
Alabama 




l ~~~~ 


\ ■ Mississip 
( Louisiana r£^~ 





Figure 8. Mean date of imagery used by state. 



28 




Figure 9. True color NAIP photographs show 
farmland (A), forest (B) and wetlands (C) above, and 
newly -created ponds in a housing development (D) at 
right. Indiana, 2003. 



29 



Technological 
Advances 

Technological advances in the 
quality of remotely sensed 
imagery, computerized mapping 
techniques, and modernization of 
data management systems enhanced 
the ability to capture more detailed 
and timely information about the 
nation's wetlands. The use of these 
technologies greatly improved the 
administration, access, management 
and integration of the spatial 
data. Such advances required 
modernization of procedural 
techniques for image interpretation, 
data capture and operational 
management. Some of the data 
modernization process involved 
development of customized software 
tools to execute tasks specific to 
wetland attribution, provide logic 
checking functions and verification 
of the digital status and trends data. 
These procedural updates were 



incorporated into a revised technical 
procedures and protocols manual 
(USFWS 2004b). 



Methods of Data 
Collection and 
Image Analysis 

The delineation of wetlands through 
image analysis forms the foundation 
for deriving all subsequent products 
and results. Consequently, a 
great deal of emphasis has been 
placed on the quality of the image 
interpretation. The Fish and 
Wildlife Service makes no attempt 
to adapt or apply the products of 
these techniques to regulatory or 
legal authorities regarding wetland 
boundary determinations or to 
jurisdiction or land ownership, but 
rather the information was used to 
assist in making trend estimates 
characterizing wetland habitats. 



General information on photo 
interpretation techniques is 
provided by various authors (Avery 
1968; Lillesand and Kiefer 1987; 
Philipson 1996). Specific protocols 
used for image interpretation of 
wetlands are documented in the 
Status and Trends technical manual 
(USFWS 2004b). 

Wetlands were identified based on 
vegetation, visible hydrology and 
geography. Delineations on the 
sample plots reflected ecological 
change or changes in land use that 
influenced the size, distribution or 
classification of wetland habitats. 

The minimum targeted delineation 
unit for wetland was one acre 
(0.40 ha). The actual smallest size 
of wetland features delineated 
was about 0.005 acres (0.002 ha). 
However, not all features this size, 
or smaller, were detected (Figure 
10). 




Figure 10. A small wetland basin estimated to have been about seven square meters. Some 
wetlands this size were detectable using high resolution imagery. 



30 



Wetland Change 
Detection 

Remotely sensed imagery was the 
primary data for wetland change 
detection. It was used in conjunction 
with reliable collateral data such 
as topographic maps, coastal 
navigation charts, soils information, 
and historical imagery or studies. 
Field verification also played an 
important role and was used to 
address questions regarding image 
interpretation, land use classification 
and attribution of wetland gains or 
losses. 

For each sample plot, the extent 
of change among all wetland types 
between the two dates of imagery 
was used to estimate the total area 



of each wetland type (Figure 11) 
and the changes in wetland area and 
type between the two dates. The 
changes were recorded in categories 
that can be considered the result 
of either natural change, such as 
the natural succession of emergent 
wetlands to shrub wetlands, or 
human induced change. Areas of 
sample plots that were identified 
in the initial era as wetland but are 
no longer wetland were placed into 
five land use categories (agriculture, 
upland forested plantations, 
upland areas of rural development, 
upland urban landscapes and other 
miscellaneous lands) based upon 
the land use evident on the most 
recent imagery. The outputs from 
this analysis were change matrices 
that provided estimates of wetland 
area by type and observed changes 



over time. Rigorous quality control 
inspections were built into the 
interpretation, data collection and 
analysis processes. 

Difficulties in determining wetland 
change can be related to timing 
or quality of the imagery (Dahl 
2004). Imagery acquired at the 
time of abnormal hydrologic 
conditions, such as flooding or 
drought, can make determination 
of wetland change challenging. 
In these instances field work was 
required to assist image analysts 
in making appropriate wetlands 
determinations. 

Misinterpretation of wetland loss or 
gain could result from factors such 
as farming of wetlands during dry 
cycles, drought conditions, excess 





6 years 




T1 



T2 



Figure 11. Change detection involved a comparison of plots at two different times (Tl and T2). 



31 



surface water or flooding. False 
changes were avoided by observing 
visual evidence of a change in 
land management practices. This 
included the presence of new 
drainage ditches (Figure 12), 
canals or other man-made water 
courses, evidence of dredging, spoil 
deposition or fills, impoundments or 
excavations, structures, pavement or 



hardened surfaces, in addition to the 
lack of any hydrology, vegetation or 
soil indicators indicative of wetland. 

Some land use practices can also 
affect wetland change detection. 
Disturbed sites often had ambiguous 
remotes sensing indicators. 
Disturbed areas were indicative 
of lands in transition from one 



land use to another (Figure 13). 
Upon field inspection, these areas 
often had altered hydrology, 
soils or vegetation making 
wetland classification and change 
determination more difficult. In 
these instances, field inspection of 
the wetland site and surrounding 
area provided additional 
information. 




Figure 12. A true color aerial 
photograph shows a new drainage 
network (indicated by red arroiv) 
and provides visual evidence of 
wetland loss. Lack of wetland 
vegetation, surface water or soil 
saturation further indicates that 
this wetland had been effectively 
drained. 




Figure i.i. Lands in transition from 
one land use category to another pose 
unique challenges for image analysts. 
Field inspection of this site indicated 
the area ivas under construction as part 
of a highway project. 



32 



Field 
Verification 

Field verification was completed 
for 1,504 (32 percent) of the sample 
plots distributed in 35 States 
(Figure 14). This constituted 
the largest field verification 
effort undertaken for a status 
and trends report. Field work 
was done primarily as a quality 
control measure to verify that 
plot delineations were correct. 
Verification involved field visits to a 
cross section of wetland types and 
geographic settings, and to plots 
with different image types, scales 
and dates. Field work was not done 
in some western states because of 
the remote location (limited access) 
of sample plots. Of the 1,504 sample 
plots reviewed in the field, 720 used 



satellite imagery and 784 used high 
altitude aerial photography. All 
field verification work took place 
between March and September, 
2005 4 . Representatives from four 
states and seven federal agencies 
participated in field reconnaissance 
trips. In rare instances, field work 
was used to update sample plots 
based on observations of on-the- 
ground conditions. 

i Results of field verification work indicated 
no discernable differences in the size or 
classification of wetlands delineated using 
either satellite imagery or the high altitude 
photography. Errors of wetland omission 
were two percent based on occurrence 
but less than one percent based on area 
(omitted wetlands were generally small < 
1.0 acre or 2.47 ha). Errors of inclusion of 
upland were less than one percent in both 
occurrence and area. There was no difference 
regionally, between states or data analysts 
in the number of errors found based on 
field inspections, although not all plots were 
included in the field analysis. 



New Hampshire 
■tachusetts 

Rhode Island 
Connecticut 




States not field verified 
States field verified 



Figure U. Field verification ivas completed at sites in 35 states shoum on the map. 



33 



Quality Control 

To ensure the reliability of wetland 
status and trends data, the Fish 
and Wildlife Service adhered to 
established quality assurance and 
quality control measures for data 
collection, analysis, verification and 
reporting. Some of the major quality 
control steps included: 

Plot Location and Positional 
Accuracy 

Status and trends sample plots were 
permanently fixed georeferenced 
areas used to monitor land use and 
cover type changes. The same plot 
population has been re-analyzed 
for each status and trends report 
cycle. The plot coordinates were 
positioned precisely using a system 
of redundant backup locators on 
prints produced from a geographic 
information system, topographic 
maps (Figure 15), other maps 
used for collateral information and 
the aerial imagery. Plot outlines 
were computer generated for the 
correct spatial coordinates, size and 
projection (Figure 16). 

Quality Control of Interpreted Images 

This study used well established, 
time-tested, fully documented data 
collection conventions (USFWS 
1994a; 1994b; 2004b). It employed 
a small cadre of highly skilled and 
experienced personnel for image 
interpretation and processing. 

All interpreted imagery was 
reviewed by a technical expert in 
ecological change detection. The 
reviewing analyst adhered to all 
standards, quality requirements and 
technical specifications and reviewed 
100 percent of the work. 

Data Verification 

All digital data files were subjected 
to rigorous quality control 
inspections. Digital data verification 



included quality control checks 
that addressed the geospatial 
correctness, digital integrity and 
some cartographic aspects of 
the data. These steps took place 
following the review and qualitative 
acceptance of the ecological data. 
Implementation of quality checks 
ensured that the data conformed to 
the specified criteria, thus achieving 
the project objectives. 

Quality Assurance of Digital Data 
Files 

There were tremendous advantages 
in using newer technologies to store 
and analyze the geographic data. 
The geospatial analysis capability 
built into this study provided a 
complete digital database to better 
assist analysis of wetland change 
information. 

All digital data files were subjected 
to rigorous quality control 
inspections. Automated checking 
modules incorporated in the 
geographic information system 
(Arc/GIS) were used to correct 
digital artifacts including polygon 
topology. Additional customized 
data inspections were made to 
ensure that the changes indicated 
at the image interpretation stage 
were properly executed. Digital file 
quality control reviews also provided 
confirmation of plot location, 
stratum assignment, and total land 
or water area sampled. 

A customized digital data 
verification software package 
designed specifically for status 
and trends work was used. It 
checked for improbable changes 
that may represent errors in the 
image interpretation. The software 
considered the length of time 
between update cycles, identified 
certain unrealistic cover-type 
changes such open water ponds 
changing to forested wetland, and 
other types of potential errors in the 
digital data. 



34 



Figure 15. Topographic maps in digital 
raster graphics format ire re used as 
auxilliary information and for quality 
control. 





Figure 16. Digital wetlands status and trends data ivere viewed combined with contemporary georeferenced color infrared 
imagery of the study areas. 



35 



Statistical 
Analysis 

The wetland status and trends 
study was based on a scientific 
probability sample of the surface 
area of the 48 conterminous States. 
The area sampled was about 1.93 
billion acres (0.8 billion ha), and 
the sampling did not discriminate 
based on land ownership. The study 
used a stratified, simple random 
sampling design. About 754,000 
possible sample plots comprised 
the total population. Given this 
population, the sampling design was 
stratified by use of the 36 physical 
subdivisions described in the "Study 
Design" section. This stratification 
scheme had ecological, statistical, 
and practical advantages. The 
study design was well suited for 
determining wetland acreage trends 
because the 36 divisions of the 
United States coincide with factors 
that effect wetland distribution 
and abundance. Once stratified, 
the land subdivisions represented 
large areas where the samples were 
distributed to obtain an even spatial 
representation of plots. The final 
stratification, based on intersecting 
physiographic land types with state 
boundaries, guaranteed an improved 
spatial random sample of plots. 

Geographic information system 
software organized the information 
about the 4,682 random sample 
plots. An important design feature 
crucial to understanding the 
technical aspects of this study is 
that a grid of full-sized square plots 
can be overlaid on any stratum to 
define the population of sampling 
units for that stratum. However, at 
the stratum boundaries some plots 
were "split" across the boundary 
and thus, were not a full 2,560 acres 
(1,036 ha). In sampling theory, plot 
size is an auxiliary variable that is 
known for all sampled plots and 
whose total is known over every 
stratum. All sampling units (plots) in 
a stratum were given equal selection 
probabilities regardless of their 
size. In the data analysis phase, the 
adjustments were made for varying 



36 



plot sizes by use of ratio estimation 
theory. For any wetland type, the 
proportion of its area in the sample 
of plots in a stratum was an unbiased 
estimator of the unknown proportion 
of that type in that stratum. 
Inference about total wetland 
acreage by wetland type or for all 
wetlands in any stratum began with 
the ratio (r) of the relevant total 
acreage observed in the sample (Ty), 
for that stratum divided by the total 
area of the sample (Tx). Thus, y 
was measured in each sample plot; 
r = Ty/Tx, and the estimated total 
acreage of the relevant wetland type 
in the stratum was A x r. The sum 
of these estimated totals over all 
strata provided the national estimate 
for the wetland type in question. 
Uncertainty, which was measured 
as sampling variance of an estimate, 
was estimated based on the variation 
among the sample proportions in a 
stratum (the estimation of sample 
variation is highly technical and 
not presented here). The sampling 
variation of the national total was 
the sum of the sampling variance 
over all strata. These methods are 
standard for ratio estimation in 
association with a stratified random 
sampling design (Sarndal et at. 1992; 
Thompson 1992). 

By use of this statistical procedure, 
the sample plot data were expanded 
to specific physiographic regions, 
by wetland type, and statistical 
estimates were generated for the 48 
conterminous States. The reliability 
of each estimate generated is 
expressed as the percent coefficient 
of variation (% C.V) associated with 
that estimate. Percent coefficient of 
variation was expressed as (standard 
deviation/mean) x (100). The percent 
coefficient of variation indicates that 
there was a 95 percent probability 
that an estimate was within the 
indicated percentage range of the 
true value. 

Procedural Error 

Procedural or measurement errors 
occur in the data collection phase of 
any study and must be considered. 
Procedural error is related to the 



ability to accurately recognize 
and classify wetlands both from 
multiple sources of imagery and 
on-the-ground evaluations. Types of 
procedural errors may have included 
missed wetlands, inclusion of 
upland as wetland, misclassification 
of wetlands or misinterpretation 
of data collection protocols. The 
amount of introduced procedural 
error is usually a function of the 
quality of the data collection 
conventions; the number, variability, 
training and experience of data 
collection personnel; and the rigor 
of any quality control or quality 
assurance measures. 

Rigorous quality control reviews 
and redundant inspections were 
incorporated into the data collection 
and data entry processes to help 
reduce the level of procedural error. 
Estimated procedural error ranged 
from 3 to 5 percent of the true values 
when all quality assurance measures 
had been completed. 






Limitations 

The identification of wetland 
habitats through image analysis 
forms the basis for wetland status 
and trends data results. Because of 
the limitations of aerial imagery as 
the primary data source to detect 
some wetlands, the Fish and Wildlife 
Service excludes certain wetland 
types from its monitoring efforts. 

These limitations included the 
inability to detect small areas; 
inability to accurately map or 
monitor certain types of wetlands 
such as sea grasses (Orth et 
al. 1990), submerged aquatic 
vegetation, or submerged reefs 
(Dahl 2005); and inability to 
consistently identify certain forested 
wetlands (Tiner 1990). 



Other habitats intentionally 
excluded from this study include: 

Estuarine wetlands of the Pacific 
coast — Unlike the broad expanses 
of emergent wetlands along the 
Gulf and Atlantic coasts, the 
estuarine wetlands of California, 
Oregon and Washington occur in 
discontinuous patches (Figure 
17). Their patchy distribution 
precludes establishment of a coastal 
stratum similar to that of the Gulf 
and Atlantic coast wetlands and 
no statistically valid data could be 
obtained through establishment of a 
Pacific coastal stratum. Therefore, 
consistent with past studies, this 
study did not sample Pacific coast 
estuarine wetlands such as those 
in San Francisco Bay, California; 
Coos Bay, Oregon; or Puget Sound, 
Washington. 




Figure 17. The Pacific coastline, Three Arch Rocks National Wildlife Refuge, Oregon. Photo courtesy ofFWS. 



37 



Commercial Rice — Throughout 
the southeastern United States and 
in California, rice (Oryza sativa) 
is planted on drained hydric soils 
and on upland soils. When rice was 
being grown, the land was flooded 
and the area functioned as wetland 
(Figures 18A and B). In years when 
rice was not grown, the same fields 
were used to grow other crops (e.g., 



corn, soybeans, cotton). Commercial 
rice lands were identified primarily 
in California, Arkansas, Louisiana, 
Mississippi and Texas. These 
cultivated rice fields were not able 
to support hydrophytic vegetation. 
Consequently, the Fish and Wildlife 
Service did not include these lands in 
the base wetland acreage estimates. 




Figures 18A and B. Commercial rice 
fields where water was pumped to flood 
the rice crop. These fields ivere drained 
when they were in upland crop rotation. 
Central Arkansas, 2005. 




38 



Attribution of 
Wetland Losses 

The process of identifying or 
attributing cause for wetland losses 
or gains has been investigated by 
both the Fish and Wildlife Service 
and Natural Resources Conservation 
Service. In 1998 and 1999, the 
Natural Resources Conservation 
Service and the Fish and Wildlife 
Service made a concerted effort 
to develop a uniform approach to 
attribute wetland losses and gains 
to their causes. The categories used 
to determine the causes of wetland 
losses and gains are described below. 

Agriculture 

The definition of agriculture 
followed Anderson et al. (1976) 
and included land used primarily 
for production of food and fiber. 



Agricultural activity was shown by 
distinctive geometric field and road 
patterns on the landscape and/or 
by tracks produced by livestock or 
mechanized equipment. Agricultural 
land uses included horticultural 
crops, row and close grown crops, 
hayland, pastureland, native 
pastures and range land and farm 
infrastructures (Figure 19A and B). 
Examples of agricultural activities in 
each land use include: 

Horticultural crops consisted of 
orchard fruits (limes, grapefruit, 
oranges, other citrus, apples, 
peaches and like species). Also 
included were nuts such as almonds, 
pecans and walnuts; vineyards 
including grapes and hops; bush-fruit 
such as blueberries; berries such 
as strawberries or raspberries; and 
commercial flower and fern growing 
operations. 



Row and Close Grown Crops 

included field corn, sugar cane, 
sweet corn, sorghum, soybeans, 
cotton, peanuts, tobacco, sugar 
beets, potatoes, and truck crops 
such as melons, beets, cauliflower, 
pumpkins, tomatoes, sunflower and 
watermelon. Close grown crops also 
included wheat, oats, barley, sod, 
ryegrass, and similar graminoids. 

Hayland and pastureland included 
grass, legumes, summer fallow and 
grazed native grassland. 

Other farmland included 
farmsteads and ranch headquarters, 
commercial feedlots, greenhouses, 
hog facilities, nurseries and poultry 
facilities. 



Figure 19A and B. Examples of agricultural land use include both 
this ra ngeland in western Nebraska, 2005 (A), and row crops such 
as this cornfield in the midwest, 200k (B). 




39 



Forested Plantations 

Forested plantations consisted 
of planted and managed forest 
stands and included planted pines, 
Christmas tree farms, clear cuts and 
other managed forest stands. These 
were identified by the following 
remote sensing indicators: 1) trees 
planted in rows or blocks; 2) forested 
blocks growing with uniform crown 
heights; or 3) logging activity and 
use patterns (Figure 20). 



Rural Development 

Rural developments occurred in 
rural and suburban settings outside 
distinct cities and towns. They were 
characterized by non intensive land 
use and sparse building density. 
Typically, a rural development was 
a crossroads community that had a 
corner gas station and a convenience 
store and was surrounded by 
sparse residential housing. 
Scattered suburban communities 



located outside of a major urban 
centers were also included in this 
category as were some industrial 
and commercial complexes; 
isolated transportation, power, 
and communication facilities; strip 
mines; quarries; and recreational 
areas such as golf courses. 
Major highways through rural 
development areas were included in 
the rural development category. 



Figure 20. Trees planted in rows with uniform, crown height (A) and block clear cuts [blue-green feature in center (B) ivere 
indicators of managed forest plantations. Color infrared Ikonos satellite image, Virginia 200b. Courtesy of Space Imaging Corp. 




40 



Urban Development 

Urban land consisted of areas of 
intensive use in which much of the 
land was covered by structures 
(high building density as shown in 
Figure 21). Urbanized areas were 
cities and towns that provided 
goods and services through a 
central business district. Services 
such as banking, medical and legal 
office buildings, supermarkets and 
department stores made up the 
business center of a city. Commercial 
strip developments along main 
transportation routes, shopping 
centers, contiguous dense residential 
areas, industrial and commercial 
complexes, transportation, power 
and communication facilities, city 
parks, ball fields and golf courses 
were included in the urban category. 



Other Land Uses 

Other Land Use was composed 
of uplands not characterized by 
the previous categories. Typically 
these lands included native prairie, 
unmanaged or non patterned upland 
forests, conservation lands, scrub 
lands, and barren land. Lands in 
transition between different uses 
were also in this category. 

Transitional lands were lands in 
transition from one land use to 
another. They generally occurred 
in large acreage blocks of 40 
acres (16 ha) or more. They were 
characterized by the lack of any 
remote sensor information that 
would enable the interpreter to 
reliably predict future use. The 
transitional phase occurred when 



wetlands were drained, ditched, 
filled or when the vegetation had 
been removed and the area was 
temporarily bare. 

Interagency field evaluations were 
conducted to test these definitions 
on the wetland status and trends 
plots to attribute wetland losses or 
gains. Field evaluation of these plots 
resulted in no disagreement among 
agency representatives with how the 
Fish and Wildlife Service attributed 
wetland losses or gains as to cause. 




Figure 21. Urban wetlands (shown as dark blue-black) outside of a shopping mall are surrounded by high density urban 
development. New Jersey, 2003, color infrared photograph. 



41 



A freshwater wetland, Reelfoot Lake, Tennessee, 2005. 







J* 



M 



m.i 






' - ' 






.-* 



-— 



■ V 

• ♦ 



*. r 



••■ 



w 












l 


a t «f * *1 



, -J^.- 



• 







*^|S 



**^ii 






^' 









■*■**«■*■ 



•-►-•*»» 



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AZ 



■J*» 



^*r — . 



Results and Discussion 



Status of the Nation's Wetlands 



There were an estimated 107.7 
million acres (43.6 million ha) of 
wetlands in the conterminous 
United States in 2004'. (The 
coefficient of variation of the 
national estimate was 2.7 
percent.") Wetlands composed 
5.5 percent of the surface area 
of the conterminous United 
States (Figure 22). An estimated 
95 percent of all wetlands were 
freshwater and five percent were 
in estuarine or marine systems. 
This overall distribution of 
wetlands by area and type had not 
changed from the previous era. 



Data for the 1998 to 2004 study 
period are presented in a change 
matrix and shown in Appendix C. 
For ease of use, those data have 
been summarized and presented in 
Table 2. 

Within the estuarine system, 
estuarine emergent (salt marsh — 
Figure 23) dominated, making up 
an estimated 73 percent (almost 3.9 
million acres or 1.6 million ha) of 
all estuarine and marine wetlands. 
Estuarine shrub wetlands made 
up 13 percent of the area and non- 



vegetated saltwater wetlands 14 
percent (Figure 24). 

Among freshwater wetlands (Figure 
25), freshwater forested wetlands 
made up the single largest category 
(51 percent). Freshwater emergent 
wetland made up an estimated 25.5 
percent of the total area, shrub 
wetlands 17 percent and freshwater 
ponds 6.5 percent. 



■' This estimate reflects a 2.0 percent 
adjustment to the national wetland acreage 
base. This adjustment is within the 3 
percent coefficient of variation associated 
with this estimation. 
,; 95 percent confidence interval 



Wetland 

5.5% 




Deepwater* 

1% 



Total Land Area 



* Excludes area of the 
Great Lakes 



Figure 22. Wetland area compared to the total land area of the 
conterminous United States, 2001. 



43 



Table 2. Change in wetland area for selected wetland and deepwater categories, 1998 to 2004. The coefficient of 
variation (CV) for each entry (expressed as a percentage) is given in parentheses. 



Wetland/ Deepwater Category 
Marine 

Estuarine Intertidal Non-Vegetated 1 
Estuarine Intertidal Vegetated 2 
All Intertidal Wetlands 



Area, In Thousands of Acres 



Estimated Area, 
1998 


Estimated Area, 
2004 


Change, 
1998-2004 


130.4 

(20.2) 


128.6 
(20.5) 


-1/9 
(68.7) 


594.1 

(10.7) 


600.0 
(10.3) 


5.9 

* 



4,604.2 
(4.0) 

5,328.7 

(3.8) 



4,571.7 
(4.0) 

5,300.3 

(3.8) 



-32.4 

(32.7) 

-28.4 
(48.6) 



Change 
(In Percent) 

-1.4 
1.0 
-0.7 
-0.5 



Freshwater Non-Vegetated :! 

Freshwater Ponds 4 
Freshwater Vegetated 5 

Freshwater Emergent 

Freshwater Forested 

Freshwater Shrub 

All Freshwater Wetlands 
All Wetlands 



5,918.7 
(3.7) 



6,633.9 

(3.5) 



5,534,3 

(3.7) 

96,414.9 
(3.0) 

26,289.6 
(8.0) 

51,483.1 
(2.8) 

18,542.2 
(4.1) 

102,233.6 

(2.9) 

107,562.3 

(2.7) 



6,229.6 
(3.5) 

95,819.8 
(3.0) 

26,147.0 
(8.0) 

52,031.4 

(2.8) 

17,641.4 

(4.3) 

102,453.8 
(2.8) 

107,754.0 

(2.7) 



715.3 
(12.8) 



695.4 
(13.1) 

^95.1 
(35.0) 

-142.6 



548.2 
(56.1) 

-900.8 

(34.2) 

220.2 

(77.3) 

191.8 

(89.1) 



12.1 



12.6 
-0.5 
-0.5 
1.1 
-4.9 
0.2 
0.2 



Deepwater Habitats 
Lacustrine"' 

Riverine 

Estuarine Subtitdal 

All Deepwater Habitats 

All Wetlands and Deepwater Habitats 1 



16,610.5 
(10.4) 

6,765.5 
(9.1) 

17.680.5 

(2.2) 

41,046.6 
(4.6) 

148,618.8 
(2.4) 



16,773.4 
(10.2) 

6,813.3 
(9.1) 

17.717.8 
(2.2) 

41,304.5 
(4.5) 

149,058.5 
(2.4) 



162.9 

(76.2) 

47.7 
(68.8) 

37.3 

(40.8) 

247.9 

(51.7) 

439.7 

(31.3) 



1.0 
0.7 
0.2 
0.6 
0.3 



* 'Statistically unreliable. 

' Includes the categories: Estuarine Intertidal Aquatic Bed and Estuarine Intertidal Unconsolidated Shorn 

- Includes the categories: Estuarine Intertidal Emergent and Estuarine Intertidal Shrub. 

■' Includes the categories: Palustrine Aquatic Bed, Palustrine I 'nconsolidated Bottom and Palustrine I 'nconsolidatt d Slum 

I mi tides the categories: Palustrine Aquatic Bed, Palustrine Unconsolidated Bottom. 

Includes the categories: Palustrine Emergent, Palustrine Forested and Palustrine Shrub. 
11 Does non include the open-water area of the Great Lakes. 
Percent coefficient of variation was expressed as (standard deviation/mean) x WO. 



44 




Freshwater Wetlands 



Figure 25. A freshwater wetland in the 
southeastern United States, 2005. 



45 



National Trends, 1998 to 2004 

Between 1998 and 2004 there was 
an estimated net gain (Table 3) in 
wetlands of 191,750 acres (77,630 
ha). 7 This equated to an average 
annual net gain of about 32,000 
acres (12,900 ha) as seen in Figure 
26. These estimates have led to the 
conclusion that wetland area gains 
achieved through restoration and 
creation have outdistanced losses. 
These data indicate a net gain in 
acreage but this report does not 
draw conclusions regarding trends 
in quality of the nation's wetlands 

7 There are statistical uncertainties associated 
with this estimate. The coefficient of variation 
expressed as a percentage is 89.1 percent for 
the net gain estimate. 



Intertidal wetlands declined by 
an estimated 28,416 ac (11,500 ha) 
from 1998 to 2004. This was an 
average annual loss of about 4,740 
acres (1,920 ha). The majority of 
these losses (94 percent) were to 
deepwater bay bottoms or open 
ocean. 

Almost all net gains of wetland 
observed between 1998 and 2004 
were in freshwater wetland types. 
The estimated net gain in freshwater 
wetland area between 1998 and 2004 
was 220,200 acres (89,140 ha) as 



seen in Table 2. Forested wetlands 
experienced a net gain. This can 
be explained by the maturation of 
wetland shrubs to forested wetlands. 
There was also a substantial increase 
in the number of open water ponds. 
Pond area increased by an estimated 
12.6 percent over this study period. 



100,000 



+32,000 



-100,000- 



S -200.000 

fan 

u 

< 



-300,000 



-400,000 



-500,000 




1950s-1970s 



1970s-1980s 



1980s-1990s 



1998-2004 



Figure 26. Average annual net loss and gain estimates for the conterminous United States, 195k to 200k. Sources: Frayer et al. 
1983; Dahl and Johnson 1991; Dahl 2000; and this study. 



46 



Attribution of 
Wetland Gain 
and Loss 



Figure 27 depicts the categories 
that contributed wetland gains and 
those responsible for wetland losses 
over the course of this study. A net 
gain in wetland area was attributed 
to conversion of agricultural lands 
or former agricultural lands that 
had been idled in combination 
with wetland restorations from 
conservation lands in the "other" 
land use category. 

Some freshwater wetland 
losses attributed to urban, rural 
development and silviculture offset 
some of the gains. An estimated 



88,960 acres (36,000 ha) or 39 
percent of the wetland losses, were 
lost to urban developments, 51,440 
acres (20,800 ha), 22 percent were 
lost to rural development and 
18,000 acres (7,300 ha), 8 percent 
of wetlands were lost through 
drainage or filling for silviculture. 
These losses were all the result of 
actions that destroyed the wetland 
hydrology. An additional 70,100 
acres (28,400 ha), or 31 percent 
of the wetland area lost between 
1998 and 2004 became deepwater 
habitats. 

There were net gains from the 
"other" lands category and from 
Agriculture as a result of wetland 
restoration and conservation 
programs. An estimated 70,700 
wetland acres (28,600 ha) came from 



agricultural lands and 349,600 acres 
(141,500 ha) from "other" uplands. 
These gains represented 17 percent 
of the net wetland gains from 
Agriculture and 83 percent from 
"other" uplands. Since the "other" 
uplands category includes lands in 
transition some of these wetlands 
may be subject to loss over time. 
Representative wetland restoration 
programs are listed in Appendix D. 

Using the study definitions for 
the causes of wetland losses and 
gains, it was determined that urban 
development and rural development 
accounted for an estimated 140,400 
acres (56,840 ha) or 61 percent of 
wetland loss over the course of this 
study. 



400.000 



+349,600 



iains 



| Losses 




Deepwater 



-88,960 
Urban 



Rural Silviculture 

Development 

Land Use Category 



Agriculture 



Other 



Figure 27. Wetlands gained or lost from upland categories and deepwater, 1998 to 2004-. 



47 



Intertidal 
Estuarine and 
Marine Wetland 
Resources 

Three major categories of estuarine 
and marine wetlands were included 
in this study: estuarine intertidal 
emergents (salt and brackish water 
marshes), estuarine shrub wetlands 
(mangrove swamps or mangles and 
other salt tolerant woody species) 
and estuarine and marine intertidal 
non-vegetated wetlands. This latter 
category included exposed coastal 
beaches subject to tidal flooding, 
shallow water sand bars, tidal flats, 
tidally exposed shoals and sand 
spits. 

The vegetated components of the 
estuarine and marine systems 
are among the most biologically 
productive aquatic ecosystems in 
the world (Kennish 2004). Wetlands 
along the nation's coastline have 
provided valuable resources and 
supported large sections of the 
nation's economy (USE PA 2004). 
Wetlands have also provided 
opportunities for recreation and 
supported commercially valuable 
fish and crustacean populations. 
Estuarine and wetland dependent 



fish and shellfish species accounted 
for about 75 percent of the total 
annual seafood harvest in the United 
States (Weber 1995). In the Gulf of 
Mexico, coastal waters attracted 
millions of sport fishermen and 
beach users as tourism in the Gulf 
coast states contributed over $20 
billion to the nation's economy 
(USEPA 1999). The importance 
of both estuarine and freshwater 
wetlands to fish populations, and 
sport and commercial fishing 
cannot be overemphasized. This 
link between wetlands and aquatic 
species includes ecological processes 
that are important for maintaining 
food webs, land and water 
interactions, and environmental 
quality* Wetland loss and its effect 
on fish populations are among the 
many issues forcing a re-evaluation 
of activities on the landscape (NOAA 
2001). 

Estuarine and marine wetlands 
have been particularly susceptible 
to the various stressors resulting 
from rapid population growth and 
development within the coastal 
watersheds nationwide (Kennish 

8 The importance of wetlands to fish 
populations is discussed in the insert section 
"Wetlands and Fish." 



2004). From the 1950s to 1970s, 
estuarine wetlands were dredged 
and filled extensively for residential 
and commercial development and 
for navigation (Hefner 1986). To 
help conserve the nation's valuable 
coastal resources, numerous 
measures have been taken to protect 
estuarine and marine resources. 
Since the mid 1970s, many of the 
nation's shoreline habitats have 
been protected either by regulation 
or public ownership. These 
mechanisms, in combination with 
outreach and educational efforts, 
have been responsible for reducing 
intertidal wetlands losses in Florida 
(Dahl 2005). 

This study estimated that in 2004 
there were slightly more than 5.3 
million acres (2.1 million ha) of 
marine and estuarine wetlands in 
the conterminous United States. 
Eighty six percent of that total area 
was vegetated wetland (Figure 28). 
Collectively, intertidal wetlands 
declined by an estimated 28,416 
ac (11,580 ha) between 1998 and 
2004. Estuarine vegetated wetlands 
declined by an estimated 32,400 
acres (13,120 ha) between 1998 
and 2004. Estuarine non-vegetated 
wetlands experienced a net gain of 
an estimated 4,000 ac (1,620 ha); 
marine intertidal shorelines declined 
by 1,900 ac (770 ha). 




All Intertidal Wetlands 



Estuarine Vegetated Wetlands 

v 28. Composition of marine and estuarine intertidal wetlands, 200^. 



48 



The changes that occurred between 
1998 and 2004 in estuarine and 
marine wetlands are shown in Table 
3. The largest acreage change was 
an estimated net loss of 33,230 acres 
(13,450 ha) of estuarine emergent 
wetland. The greatest percent 
change was a decline of 1.4 percent 
of marine intertidal wetland. 



open saltwater systems (Figure 29). 
This was due to natural and man- 
induced activities such as dredging, 
water control, and commercial and 
recreational boat traffic 1 '. The losses 
of estuarine emergents exceeded the 
total net loss of all other intertidal 
estuarine and marine wetlands 
combined. 



The overriding factor in the decline 
of estuarine and marine wetlands 
was loss of emergent salt marsh to 



9 Losses reported here were prior to the 
hurricanes of 2005. The Fish and Wildlife 
Service is preparing to conduct follow-up 
studies to reassess wetland changes along the 
Gulf Coast. 



Figure 29. Estimated percent 
loss of intertidal estuarine and 
marine wetlands to deepwater and 
development, 1998 to 2004. 



Development 

7% 
/ 




Table 3. Changes to estuarine and marine wetlands, 1998 to 2004. The coefficient of variation (CV) for each entry 
(expressed as a percentage) is given in parentheses. 



Area, In Thousands of Acm 



Wetland Category 



Marine Intertidal 



Estimated Area, 
1998 


Es 


i mated A 
2004 


rea. 


Gain or Loss, 
199 8-200 J, 


Change 
(In Percent) 


130.4 
(20.2) 




128.6 

(20.5) 




-1.9 

(68.7) 


-1.4 


563.2 

(10.8) 




567.5 
(10.4) 




4.3 

* 





Area (as Percent) 

of All Intertidal 

Wetland, 2004 

2.4 



Estuarine Unconsolidated Shore 



Estuarine Aquatic Bed 



Marine and Estuarine Intertidal 
Non-Vegetated 



30.8 

(27.1) 

724.5 
(9.8) 



32.4 

(26.0) 

728.5 
(9.5) 



1.6 

(63.6) 

4.0 



0.5 



10.7 
0.6 
13.7 



Estuarine Emergent 
Estuarine Shrub 

Estuarine Intertidal Vegetated 1 



3,922.8 
(4.2) 

681.4 
(12.5) 

4,604.2 
(4.0) 



3,889.5 
(4.2) 

682.2 
(12.5) 

4,571.7 
(4.0) 



-33.2 

(31.8) 

0.8 



-32.4 

(32.6) 



-0.7 



73.4 
12.9 
86.3 



Changes in Coastal Deepwater area, 1998-2004 



Estuarine Subtitdal 



17,680.5 

(2.2) 



17,717.8 
(2.2) 



37.3 

(40.8) 



*Statistically u n reliable. 

' Includes the categories: Estuarine Emergent and Estuarine Shrub. 

Excludes marine and estuarine wetlands of California. Oregon and Washington. 

Percent coefficient of ranation teas expressed as (standard deviation/mean) x (100). 



49 



Marine and 
Estuarine 
Beaches, Tidal 
Bars, Flats and 
Shoals 

Sand, mud or rock beaches, bars 
and shoals along the interface 
with tidal saltwater composed the 
non-vegetated intertidal wetlands 
(Figure 30). These areas were 
subject to dramatic changes 
resulting from coastal storms, 
hurricanes, tidal surge, sea level 
rise, sediment deposition or various 
forms of artificial manipulation 
during this study period. 

Ecologically, these wetlands are 
important to a variety of fish and 
wildlife species. Open sandy beach 



habitats are particularly important 
to nesting, foraging and loafing 
waterbirds (Kushlan et al, 2002) 
(Figure 31 and 32). The green sea 
turtle (Chelonia my das) and the 
loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta 
caretta) also use sandy beaches 
for nesting sites. Shallow water 
coastal flats are important for 
sport fish such as the sand sea 
trout (Cynoscion arenarius), 
bonefish (Albuta vulpes), and snook 
(Centropomus undecimalis). 

There were an estimated 728,540 
acres (294,960 ha) of intertidal non- 
vegetated wetlands in 2004. This 
study found that from 1998 to 2004 
(Table 4) marine intertidal beaches 
declined by 1,900 acres (770 ha), 
a 1.4 percent decline. This was 
very similar to the rate of decline 
observed from 1986 to 1997, when 
marine beaches declined 1.7 percent. 



Estuarine bars, flats and shoals 
(Figure 33) increased in area over 
the same timeframe. There was an 
estimated increase of 4,300 acres 
(1,740 ha). This increase was largely 
at the expense of estuarine emergent 
salt marsh which was sloughed into 
deeper water bays and sounds. Land 
subsidence, saltwater intrusion and 
coastal erosion processes may have 
contributed to these changes. 

Intertidal non-vegetated wetland 
changes to urban and other forms 
of upland development were not 
statistically significant. 




Figure SO . Non-vegetated tidal flats grade into sparsely vegetated beach ridges. These areas are important 
for a variety of birds, sea turtles and other marine life. Florida, 2000. 



50 




Figure 31. Intertidal marine beaches provide important 
habitat for shorebirds. These types of wetlands declined by 
l.li percent between 1998 and 200£. Coastal Louisiana, 2005. 
Photo by J. Harner, USGS. 



Figure 32. The black-necked stilt 
(Himantopus mexicanus) inhabits mad 
flats, pools, back water beaches, brackish 
ponds of saltwater marshes and other 
wetland habitats. Photo courtesy qf'FWS. 




Figure 33. New shoals and sand bars are continually forming in shallow water areas. This image shows a new feature 
(brightest white areas) off from the coast of Virginia, 2004-. 



51 



Estuarine 
Emergent 
Wetlands 



Estuarine emergent wetlands 
(synonymous with the term "salt 
marsh") were found close to the 
shoreline and were associated with 
estuaries, lagoons, embayments, 
sounds and coastal barriers 
(Figure 34). Salinities ranged from 
hypersaline to oligohaline (Cowardin 
et al. 1979). The coastal plain of 
the southeastern Atlantic and Gulf 
States supported expansive areas 
of intertidal estuarine wetlands, 
particularly emergent salt marsh. 
These marshes support diverse 
animal life and are extremely 
productive and ecologically 
important features on the coastal 
landscape. The abundance and 
distribution of individual species 
of both animals and plants are 



influenced by physical conditions 
including salinity, water depth, 
tidal fluctuation and temperature 
variations (Chabreck 1988). 

There were an estimated 3,889,500 
acres (1,574,700 ha) of estuarine 
emergent salt marsh wetland in 
2004. 

Estuarine emergent wetland 
declined by 33,230 acres (13,450 
ha) between 1998 and 2004. This 
represented a loss of 0.9 percent 
of this wetland type. The average 
annual rate of estuarine emergent 
loss was 5,540 acres (2,240 ha). This 
rate of loss was consistent with the 
rate of salt marsh loss recorded from 
1986 to 1997 (Dahl 2000). Urban and 
rural development activities, and 
the conversion of wetlands to other 
upland land uses, accounted for an 
estimated loss of 1,732 acres (700 ha) 
or about 3.0 percent of all losses of 
estuarine emergent wetland. Most 



of the losses of estuarine emergent 
wetland were due to loss to deep 
salt water and occurred in coastal 
Louisiana (Figure 35). 

Numerous restoration and 
rehabilitation projects have been 
undertaken in Louisiana as part 
of the Coastal Wetlands Planning, 
Protection and Restoration Act of 
1990, to begin the process of slowing 
the rate of wetland loss in that 
region (Zinn and Copeland 2002). 
Despite these efforts, the rate of 
estuarine wetland loss has remained 
constant since the mid 1980s. 
Projects undertaken in Louisiana 
may have restored functional value 
of some wetlands. Other restoration 
efforts might have been directed 
toward freshwater wetlands 
elsewhere within "coastal" proximity 
but outside of the estuarine and 
marine systems. 




Figures^. Hh/h altitude infrared photograph of salt marsh (darker mottles) offshore from coastal Georgia, Jim',. 



52 



Fiij ii re 85. Estuarine emergent losses as observed in this study 
along the Atlantic and Gulf of Mexico. Inset shows close up of 
Louisiana where most losses occurred between 1998 and200k- 



New Hampshire / Maine 
Vermont 



Massachusetts 



-Rhode 
Island 
Connecticut 




Louisiana 





Louisiana 




Estuarine Emergent Wetland Loss 

• 0-25 Acres 

• 26-75 Acres 

• 76-150 Acres 
A 151-300 Acres 



53 



Estimates of wetland loss from 
this study were contrasted with 
other estimates of wetland loss 
in Louisiana as seen in Table 4. 
Geographic dissimilarities and 
terminology differences including 
"coastal" versus "estuarine," 
"wetland" versus "land loss," and 
temporal differences accounted for 
some of the discrepancies. It is clear 
that there has been confusion over 
the region included (where), types 
of wetland and/or upland included 
in the estimates (what) and the 
timeframe of when losses occurred 
(when). This study measured 
changes in marine and estuarine 
wetlands from 1998 to 2004 as 
described earlier. 

One or more of several interrelated 
factors may have contributed to 
the loss of estuarine emergent 
wetland, including: deficiencies in 
sediment deposition, canals and 



artificially created waterways, 
wave erosion, land subsidence, and 
salt water intrusion causing marsh 
disintegration. In recognizing that 
human activities have affected 
wetlands in Louisiana, Williams et 
at. (1995) cited an extensive system 
of dredged canals and flood-control 
structures constructed to facilitate 
hydrocarbon exploration and 
production as well as commercial 
and recreational boat traffic that had 
enabled salt water to intrude from 
the Gulf of Mexico as major factors 
in wetland loss. 

Coastal storms often have had a 
role in destabilizing salt marsh 
substrates by washing away 
sediment with wind driven 
floodwaters (Chabreck 1988). 
Estimates of estuarine emergent 
area reported here, were made 
prior to Hurricane Katrina and Rita 
during the summer of 2005. These 



storm events may have further 
exacerbated vegetated marsh losses 
by creating open water pockets or 
lakes to replace vegetated wetlands 
in St. Bernard and Plaquemines 
Parishes, Louisiana (USGS 2005b). 

Estuarine emergent wetlands have 
been restored elsewhere in the 
country. An estimated 2,540 acres 
were reclaimed from freshwater 
wetlands through projects such as 
the Dande Meadows Salt Marsh 
Project in Massachusetts. This 
project restored natural salt marsh 
that had been converted into a 
freshwater hayfield during colonial 
times (Coastal America 2003). Small 
to moderate scale projects have 
been undertaken within the National 
Estuarine Research Reserve System 
as well. There, the focus has been on 
restoring salt marsh and seagrass 
beds where ecological functions have 
declined (Kennish 2004). 



Table 4. Contrasting different estimates of wetland loss in Louisiana. 



Habitat Description 


Estimated Loss Rate 


Normalized' Loss 
Rate (Hectares per 
Year) 


Coastal marsh 


50 acres/day 


7,390 ha 


Coast and wetlands 


25 sq. mi./yr 


6,480 ha 


Wetlands of coastal 
Louisiana 


50 sq. mi./yr 


12,960 ha 


Louisiana's wetlands 


75 sq. km/yr 


7,500 ha 


Louisiana's wetlands 


16,000 to 25,000 acres/yr 


6,480 to 10,120 ha 


Coastal land 


25 to 35 sq. mi/yr 


6,480 to 9,070 ha 


Marsh 


40 sq. iruVyr 


10,360 ha 


Estuarine and Marine 
emergent wetland 


5,500 acres/yr 


2,240 ha 



Source 

Moorman (2005) 

Ducks Unlimited Southern Region 

Louisiana State University (2005) 

Louisiana Geological Survey and EPA (1987) 

Williams (1995) 

USGS — Marine and Coastal Geology Program 

National Marine Fisheries Service (www.nmfs.noaa. 
gov/habitat)(2005) 

Tulane University (2004) 

USGS, National Wetland Research Center (2005) 

This Study 



'Scaled to 365 days and expressed as hectares. 
Conversion factors: 
Square mile = 6W acres 
Hectare = 2.1)7 acres 
Square kilometer = 21,7 acres 



54 



Estuarine Shrub 
Wetlands 

Among the most notable components 
of the estuarine shrub wetland 
category are mangrove swamps. 
The geographic extent of mangroves 
has been influenced by cold 
temperatures, hurricanes, and 
human induced stressors (Spalding 
et al. 1997). Florida has always been 
the primary location of mangrove 
wetlands in the United States. 
Mangrove species are uniquely 
adapted to saline environments 
and ecologically mangroves have 
supported a diversity of wildlife 
(Odum and Mclvor 1990). Mangrove 
communities and surrounding 
waters of south Florida support 
more than 220 species of fish, 24 
species of reptiles and amphibians, 
18 mammals and 181 bird species 
(U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 1996) 
(Figure 36). 



Mitsch and Gosselink (1993) 
indicated that the northern-most 
extent of black mangrove (Avicennia 
geminans) occurred at about 30 
degrees N. latitude. Although 
scattered stands of mangrove shrubs 
have been found along the north 
coast of the Gulf of Mexico (Odum 
and Mclvor 1990), these wetlands 
have been exposed to freezing 
temperatures that greatly reduced 
their number and distribution. 
Estuarine shrub wetlands may have 
included woody species other than 
mangroves. Other salt-tolerant 
or invasive woody plants in these 
northern wetlands included false 
willow (Baccharis angustifolia), 
saltbush (Baccharis halimifolia), 
buttonwood (Conocarpus erectus), 
bay cedar (Suriana maritina) 
and Brazilian pepper (Schinus 
terebinthifolius). 



There were an estimated 682,200 
acres (276,190 ha) of estuarine shrub 
wetland in 2004. This estimate 
represented a gain of about 800 
acres (320 ha). Most of this gain 
came from areas formerly classified 
as estuarine emergent wetland. 
The acreage estimates of estuarine 
shrub wetlands have been steady or 
increased slightly over the past two 
decades. 

The long term trend in all intertidal 
wetlands, estuarine vegetated and 
estuarine non-vegetated categories 
is shown in Figure 37 A-C. Estuarine 
vegetated wetlands have continued 
to decline over time as losses to the 
estuarine emergent category have 
overshadowed the small gains to 
estuarine shrub wetlands. 




Figure 36. Pelican Island, Florida, the nation's first National Wildlife Refuge is located in the Indian River Lagoon, a 
biologically diverse estuary of mangrove islands, salt marsh, and maritime hammocks. Photo courtesy of the FWS. 



55 



6,200 - 




6,000 - 

•a 


6,00 


linThousar 

en cji 

o o 
o o 

1 1 




v> 




S 5,400- 

< 




5.200 - 




5,000 - 





A. All Intertidal Wetlands 



1950s 




1970s 



1980s 



1998 



2004 



5,200 
5,000 



I 4,800 

o 



"£ 4,600 

CD 
U 

< 



B. Estuarine Vegetated Wetlands 




4,572 



1950s 



1970s 



1980s 



1998 



2004 



1.000-1 



_ 800- 

M 



600 



c/» 400- 

CP 

u 

200-1 



C. Estuarine Non-vegetated Wetlands 



678 





594 



600 



# 



1950s 



1970s 



1980s 



1998 



2004 



Figure 37 A-C. Long-term, trends in A) all intertidal wetlands, B) estuarine vegetated wetlands and C) estuarine non-vegetated 
wetlands, 1950s to 200k. 



56 



Wetland Values for Fish and Wildlife 



Wetlands and Fish 



Formed in 1922, The Izaak Walton League is one 
of the nation's oldest conservation organizations 
to address deteriorating conditions of America's top 
fishing streams. The League is named for the 17th- 
century English angler-conservationist who wrote the 
literary classic "The Compleat Angler." Since 1992, 
the League has been restoring wetlands and streams, 
establishing wildlife refuges and parks, and teaching 
outdoor ethics to outdoor enthusiasts, sportsmen 
and conservationists. League members recognize 
the importance of wetlands and the role they play 
in supporting fish species and angling opportunities 
throughout the United States. 

Fish and seafood provide the largest source of protein 
for people across the world. The worldwide fish harvest 
has surpassed cattle production and poultry farming 
as the primary source of animal protein (FAO 1987). 
The United States consumes more than 4 billion tons of 
fish and shellfish every year — an average of 16 pounds 
per person (National Marine Fisheries Service 2004). 
Additionally, about 34 million people in the United 
States fish for recreation (USFWS 2001). 

America's coastal and freshwater fish populations are 
currently facing an unprecedented decline. Since 1900, 
123 aquatic freshwater species have become extinct 
in North America. Of the 822 native freshwater fish 
species in the United States, 39 percent are at risk 
of extinction (Fisheries and Water Resources Policy 
Committee 2004) and 72 percent of freshwater mussels 
are imperiled (USFWS 2004a). Additionally, the world's 
catch of ocean fish has been steadily falling since 1989, 
with 13 of the 17 most productive fisheries currently 
facing steep declines. Several factors have contributed 
to this decline, including over-fishing and pollution. 
However, the rate at which America's fish populations 
are plummeting is largely due to the loss and alteration 
of their aquatic habitats. 



At one time, the conterminous United States contained 
more than 220 million acres of wetland habitat. 
Although government programs, conservation 
organizations, and private individuals are slowing 
wetland loss and restoring degraded wetlands, the total 
wetland acreage in the lower 48 states has declined to 
the current 107 million acres. The nation's wetlands are 
vital to fish health. Wetlands provide an essential link 
in the life cycle of 75 percent of the fish and shellfish 
commercially harvested in the United States, and up 
to 90 percent of the recreational fish catch. Wetlands 
provide clean water, a consistent food supply, shelter, 
and nursery areas for both marine and freshwater 
species. Salmon, winter flounder, and largemouth bass, 
among others, depend on healthy wetlands. 




Largemouth bass (Microplerus salmoides) is the most popular game fish in the 
United States. Shallow marshes at the edges of lakes and floodplain wetlands of 
large, slow moving rivers are favorite habitats for the largemouth bass. Stocking 
largemouth in smaller ponds and recreational lakes has been a common sport 
fishery management practice in many states. Image courtesy of FWS 



57 



By providing essential habitat and other benefits to fish 
populations, wetlands play a crucial role in maintaining 
the long-term health of our aquatic resources and 
contribute to economic prosperity. Sport fishing is 
responsible for a multi-million dollar industry that 
supports television shows, magazines, fishing clubs 
and organizations, tackle and boat manufacturing and 



fishing tournaments held nationwide. In total, wetland- 
dependent species make up 71 percent of the commercial 
and recreational fisheries, supporting an industry that 
contributes $111 billion annually to our national economy 
and employs two million people (Fisheries and Water 
Resources Policy Committee 2004). 



How Wetlands Support Healthy Fish Populations 

Clean Water 



Wetlands have been termed "nature's kidneys" because 

they filter and purify our streams, rivers and waterways. 

Wetlands slow down s*^— 

moving water, allowing 

sediments suspended in 

the water to gradually 

settle to the ground. 

Cattails (Typha spp.) 

and other ermergent and 

submergent vegetation 

help remove dangerous 

heavy metals, like 

copper and arsenic, 

from the water column. 

Other pollutants, like 

lead, mercury and 

pesticides, are trapped 

by soil particles and are 

gradually broken down 

by microbes. Wetland 

plants and microorganisms 

also filter out and absorb 

excess nutrients that 

can result from fertilizer 

application, manure, and 

municipal sewage. When large amounts of nitrogen 

and phosphorus enter our waterways, a massive 

overgrowth of algae can occur, depleting dissolved 

oxygen levels and stressing fish populations. Wetlands 

can remove more than half of the phosphorous and 75 

percent of the nitrogen out of the incoming water flow 

(U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 1993) This 

natural filtering ability reduces the negative impacts 

of agricultural and municipal run-off, and it lessesns 

the need to implement costly technological solutions. 

For example, if half of all the existing wetlands were 

destroyed, it would cost over $62 billion per year to 

upgrade sewage treatment plants to handle all the extra 

pollution (Environmental Defense Fund and World 

Wildlife Fund 1992) Some types of wetlands are so good 

at this filtration function that environmental managers 

construct similar artificial wetlands to treat storm water 

and wastewater near urban centers. 




Northern Pike ( Esox lucius) and Muskc llunge ( Esox 
masquinongy) are found in heavily vegetated wetlands 
in the shallow waters along the edges of lakes and 
large rivers. These are some of North America's most 
important freshwater game fish species. Image courtesy 
ofFWS 




Sockeye salmon (Oncorhynchus nerka) spend their life in open sea, but return 
to freshwater streams to spawn. These fish support one of the most important 
commercial fisheries on the Pacific coast. Image courtesy of FWS. 



58 



Food Production 



The diverse conditions found in wetlands allow 
many different types of organisms, some with 
highly specialized adaptations, to co-exist within a 
small area. This wide range of species is supported 
by the extraordinary rates of plant productivity 
that characterize most wetland habitats. Some fish 
species benefit directly by feeding on plant parts, 
while other fish eat the small insects and crustaceans 
that live on plants. Some fish prefer wetland plant 
material that forms the detritus found on the bottom 
of aquatic habitats. Wetlands indirectly nourish the 
entire aquatic system when this rich organic matter is 
washed downstream, where it benefits fish living many 
miles away in the open ocean. Menhaden {Brevooiiia 
tyrannus), for example, rely upon detritus for a full 
third of their diet, even though they live far from the 
wetlands where it is produced. 



Spawning and Nursery Areas 

Fish eggs and young fish have different needs. Some fish 
live in other habitats as adults and return to wetlands 
to lay their eggs. Defenseless and immobile eggs can 
be hidden from predators by underwater vegetation. 





Wetland plants and detritus provide a surface for some 
fish to attach their eggs. When the eggs hatch, the 
vegetation becomes both a protective cover and a food 
source. Young fish dart into the wetland vegetation to 
hide, while the juvenile stages of bay scallops, hard 
clams, and some other shellfish cling to salt marsh 
vegetation and seagrasses for several weeks before 
settling on the bottom. Most shrimp harvested in the 
Gulf of Mexico depend on salt marshes for nurseries, yet 
this latest study reports that these salt marsh wetlands 
continued to decline by over 33,000 acres (13,450 ha) 
between 1998 and 2004. 



Refuge 



Black Crappie {Pomoxis nigromaculatos) and White Crappie {Pomoxis 
annularis) use submerged vegetation and brush as spawning habitats. Image 
courtesy of FWS. 



Both adult and juvenile fish use wetlands to hide from 
predators. Thick plant growth can visually confuse 
predators and disguise small fish. Juvenile muskellunge, 
northern pike and other and mottled colored fish can 
hide by blending in with surrounding aquatic vegetation. 
Dense vegetation and shallow water prevent many 
pelagic predators from entering coastal marshes and 
freshwater wetlands fringing lakes and rivers. Anchovies 
(Engraulis mordax), juvenile snook (Centropomus 
undecimaMs), and juvenile spotted seatrout (Cynoscion 
iiebidosus) dart into the intertwining root systems of 
mangrove wetlands to escape larger predators. The 
root systems of trees and shrubs in floodplain wetlands 
allow stream banks to hang over the water, providing 
protective habitat for Chinook salmon (Oncorhynchus 
tshawytscha), cutthroat trout (Oncorhynchus clarki), 
and other fish. 

Fish also use wetlands to seek refuge from changes in 
water level, velocity, or bad weather. Coho salmon rely 
on the calmer waters of forested wetlands adjacent to 
streams to escape fast currents during winter floods. 
Wetland plants help maintain appropriate levels of 
oxygen in the water and keep temperatures cool for 
aquatic life. 



59 



Management and conservation for all aquatic resources 
are a shared responsibility. Agencies, organizations and 
individuals must continue to be involved in wetlands 
and fisheries conservation activities to protect these 
important resources. 




■ 



/ 






Leah Miller and Suzanne Zanelli, Izaak 
Walton League of America 
www.iwla.org 




■tfe "'& 



m 



Some of the information in this article was taken from the 
publication Wetlands and Fish: Catch the Link, produced by 
the Izaak Walton League and the National Marine Fisheries 
Service. You can download this publication at http://www. 
nmfs.noaa.gov/habitat/habitatconservation/publications/ 
hcpub.htm 



• 



-»; 






■ 



*£**£ 



\s* it -— 



: 




^WSP* 






1 














• 

- : 

-■ 


M 




■ 


*£? 






/ 




i 


i9r 






i 


Vol 




X 


4 


• -,^ 




- 






Photos courtesy of FWS 











Freshwater 

Wetland 

Resources 

Freshwater, or palustrine, wetlands 
included forested wetlands, 
freshwater emergents, shrubs, and 
freshwater ponds less than 20 acres 
(8 ha). Freshwater wetlands have 
been known by many common names 
such as swamp, bog, fen, marsh, 
swale, oxbow and wet meadow. 
Ninety five percent of all wetland 
area in the conterminous United 
States was freshwater. In 2004, there 
were an estimated 102.5 million 
acres (41.5 million ha) of freshwater 
wetlands. Table 5 summarized the 
changes in freshwater wetlands 
between 1998 and 2004. 

Gains and Losses in Freshwater 
Wetlands 

There have been large shifts 
between the freshwater wetland 
types and uplands. Most wetland 
loss (e.g. drainage, fills) and wetland 
creation and restoration that 
occurred between 1998 and 2004 
involved some type of freshwater 
wetland. 



All net gains in wetland area took 
place in freshwater systems. Overall, 
the estimated net gain in freshwater 
wetland area between 1998 and 2004 
was 220,200 acres (89,140 ha). 

Freshwater wetland gains resulted 
from wetland restorations and the 
creation of numerous freshwater 
ponds (Figure 38). The status of 
freshwater ponds is discussed later 
in this section. 

Wetland Restoration — Between 
1987 and 1990, programs to restore 
wetlands under the 1985 Food 
Security Act added about 90,000 
acres (36,400 ha) to the nation's 
wetland base (Dahl and Johnson 
1991). Between 1986 and 1997, there 
was a net gain of wetland from 
"other" uplands of about 180,000 
acres (72,900 ha) (Dahl, 2000). 
During those previous study periods 
wetland restoration and creation was 
not sufficient to overcome wetland 
losses. From 1986 to 1997, there was 
a deficit between freshwater wetland 
losses and gains of about 630,000 
acres (255,100 ha). This was due to 
freshwater wetland conversion to 
upland land uses (Dahl 2000). 



The federal government works 
cooperatively with landowners, 
states, tribes and communities 
through a number of programs to 
achieve restoration, protection and 
improvement (see Appendix D). One 
of the primary wetland restoration 
programs of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service is the Partners for Fish and 
Wildlife Program. This program has 
been available to private landowners 
and has provided both technical 
and financial assistance to restore 
wetlands and other fish and wildlife 
habitats. Examples of restoration 
projects include restoring wetlands, 
planting native trees and grasses, 
removal of exotics, prescribed 
burning, reconstruction of stream 
habitat and reestablishment of fish 
passageways {www.fws.gov/partners 
2005). 

Another restoration program of 
the Fish and Wildlife Service is 
the North American Waterfowl 
Management Plan (NAWMP), 
a public-private approach to 
managing waterfowl populations. 
Cooperation and coordination with 
partners and stakeholders is key 
to implementation of NAWMP 



Table 5 Changes in freshwater wetland area between 1998 and 2004. The coefficient of variation (CV) for each entry 
(expressed as a percentage) is given in parentheses. 



Freshwater Wetland Category 
Freshwater Emergent 

Freshwater Forested 

Freshwater Shrub 

Freshwater Vegetated Wetlands 
Ponds 1 
Miscellaneous Types 2 

Freshwater Non-Vegetated 
All Freshwater Wetlands 



Area, in Thousands of Acres 



Estimated Area, 
1998 


Estimated Area, 
2004 


Change, 
1998-2004 


Change 
(in Percent) 


26,289.6 

(8.0) 


26, 147.0 

(8.0) 


-142.6 

* 


-0.5 


51,483.1 

(2.8) 


52,031.4 

(2.8) 


548.2 
(56.1) 


1.1 


18,542.2 

(4.1) 


17.641.4 
(4.3) 


-900.8 
(34.2) 


^.9 


96,314.9 
(3.0) 


95,819.8 
(3.0) 


-495.1 
(35.0) 


-0.5 


5,534.3 

(3.7) 


6,229.6 

(3.5) 


695.4 
(13.1) 


12.6 


384.4 
(16.3) 


404.3 
(15.6) 


19.9 

(54.2) 


5.2 


5,918.7 
(3.7) 


6,633.9 

(3.5) 


715.3 
(12.8) 


12.1 


102,233.6 

(2.9) 


102,453.7 

(2.8) 


220.2 

(77.3) 





'Statistically unreliable. 

'Includes the categories: Palustrine Aquatic Bed and Palustrine Unconsolidated Bottom. 

J Pahistrine Unconsolidated Shore. 

Percent coefficient of variation was expressed as (standard deviation/mean) x (100). 



61 




Wetland Gain 

• 0-50 Acres 

• 51-100 Acres 

• 101-250 Acres 
251-600 Acres 



Figure 38. Approximate density and distribution of freshwater wetland gains identified in the samples of this study. 









Figure 39. A tile drained, wetland basin has been restored. Ohio, 2005. 



62 



and to successfully protect and 
conserve waterfowl through 
habitat protection, restoration, 
and enhancement. The habitat 
objectives of NAWMP identify 
key waterfowl habitat areas and 
call for their conservation and 
protection. Working with partners 
and cooperators NAWMP seeks 
to enhance, protect and restore 
wetlands that contribute to those 
waterfowl habitat objectives. 

Over the past decade, many agencies 
and organizations have been actively 
involved in wetland restoration, 
enhancement or creation. Many 
beneficial projects have been 
completed by federal, state, local 
and private organizations and 
citizens. Some of these projects 
have involved removal of invasive 
species in wetlands, restoration 
of hydrology to partially drained 
habitats, selective plantings and 
reestablishment of vegetation, 
improved wetland quality and other 



habitat improvement activities. 
These wetland enhancement 
projects have not contributed area 
gains to the wetland base and were 
not part of this study. 

An estimated 564,300 acres (228,460 
ha) of wetlands were restored on 
agricultural lands between 1998 
and 2004. However, the loss of 
wetlands to agricultural land use 
was responsible for an estimated 
488,200 acres (197,650 ha) during the 
same period. The net gain of about 
76,100 acres ( 30,800 ha) did not tell 
the entire story of wetland restored 
or created from agricultural 
land. As lands became enrolled 
in retirement or conservation 
programs, they were subsequently 
re-classified to the upland "other" 
land use category (e.g. there were no 
identifiable land use characteristics). 
Thus, some areas attributed to 
wetland restoration were actually 



conversions of upland agricultural 
land to the upland "other" category. 

Replacement of wetland with a 
structure (house or office building) 
or development resulting from urban 
or suburban infrastructure (roads 
and bridges), usually constituted 
an irreversible loss (Ainslie 2002). 
It follows that most restoration and 
creation of freshwater wetlands 
would have to come from the 
agricultural sector or undeveloped 
lands classified as "other." The 
"other" lands category also included 
many conservation lands such 
as undeveloped land on National 
Wildlife Refuges, in state game 
management areas or preserves, 
idle lands or land in retirement 
programs planted to permanent 
cover, as well as national and state 
park lands (Figure 40). This trend 
of gaining wetland acres from the 
"other" land use category was seen 
in the previous era study where 
180,000 acres (72,900 ha) of "other" 
land was converted to wetland (Dahl 
2000). 




Figure W- Wetland 
restoration (freshwater 
emergent) on land 
previously classified as 
upland "other. " Indiana, 
2005. Photo by 
M. Bergeson. 



63 



The Council on Environmental 
Quality (2005) provided an 
assessment of wetland restoration 
and creation by federal programs 
that showed 58 percent of 
the acreage was attributed to 
agricultural conservation and 
technical assistance programs and 
about 32 percent was attributed 
to other federal initiatives such as 
those completed on conservation 
lands. 

The National Resources Inventory 
conducted by the U.S. Department 
of Agriculture estimated a total net 
change of 263,000 acres (106,470 
ha) in freshwater and estuarine 
wetlands on nonfederal land from 



1997 to 2003 (USDA— NRCS 2004). 
Despite subtle differences and 
nuances between that study and 
this study and different timeframes, 
there was general agreement 
between the studies with regard to 
wetland trends due to agriculture. 

Agricultural conservation programs 
were responsible for most of the 
gross wetland restoration acreage 
(Figure 41 and 42). Swampbuster 
and the Wetlands Reserve 
Program were two of the largest 
contributors, but other programs 
such as the Conservation Reserve, 
Farmed Wetlands Option and the 
Conservation Reserve Enhancement 
Programs also contributed (Zinn 



and Copeland 2002). Agricultural 
programs to promote pond 
construction also contributed to the 
increased freshwater pond acreage. 

Private efforts to restore wetlands 
were also observed in the field. 
These included wetlands restored 
by private hunt clubs, community 
projects, and individual land owners 
(Figures 43A and B). 

This study estimated that between 
1998 and 2004, net wetland gains 
were 191,750 acres (77,630 ha). 
Estimates of restored wetland 
acreage from this study cannot be 
compared with those of other studies 
that used different definitions. 




Figure h.1. Wetland restoration attributed to agricultural conservation programs in the upper midwest, 200&. The wetland, can be 
seen in the center with light green and white vegetation, darker irregular shape is surface water with vegetation. 



64 




Figure 42. A restored wetland basin. 
This basin had been drained and part 
used as a farm field (right) (A), the other 
portion remained a partially drained 
wetland (left) (B). Hydrology has 
been restored and the part on the right 
represented an acreage gain. 
Minnesota, 2005. 



Figure 43 A Private efforts to 
restore wetlands also contributed to 
the national acreage base. Western 
Minnesota, 2004. Photo by 
M. Watmough. 




Figure 43B. Stone Lake, Wisconsin, 2005. 



65 



Wetlands Loss — Losses of 
freshwater wetlands were also 
numerous. Notable losses of 
freshwater vegetated wetlands 
occurred in the Prairie Pothole 
Region of eastern North and South 
Dakota, western Minnesota and 
Iowa. Losses were observed in 
Michigan, Wisconsin, Indiana, Ohio, 
North and South Carolina, Georgia, 
Florida, Louisiana and the vicinities 
around and including Houston, 
Texas and Memphis, Tennessee. 
Eighty five percent of all freshwater 
wetland losses were wetlands less 



than 5.0 acres (2.0 ha). Fifty two 
percent were wetlands less than 1.0 
acre (0.4 ha). These data indicate 
that restorations helped ameliorate 
wetland losses however, some 
small wetlands or smaller portions 
of larger wetlands continue to be 
destroyed. Examples of wetland 
losses are shown in Figures 44 and 
45. 

Despite the net gains realized from 
restoration and creation projects, 
human induced wetland losses 
continued to affect the trends of 



freshwater vegetated wetlands. 
This study estimated that urban 
expansion and rural development 
were responsible for 61 percent 
of the total net wetland loss from 
1998 to 2004. Areas of the country 
where this was most prevalent 
included the Gulf-Atlantic coastal 
plain, the Great Lakes states and 
the southeastern United States. 
Development conflicts with wetlands 
in rapidly growing areas of Florida 
were particularly evident (Figure 
46). In some instances, these 
developments were also responsible 




Figure 44- Examples of wetland loss. 
Fill being placed into a wetland pond in 
Ohio, 2005. 




Figure 'i'>. An emergent weland in rural 
Pennsylvania, 2005 in the process of 
being filled. Both examples in Figures 

Ui and 4.7 were attributed to Rural 
Development 



66 






• /• 



? •-. .'•VV*> 



.v- r: S£fc 



».••.' * 



■.#'• 



I? 



v>» 



»•• 



•I-*. 



Area of Observed Palustrine Loss to 
Urban or Rural Development 

I Urban Area 



Jte> 



X* 



Figure 46. Areas experiencing wetland loss due to development, 1998 to 2004. Urban areas defined by the U.S. Geological 
Survey's National Atlas (original data 1:2,000,000 scale, updated 2005). 



67 




for the creation of residential lakes 
and ponds used for water retention 
and aesthetics. However, these 
open water wetlands often replaced 
vegetated freshwater wetlands 
(Figure 47A-C and overview) and 
were not an equivalent replacement 
for vegetated wetlands as discussed 
in a later section of this report. 



Figure 1*7. Development in rapidly 
growing area of south Florida. 
Insets A-C enlarged from figure 
above. These photographs have been 
used as examples of wetland and land 
use trends. There is no evidence or 
implication that this represents future 
change. 



A) Largely undeveloped area where 
vegetated wetland predominates. 



B) "Sparse " development. Surface 
waters have been channelized and 
retained in open ivater ponds. 



C) Dense residential development. 
'ace /niters are contained in 
iciai ponds and lakes. 




68 



The amount of freshwater vegetated 
wetlands lost has declined by about 
17 percent when comparing results 
from the 1986 to 1997 study to 
this study. Losses of freshwater 
vegetated wetlands have steadily 
decreased since the mid 1970s 
estimates (Figure48). 

Some restoration, creation and 
enhancement projects resulted 
from efforts to mitigate permitted 
wetland losses that occurred at 
a different site(s) (Figure 49). It 
was beyond the scope of this study 
to determine how effective such 
mitigation was in terms of an acre- 
for-acre replacement. 



350,000 



300.000 



-5T 250,000 



o 200,000 



334,400 




</> 150,000 

a> 

a 



1974-1984 



1986-1997 



1998-2004 



Figure i8. Trends in the estimated annual loss rate of freshwater vegetated wetland 
area, 197b to 200k- Sources: Dahl and Johnson 1991; Dahl 2000; and this study. 



Figure k9. A mitigation banking site. As wetlands were converted elsewhere, cells of the mitigation bank were flooded to create 
replacement ivetland. 200k- 




69 



Freshwater Forested and Shrub 
Wetlands 

Of the estimated 102.5 million acres 
(41.5 million ha) of freshwater 
wetlands, 51 percent were forested 
wetland (over 52 million acres or 
21.1 million ha). 

Freshwater forested wetlands 
were affected by two processes, 
the conversion of forested wetland 
to and from other wetland types 
through cutting or the maturation of 
trees, and loss of forested wetland 
where wetland hydrology was 
destroyed. 

Freshwater forested wetland area 
increased between 1998 and 2004 as 
forested wetlands gained (Table 6) 
an estimated 548,200 acres (221,950 
ha) due to the maturation of wetland 
shrubs to forests. 10 None of these 
gains directly resulted from change 
in any upland category as all of the 
net gains of forested wetlands came 
from the wetland shrub category 
due to succession. Over 1.15 million 
acres of shrub wetlands had matured 
and were reclassified as forested 
wetland. 

Estimated net losses of forested 
wetland to uplands totaled 299, 200 
acres (121,130 ha). These losses 

10 Cowardin et al. (1979) required tree height 
20 feet (6 meters) or greater to have been 
classified forested wetland. 



of forested wetland to the various 
upland land uses resulted from the 
destruction of wetland hydrology 
and are shown in Figure 50. 

Another 63,000 acres (25,500 ha) of 
forested wetland (Figure 51) were 
converted to open water ponds. 
Some of these changes were due to 
beaver building dams and flooding 
surrounding timber. An additional 
26,600 acres (10,770 ha) became 
deepwater lakes. 

In 2004, an estimated 17.6 million 
acres (7.1 million ha) of freshwater 
wetlands were dominated by shrub 
species or wetland tree species 
less than 20 feet tall (6 m). Shrub 
wetlands experienced the largest 



change of any vegetated freshwater 
wetland type. An estimated 900,800 
acres (364,700 ha), net were 
converted to other wetland types 
between 1998 and 2004. Although 
wetlands dominated by true shrub 
species were not uncommon (Figure 
52), acreage trends of wetland 
shrubs were governed primarily 
by changes in tree species moving 
to and from forested and shrub 
categories. During this study, 2.6 
million acres (1.05 million ha) of 
shrub wetlands were converted to 
forested wetlands (gross). This was 
very similar to the previous era 
when 2.4 million acres (972,000 ha) 
of shrubs were converted to forested 
wetland. 




Figure 50. Estimated percent loss 
of forested wetlands to the various 
upland land use categories 
between 1998 and 200h- 



Figure 51. Forested ivetland. 
Alabama, 2005. Photo 
courtesy of South Dakota 
State University. 




70 



An additional 1.4 million acres 
(567,000 ha) were converted from 
forested wetlands to shrub wetlands 
primarily as a result of silviculture. 
Another 1.04 million acres (406,500 
ha) changed from shrub wetland 



to freshwater emergent wetland. 
These large shifts between the 
freshwater categories followed 
the same magnitude of change as 
reported between 1986 and 1997. 



Long term trends in freshwater 
forested and shrub wetlands 
reversed directions (Figure 53). 
Forested wetland increased for the 
first time while shrub wetlands 
declined for the first time since the 
1950s. 





















jiu ;*rMk mJ' 
















>«• t. 


^iju^ 














flfiV*T 




















" 


aLj^rt 


Ha 










Br 






















C*^T' 


v ? 
. ■ 

5 


~~** 

i 

^^a 
























. r^^«^ 







Figure 52. A freshwater 
wetland dominated by the 
woody shrub False Indigo 
(Amorpha fruticosa). Shrub 
wetlands contained true 
shrub species or small tree 
species under 20 feet (6 
meters). Nebraska, 2005. 



62.000 
•w 60,000 



» 58,000 



56,000 



<g 54,000 

ft— 

< 52,000 



50,000 



1 61,150 



A. Freshwater Forested 




1950s 



1970s 



1980s 



1998 



52,031 



2004 



Figure 53. Long-term trends 
in freshwater forested and 
shrub wetlands, 1950s to 200h- 



20,000 

-5T 18,000 -I 

•a 
c 

| 16,000 

o 

£ 14,000 - 

e 

~g 12,000 

ft— 

< 10,000 



8,000 



B. Freshwater Shrubs 

17,235 
15,506 



18,366 



17,641 




11,000 



1950s 



1970s 



1980s 



1998 



2004 



71 



Freshwater Emergent Wetlands 

In 2004 there were an estimated 
26,147,000 acres (10,586,000 ha) 
of freshwater emergent wetlands. 
Emergent wetlands declined (Table 
5) by an estimated 142,570 acres 
(57,720 ha). Despite these losses, this 
represented an 80 percent reduction 
in the rate of freshwater emergent 
loss from 1986 to 1997. The 
"Swampbuster" provisions of the 
Food Security Act and agricultural 
set-aside and land retirement 
programs played an important role 
in the reduction in emergent wetland 
losses. 

Approximately 83,400 acres of 
freshwater emergent wetland 
were lost to upland. An estimated 



75 percent of those losses 
were attributed to agricultural 
drainage (Figure 54), 17 percent 
to development and 8 percent to 
silviculture. This was overshadowed 
by substantial gains from upland 
"other" lands (including agriculture 
in retirement or conservation 
programs as discussed earlier). 

Of the emergent wetlands converted 
to agriculture, most were small. 
The average size of emergent 
wetland converted to agriculture 
was 4.0 acres (1.6 ha). Many of the 
conversions were the result of field 
"round outs" or more thorough 
drainage of areas that had been 
only partially drained (Figure 55 
A and B). Similar practices such as 



improvement of on-farm drainage, 
or elimination of partially drained 
wetlands permitted under the 
various Food Security Act revisions 
were also observed between 1986 
and 1997 (Dahl 2000). 

Because most freshwater 
emergent wetlands can reestablish 
quickly under wet conditions, 
there is substantial opportunity 
for restoration. See the insert 
on "Restoring Iowa's Prairie 
Wetlands. " 

Long term trends for freshwater 
emergent wetlands are shown in 
Figure 56 Freshwater emergent 
wetlands continue to decline over 
time. 









Figure .74. This field has been squared off by agricultural drainage (surface ditch indicated, ivith red arrow). New Jersey, 2003. 



72 




Figure 55 A and B. Subtle wetland drainage practices in the prairie pothole region of South 
Dakota. Shallow ditches are plowed to facilitate drainage, 2005. Photo courtesy of South Dakota 
State University. 



Figure 56. Long-term trends in 
freshwater emergent wetlands, 1951* 
to 2004. 



36,000 
3" 34.000 



32,000 



~ 30,000 

« 28,000 

■_ 
u 

* 26.000 
24,000 



Freshwater Emergent 



33,133 






28,440 



26,383 



1950s 



-3- 



1970s 



1980s 



1998 



26,290 26,147 
-3- 



2004 



73 



Freshwater ponds 

Freshwater ponds were open water 
areas less than 20 acres (8.1 ha) in 
size. Ponds were characterized as 
small bodies of water shallow enough 
for sunlight to reach the bottom, 
permitting growth of aquatic plants 
(Figure 57). Ponds were considered 
part of the freshwater environment 
and natural ponds were notable for 
their abundant and rich varieties of 
plant and animal life (Lewis 2005). 

In this study, ponds were 
numerous and found throughout 
the conterminous United States 11 . 
There were an estimated 6,229,600 
acres (2,522,100 ha) of ponds in 2004 
(Table 5). Freshwater pond acreage 
increased 695,400 acres (281,500 ha) 



11 One of the most important objectives of 
this study was to monitor gains and losses of 
all wetland areas. The concept that certain 
kinds of wetlands with certain functions (e.g., 
human-constructed ponds on a golf course) 
should have been excluded was rejected. 
To discriminate on the basis of qualitative 
considerations would have required a 
much larger and more intensive qualitative 
assessment. The data presented do not 
address functional replacement with loss or 
gain of wetland area. 



from 1998 to 2004, an 12.6 percent 
increase (Figure 58). This was the 
largest percent increase in area of 
any wetland type in this study. 

Without the increased pond acreage, 
wetland gains would have failed to 
surpass losses during the timeframe 
of this study. The creation of 
artificial freshwater ponds has 
played a major role in achieving the 
national wetland quantity objective 
(Figure 59). Scientists have inferred 
linkages between wetland structure 
and function (Mitsch and Gosselink 
1993; National Research Council 
1995; Brinson and Rheinhardt 
1996). Changing the abundance of 
wetland types (vegetated wetland to 
open water wetland), also changes 
wetland structure and can affect 
other ecological characteristics. 

Kentula et al. (1993) found that 
ponds with a fringe of emergent 
marsh composed the majority 
of compensatory mitigation 
projects required nationally under 
Section 404 of the Clean Water 
Act. Open water ponds were 



created as mitigation for a variety 
of types of wetlands in Oregon, 
California, Washington and several 
southeastern states (Gwin et al. 
1999). 

Some open water ponds might 
eventually become vegetated 
wetlands through successional 
changes or through re-establishment 
of vegetation. However, only two 
percent of created ponds from the 
1986 to 1997 study (Dahl 2000) were 
reclassified as vegetated wetlands 
in this study. This indicated ponds 
had either been designed and 
maintained as open water basins 
(water retention, ornamentation) 
or projects intended to provide 
vegetated wetlands as a means of 
restoration and creation lacked 
vegetation after several years. 

Cowardin et al. (1979) recognized 
ponds as an important component of 
the aquatic ecosystem and included 
them within a larger system of 
freshwater wetlands. Classical 
limnology recognized five distinct 
types of ponds: Cypress ponds, 







Figure 7. A freshwater pond in central Kansas is stai-l'nig to support emergent vegetation, 2005. 
74 




Figure 58. Number and approximate location of new freshwater ponds created between 1998 and 2004.. 




Figure 59. A newly created open water pond as part of a golf course. Maryland, 2005. 



75 



bog ponds, meadow-stream ponds, 
mountain ponds and man-made 
farm ponds (Lewis 2005). With the 
exception of the last type, none of 
the created ponds found during this 
study met these descriptions. Most 
of the ponds that were created were 
of the kind discussed below. 

The creation of freshwater fishing 
ponds has been very popular in 
many states. Bass (Micropterus 
spp.) and bluegill 12 have been widely 
introduced for sport fishing into 
small warm water lakes and ponds. 
Pond construction and fish stocking 
has steadily grown in popularity 
so that bass-bluegill form the 
foundation of warm water sport 



12 Includes numerous species of the family 
Centrarchidae known by various common 
names such as sunfish, pumpkinseed, redear, 
longear, rock bass, green sunfish and others. 



fishing in ponds and small bodies 
of water (Ney and Helfrich 2003). 
These fishing ponds form a portion 
of the newly created ponds that were 
added to the wetlands acreage base. 

The creation of artificial water 
detention, retention and water 
hazard ponds has also contributed 
to the number of ponds designed 
and used solely for ornamentation 
or water management. In many 
cases these have been constructed 
to provide a single function — the 
collection of runoff and water 
control. Water quality and aesthetics 
were of little importance (Beaulieu 
2005), and plant growth was 
controlled or regularly eliminated. 
These ponds are not an equivalent 
replacement for vegetated wetlands 
(Dahl 2000). Figure 60 A-D shows 
some of the created ponds found 
during this study. 



Ponds for aesthetics or water 
management have been incorporated 
into many residential and 
commercial developments (Figure 
61). 

Aquaculture has also contributed 
to artificial pond construction. 
Aquaculture production consisted 
of fish for food, ornamental fish, 
baitfish, mollusks, crustaceans, 
aquatic plants (Figure 62), algae 
and some reptiles such as alligators 
and turtles. In the 1990s the value 
of United States aquaculture 
production rose over 400 percent. 
The catfish industry was the largest 
sector, concentrated in Mississippi, 
Alabama, Arkansas and Louisiana 
(USDA— ERS 2005). 

The long-term trends in freshwater 
ponds are shown in Figure 63. 
Freshwater pond area has continued 
to increase over time. 



A Nebraska, 2005 




B Indiana, 2005 



D Iowa, 2004 




Figure 60 A-D. Different ponds hare been constructed for different purposes throughout the United State*. 



76 



Figure 61. Color infrared aerial 
photograph of new development in 
south Florida. Ponds and small 
residential lakes (shown as dark blue) 
are surrounded by new housing. 



Figure 62. Commercial cranberry 
operations in Wisconsin had 
created several open water ponds 
(dark blue areas). Water was used 
to flood cranberry plants grown in 
the rectangular basins (red). Ikonos 
imagery, 2005, courtesy of Space 
Imaging Corp. 




Figure 63. Long-term 
trends in freshwater pond 
acreage, 195k to 200k. 



g 5.000 



CO 

« 3.000 



1950s 



1970s 



1980s 



1998 



6,230 




2004 



77 



Freshwater 
Lakes and 
Reservoirs 

Lakes were most prevalent in 
Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan and 
Florida. These water bodies were 
often associated with fringes of 
wetland vegetation. They supported 
inland fisheries and waterfowl and 
have been very important to people 
as sites for recreation (Figure 64). 



Deepwater lakes and reservoirs 
showed an increase, with a net 
gain of 162,900 acres (66,000 ha). 
The rate of increase was much 
less than 30 to 40 years ago when 
large reservoirs were being built. 
Dahl (2000) reported that lake 
and reservoir creation declined 43 
percent in recent decades. That 
trend held for this study. The 
freshwater lakes created during the 
study period were associated with 
urban developments. 









^^^^^^»^^^^^^^- 




J— -• 






it. 


• 


^B^ A, 




_ ,yj^^ _^ j 








j** 


A Indiana, 2005 










B Wisconsin, 2005 t * 

Figure 64 A and B. Freshwater lakes provide midlife and fish habitat as well as 
opportunities for recreation and education. 



Terminology 
and Tracking 
Wetland Gains 

In the past, Federal agencies have 
used inconsistent terminology to 
describe human actions taken to 
increase wetland area or improve 
wetland condition. For example, 
"restoration" has often been used 
to describe the return of hydrology 
and wetland vegetation to a former 
wetland, and also to describe actions 
taken to manage function, or the 
enhancement of condition. The 
Council on Environmental Quality's 
report Conserving America's 
Wetlands (CEQ 2005) attempted 
to clarify some of the ambiguity by 
providing definitions for "restore," 
"create," "improve" and "protect" 
wetlands (Figures 65 through 68). 

In December, 2004 CEQ assembled 
information related to wetland 
actions taken by federal agencies 
to meet the Administration's 
wetland goal of achieving an "overall 
increase" in the quantity and quality 
of wetlands by restoring, improving 
and protecting more than 3 million 
acres (1.2 million ha) in five years 
(CEQ 2005). That report provided 
information on wetland area and 
functional gains made or planned by 
federal agencies. It did not report 
gains or losses made or planned by 
other agencies or by individuals, 
corporations, conservation groups or 
other non-federal entities. 

This report differs from the CEQ 
report in the following ways: 
Wetland restoration as used in this 
study refers only to restoration of 
previously drained, diked or filled 
wetland area and makes no attempt 
to determine wetland function or 
distinguish between wetlands of 
different quality. Consequently, 
wetland "improvement" and wetland 
"protection" were not measured as 
part of this study because they do 
not result in wetland area gains. . 
Most notably this study determined 
statistical estimates of wetland 
losses between 1998 and 2004 as 



78 




Figure 65. Created wetland on an area that was upland (dry 
land). This definition is the same for both the federal agency 
wetland gains reporting and this study. Central Wisconsin, 
2005. 



Figure 66. A wetland restoration (re-establishment). This 
former wetland basin had been completely drained and 
reclassified as upland. Photo courtesy of South Dakota State 
University. 




Figure 67. "Improved" wetland or wetland enhancement — 
hydrology has been restored to an existing albeit degraded 
wetland. This rehabilitation improved wetland value(s), 
but these types of changes resulted in no change in wetland 
acreage and ivere not included as change areas in this study. 
NRCS Wetland Reserve, Nebraska, 2005. 



WATERFOWL 

PRODUCTION 

AREA 




&*^f§L: ; $ 



Figure 68. Wetland Protection or preservation included pre- 
existing wetland acres either owned or leased long-term by 
a federal agency. Since this action resulted in no change in 
ivetland area it did not reflect a change as part of this study. 
Federal (USFWS) Waterfowl Production Area. 



79 



well as all wetland gains, including 
those undertaken by state, local and 
private entities. Table 6 contrasts 
other features between this report 
and the 2005 CEQ report on wetland 
gains. 

The Council on Environmental 
Quality (2005) reported that Federal 
agencies had collectively restored or 
created 328,000 acres (132,800 ha) 
of wetlands between 2004 and 2005. 



When contrasting the results of this 
study with Conserving America's 
Wetlands (CEQ 2005) report on 
wetland gains, the two studies used 
different methods and provided 
different results. This study included 
wetland losses as well as wetland 
gains. This study also measured 
wetland change between 1998 and 
2004, whereas CEQ considered only 
changes from 2004 and 2005. 



Table 6. Contrasting the Fish and Wildlife Service's Wetlands Status and Trends with the Council on Environmental 
Quality report (2005) on federal efforts to track wetland gains. 



Reporting Element 
Timeframe 



Wetlands Status and Trends (FWS) 
Changes observed between 1998 and 2004 



Conserving America's Wetlands (2005) 

2004 and projected 2005 performance information 



Measure (acres) 
Reported Change 
Type of Change 
Wetland Descriptors 

Study Area 
Interagency Cooperation 



Peer Review 
Field Component 



Scientifically based statistical sampling of actual 
change observed on 4,682 4-square mile sample plots 

Statistical estimates of wetland gains, losses, and net 
change 

Acreage change(s) only (gains and losses) with 
statistical error rate 

Identifies extent by 16 wetland and deepwater 
habitat types (i.e. vegetated wetland types can be 
distinguished from ponds) 

Conterminous United States 



Yes, included Council on Environmental Quality, 
Office of Management and Budget, Dept. of 
Agriculture, Dept. of Interior, Army Corps of 
Engineers, Dept. of Transportation, Environmental 
Protection Agency, National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration, state resource agencies 
and non-governmental organizations 

Reviewed by principal federal agencies as well as 
independent expert peer review 

Field verification of 32 percent of the sample data 

sites 



Administrative accounting of reported and projected 
gains due to federal activities 

Wetland gains as defined by study 



Wetland creation (acres), wetlands improvement 
(acres or function), and wetland protection 

Single general "wetland" category (i.e. ponds are not 
distinguished from other wetland types) 

Entire United States 



Yes, included Council on Environmental Quality, 
Office of Management and Budget, Dept. of 
Agriculture, Dept. of Interior, Army Corps of 
Engineers, Dept. of Transportation, Environmental 
Protection Agency, National Oceanic and 
Atmospheric Administration 



Review by federal agencies contributing data 



No field component 



80 








Wetland 
Restoration 
and Creation on 
Conservation 
Lands 

Federal policies and programs 
during the past decade have 
increasingly emphasized wetland 
restoration (Zinn and Copeland 
2002), both on public lands and 
on lands in private ownership. 
The federal land management 
agencies have been much more than 
facilitators of wetland restoration 
and creation; they have restored 
wetlands on federal properties, 
including National Parks and 
Preserves, National Wildlife 
Refuges, National Forests and 
lands managed by the Bureau of 
Land Management (Figure 69). A 
representative listing of the wetland 
restoration programs and activities 
is shown in Appendix D. 

Many National Wildlife Refuges 
provide opportunities for 
wetland restoration, creation or 
enhancement. The Refuge System 
has maintained active programs to 
reestablish wetlands within refuge 
boundaries (CEQ 2005). An example 
of collaborative wetland restoration 
work along the Upper Mississippi 
River is highlighted in the following 
insert. 







Figure 69. A system of federal lands 
including National Wildlife Refuges 
and Wetland Management Districts are 
restoring and enhancing wetland acres. 




81 



Wetland Restoration 



Wetland Restoration on 
the Upper Mississippi River 
National Wildlife and Fish Refuge 




The Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish 
Refuge was created in 1924 largely through the efforts 
of the Izaak Walton League in an effort to protect 
habitat for black bass. Unlike most refuges, Congress 
established the Upper Mississippi River National 
Wildlife and Fish Refuge for both fish and wildlife. It 
became the only refuge in the nation designated as a 
wildlife and fish refuge. 

The Refuge consists of almost 240,000 acres (97,200 
ha) of wooded islands, bottomland forests, backwater 
sloughs, bays and marshes. It represents one of the 
largest contiguous stretches of wetland and aquatic 
habitats in the Midwestern part of the United States. 
The Refuge extends along the Mississippi River 261 
miles from Wabasha, Minnesota to Rock Island, Illinois. 

Wetlands and other waters of the Refuge support about 
5,000 great blue heron (Ardea herodias) nests in 15 
colonies, 50 percent of the continent's canvasback duck 
(Aythya valisineria) population and 20 percent of the 
continent's tundra swans (Cygnus columbianus) during 
their respective fall migrations. Other species of ducks 
on the Refuge include lesser scaup (Aythya affinis), 
ring necked duck (Aythya collaris), American wigeon 
(Ayias americana), mallard (Anas platyrhnchos), wood 
duck (Aix sponsa), and common merganser (Mergus 
merganser). There are over 100 known bald eagle 
nests and the river is home to 134 fish species including 
important sport fish such as walleye (Sander vitreus), 
largemouth and smallmouth bass (Micropterus spp.), 
channel catfish (Ictalurus punctatus), northern pike 
(Esox hicius), bluegill (Lepomis spp. ) and black crappies 
(Pomoxis nigromacidatus). 

When the river was impounded, water levels were 
permanently raised and greatly changed the character 
of the river and its associated habitats. Since the time 
of impoundment, sediment accumulation, long term 
inundation, and erosion have contributed to a process 
where wetlands and backwaters lose their vegetation 
and are converted to open water. This process has 
decreased habitat for plants and animals and important 
wetland habitats have disappeared. 

The Environmental Management Program is a 
coordinated habitat restoration program for the upper 
Mississippi River. It is administered by the Army 
Oorps of Engineers in partnership with the Fish 



82 



and Wildlife Service and several other federal, state 
and non-governmental organizations. The purpose 
is to implement habitat restoration projects that will 
counteract the effects of an aging impounded river 
system by changing the river's floodplain structure and 
hydrology. Since its inception, the program has restored 
and improved 105,000 acres (43,500 ha) along the upper 
Mississippi River corridor. 

The Stoddard Islands Restoration Project was one 
of the efforts completed on the Refuge under the 
Environmental Management Program in 1999. The 
project was located in Pool 8 adjacent to Stoddard, 
Wisconsin (near La Crosse, Wisconsin) and was 
designed to restore acres of wetlands that had washed 
away and improve related habitats in Stoddard Bay. 



Minnesota 



St. Paul 
Minneapolis** 

Wabasha 
Rochester 





Iowa 

Waterloo* Dubu( ' 

Cedar Rapids 
Des Moines 





Refuge 
Area 




The project incorporated 
backwater dredging, island 
construction, and bank 
stabilization to restore and 
improve 500 acres (200 ha). Seven 
islands were constructed from 
dredge material to reduce current flows and water 
turbidity that had destroyed aquatic plant beds in the 
backwaters. The dredged material had a dual purpose: 
it created deep pools for overwintering fish habitat and 
subsequently was used to create earthen islands as wind 
breaks that promoted the growth of aquatic vegetation. 
Rock sills allowed waters into the area during periods 
of high flow. A notch in the sill was designed to limit 
flows during low flow periods. The rehabilitation work 
created habitat diversity and was designed to support a 
range of vegetation types. 

Once the project was completed, subsequent monitoring 
of the site indicated increased use by ducks and swans, 
sport fish and other wetland dependent species. 



some of the numerous wetlands and islands that form the Upper 
ir National Wildlife and Fish Refuge. Photo cffurtesy of Robert Hurt. 



Stoddard Islands Restoration Project before 
restoration of habitats (1994) and after (2000) 
About 500 acres (200 ha) were restored. 




Historically, many areas of the 
United States had experienced 
wetland losses due to agricultural 
development. These areas have 
the potential to restore wetlands 
through various programs and 
initiatives. Iowa is one such example. 
Historical wetland losses in Iowa's 
prairie pothole region exceeded 
90 percent (Dahl 1990 b). These 
pothole wetlands are generally small, 
topographic depressions, dominated 
by emergent marsh vegetation and 
can be easily restored. 




Wtt' 



* 



^ 






Prairie pothole wetlancLPhoto courtesy 
of the FWS. 



84 



Wetland Restoration 



Restoring Iowa's Prairie Marshes 



Located in the southern and easternmost portion of 
the Prairie Pothole Region (PPR), North Central Iowa 
once supported a complex of temporary and seasonal 
wetlands amid many large, deepwater marshes and 
shallow lakes. Iowa historically received the most 
consistent annual rainfall of any portion of the PPR. This 
environment, with its long growing season and deep, rich 
soils, provides some of the most productive agricultural 
lands in the world. 

Agriculture converted many of Iowa's prairie wetlands. 

Much of the conversion took place in the early 1900s 

and most of the wetlands had been 

drained by 1920. Organized drainage 

districts were formed to provide a 

network of shared tile mains and 

ditches. When this system was 

built, individual landowners had an 

outlet for their own private drainage 

systems. 

The conversion of wetlands to 
farmland through a network of 
underground pipes is a marvel of both engineering and 
sheer determination. Most of the Iowa PPR still relies 
on drainage provided by the "shared infrastructure" 
that is nearly a century old. Over this same time period, 
thousands of miles of private tile have been replaced or 
installed. This system of wetland drainage has resulted 
in the loss of 95 to 98 percent of the prairie pothole 
wetlands in Iowa. 

Although the conversion of natural habitats to 
agricultural production in Iowa is extensive, 
implementation of the Food Security Act of 1985 



Historical extent of the Prairie Pothole Region of North America 





Installation of subsurface tile for wetland drainage in 
Iowa, circa 1950. Photo courtesy of USFWS. 



and development of the North America Waterfowl 
Management Plan (NAWMP) in 1987 marked a turning 
point. Fish and Wildlife Service and U.S. Department 
of Agriculture programs combined to provide funds to 
restore wetlands and integrate natural habitats into 
the agricultural landscape. In Iowa, federal funds have 
stimulated a substantial commitment of resources 
from state and local governments, conservation 
organizations, and other partners to cooperatively 
implement successful wetland restoration programs 
in the most intensively drained part of the PPR and 
to reverse the trend of continued habitat loss. About 





61,185 acres (24,770 ha) have been acquired since 1987 
by public agencies for conservation and restoration 
of native vegetation communities, management of 
wildlife populations, and to provide outdoor recreation 
opportunities. Through acquisition of these lands, Iowa 
has protected 4,562 acres (1,850 ha) of existing wetlands. 
On other public lands 1,576 wetland basins totaling 8,718 






This photograph shows crop loss in a drained, farmed wetland. Most pothole 
wetlands have been drained with sub-surface tile rather than ditched (surface 
drained) or filled. Their footprints are still very visible on the landscape and 
restoration can be accomplished relatively simply. Photo courtesy of Iowa DNR. 



85 




Aerial view of Union Hills Waterfowl Production Area, 
Iowa — an example of a successful wetland complex 
restoration. Photo courtesy of Iowa DNR. 



acres (3,530 ha) have been restored. These acquisitions 
include more than 44,000 acres (17,800 ha) of uplands, 
the majority seeded to grasslands. 

Restoration of wetlands and associated uplands from 
row crops to grasslands is essential to the long-term 
conservation of wetland habitats and wildlife, especially 
upland nesting waterfowl and other water birds. These 
upland habitats also support an array of grassland birds, 
many of which are of special concern due to long-term 
population declines. 

Agricultural conservation programs have also been 
crucial to reestablishing wetland-grassland complexes. 
Currently, active Conservation Reserve Program 
(CRP) contracts for wetlands cover 77,574 acres (31,400 
ha) across the Iowa PPR. Estimated wetland acres 
total 22,580 (9,140 ha) with 54,994 acres (22.265 ha) 
of wetlands-associated grasslands seeded as wetland 
buffers. An additional 31,095 acres (12,590 ha) of upland 
and wetland have been protected under the Wetland 
Reserve Program easements on private land. The vast 
majority of these easements are perpetual, resulting in 
permanent protection for approximately 7,500 wetland 
acres (3,040 ha). These results do not include other 
CRP practices that provide additional wildlife habitats, 
especially grasslands. Many of these grassland acres 
are in the proximity of wetlands and provide nesting 
habitats for waterfowl and other upland-nesting 
migratory birds. 

Iowa has successfully built wetland-grassland complexes 
by focusing wetland restoration programs on 101 
priority areas that range from 1 to 59 square miles (2.6 



to 152.8 sq km). No single program can achieve the 
results desired for the PPR wetland complexes. The 
success depends on a coordinated program for both 
public and private lands. Land acquisition to establish 
long-term protection and active management in 
combination with perpetual easements and short term 
contracts on private lands will achieve the landscape- 
level habitat goals. 

Through planning, patience and partnerships, wetlands 
are becoming more common and appreciated in North- 
Central Iowa's agricultural landscape. 



Bordered on the east by the Mississippi River and on 
the west by the Missouri River, Iowa is centrally located 
along one of the most important migration routes in 
North America. The value of these wetlands during 



Wetland Reserve acres in central Iowa. 2005. 




86 



migration, particularly in spring, has received more 
attention. Continued increases in wetland quality and 
quantity in Iowa would benefit the breeding success of 
birds across a much larger geographic area. 

In Iowa it has become very important for rural and 
urban communities to observe how agriculture and 
wetlands can co-exist to benefit people. Wetland 
restoration activities have gained acceptance from 
Iowans, both economically and environmentally, and 
there is great potential to continue to restore wetlands 
and grasslands throughout Iowa. 

Todd Bishop 

Special Projects Coordinator, Wildlife Bureau 

Iowa Department of Natural Resources 



Map showing the footprints of drained wetland basins (blue) in the Prairie Pothole Region of Iowa. The potential for wetland restoration 
remains high. Image courtesy of the Iowa DNR. 






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Priority Areas 

Restorable Pothole Wetlands 



87 



A diversity of bird species including shorebirds and water birds migrate through Iowa and use wetland habitats for resting and feeding. 










iMiwi niUMM— 



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Monitoring 
Wetland 
Quantity and 
Quality — Beyond 
No-Net-Loss 

As noted earlier, this study tracked 
changes in wetland area and type 
(classification) and the causes of 
those changes with respect to land 
use (e.g., loss to urban development). 
Changes in wetland quality (function 
and condition) were not included. 

Monitoring wetland quality poses 
special challenges. Some states 
have already started to plan for this 
endeavor through the development 
of comprehensive studies to address 
both wetland quantity and quality. 
Minnesota has provided one 
example of the process now being 
undertaken. 13 



18 See the insert section on "Minnesota's 
Comprehensive Wetlands Monitoring 
Plan." 



Bald eagles (Haliaeetus leucocephalus) 
occupy a bald cypress tree at Reelfoot 
National Wildlife Refuge, Tennessee. 
Photo by David Haggard. 



89 



Tracking Wetlands Qunatity and Quality 



Minnesota's Comprehensive Wetland 
Assessment and Monitoring Strategy 



Minnesota, land of 10,000 lakes, is home to over 10 million acres of 
wetlands. Minnesota remains a wetland rich state, although the 
current wetland extent is about half of what was present before 
European settlement (Dahl 1990). Encouraged by government policies 
and subsidies in place until the early 1970s, landowners drained much 
of Minnesota to grow crops. Wetland loss was particularly acute in the 
prairie regions of the state, where more than 90 percent of the original 
wetlands have been drained. Although wetland drainage produced 
rich farmland and brought economic prosperity to the region, it has 
also had profound effects on water quality, fish and wildlife habitat, 
flooding frequency and recreational opportunities. 



Reflecting growing public appreciation of the value 
of the remaining wetlands, the Minnesota Wetland 
Conservation Act (WCA) was enacted in 1991. The Act 
established state policy to: 

■ achieve no net loss in the quantity, quality, and 
biological diversity of Minnesota's existing 
wetlands and 

■ increase the quantity, quality, and biological 
diversity of Minnesota's wetlands by restoring or 
enhancing degraded or drained wetlands. 

Due to actions resulting from the WCA and other state 

and federal programs, particularly 

the Swampbuster provisions of the 

Farm Bill, the rate of wetland loss 

has declined substantially. Tens of 

thousands of wetland acres have been 

restored or enhanced under state 

and federal voluntary conservation 

programs. To know if the state's 

wetland goals are being achieved, 

accurate accounting and current state 

specific status information is needed. 

As a first step toward addressing 
this problem, a group of Minnesota 
state agencies involved in wetland 
regulation and management (Pollution 
Control Agency, Department 



of Natural Resources, Board of Water and Soil 
Resources) applied for and received a USEPA State 
Wetlands Program Development Grant to develop a 
comprehensive wetland assessment, monitoring and 
mapping strategy. The objectives of this strategy 
are to provide an accurate, ongoing assessment of 
the statewide status and trends in wetland quantity 
and quality and to relate the observed changes to 
programmatic actions. 

Work on the strategy began in 2003 and the development 
effort is structured to include staff representation from 
the Pollution Control Agency, with assistance provided 



A wetland mitigation project, Minnesota, 2005. 







9U 



by the Department of Natural Resources and Board of 
Water and Soil Resources. A consortium of state and 
federal biologists, managers and stakeholders form the 
project's technical and oversight teams. 

Although Minnesota's wetland assessment and 
monitoring strategy is not yet fully developed, it is 
clear that many approaches will be needed to meet the 
project's objectives. The following key components have 
been identified: 

Stratified random sampling using remote imagery 

— This component of the monitoring and assessment 
strategy is an intensification of the Fish and Wildlife 
Service's status and trends effort for detecting changes 
in wetland quantity. Current tasks involve determining 
the number and distribution of plots necessary to obtain 
an accurate assessment of wetland gain and loss over 
time. Because wetlands are not uniformly distributed 
across the state, one task is how to best stratify the 
sampling design to enhance reporting accuracy within 
specified geographic areas. 

Updating Wetland maps — Although the sampling 
component will be useful in detecting trends over time, 
the best method for obtaining an accurate assessment 
of the current status of wetlands is through a mapping 
effort. Hence, the strategy calls for using Fish and 
Wildlife Service protocols to develop updated wetland 
maps for the state. Due to the expense of this component 
($6-7 million for the state), the update would likely be 
done in phases over several years. In rapidly developing 
areas and in parts of the state where restoration 
programs are most active, periodic updates of the maps 
will complement the random sampling component in 
assessing gains and losses. 

Wetland quality assessment — Several methods for 
assessing wetland quality status and trends are being 
explored. These include landscape assessments, such as 
the Landscape Development Index (Brown and Vivas 
2005) and site-specific methods as Indexes of Biological 
Integrity (plant and invertebrate IBIs have already been 
developed for depressional wetlands in Minnesota), and 
functional value assessments as the Minnesota Routine 
Assessment Method. It is likely that the final strategy 
will identify a mix of wetland quality assessment 
protocols and will probably utilize the random sampling 
plots described above. 

Integrated wetland database — One reason for 
Minnesota's current inability to accurately report net 
wetland gain/loss is that there are so many agencies and 
groups involved in wetland regulation and restoration 
and there is no coordination among their various project 
tracking systems. For example, a particular wetland 



impact may be regulated under the state WCA and by 
the Corps of Engineers under the Section 404 program. 
Hence, when compiling agency accomplishment reports, 
the same impact may be counted twice. A similar 
situation occurs for wetland restorations having multiple 
partners. The assessment and monitoring strategy 
also calls for developing an integrated wetland project 
database that will import project data from various 
agency and program tracking systems. The database 
will be geo-referenced, so that a proposed gain or loss 
shows as a single project, even if reported by more 
than one agency. The accumulated data in the database 
will complement the random sampling component in 
assessing overall wetland trends and will help relate 
the observed changes to various programs, providing a 
basis for assessing program effectiveness. As an initial 
step, the Board of Water and Soil Resources received 
a USE PA grant to develop an electronic wetland 
permitting/tracking system that would facilitate the 
capture of wetland project data. Complete development 
of an integrated wetland database will be a challenge, 
but is an important component of the comprehensive 
monitoring and assessment strategy. 

The assessment and monitoring strategy is scheduled 
to be completed by January 2006. Permanent, partial 
funding for implementation of the strategy is included in 
the state budget starting in fiscal year 2006. In addition, 
the USE PA recently awarded Minnesota a Wetland 
Demonstration Program Grant to provide additional 
start-up funding for three years. Work is anticipated 
to being on the random sampling component and some 
wetland mapping in the spring of 2006. 

Doug Norris 

Wetlands Program Coordinator 

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 

Ecological Services Division, St. Paul, MN 

Mark Gernes 

Minnesota Pollution Control Agencv 

St. Paul, MN 



Minnesota 




DEPARTMENT OF 
NATURAL RESOURCES 




Minnesota Pollution Control Agency 



91 



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Summary 



'ypress and other wetland 
egetation fringe the edge of a lake. 



This study measured trends in 
wetland acreage in the conterminous 
United States between 1998 and 
2004. The Cowardin et al (1979) 
wetland definition was used to 
describe wetland types. Wetland 
trends were measured through 
the acquisition and analysis of 
contemporary remotely sensed 
imagery for 4,682 randomly 
selected sample plots throughout 
the conterminous United States. 
Field verification was completed for 
32 percent of the sample areas in 
portions of 35 states. This provided 
a scientifically grounded analysis 
of the aerial extent of all wetlands 
in the lower 48 states, regardless of 
ownership. 

The wetland goals of the United 
States have traditionally been based 
on wetland acreage and the ability 
to provide a quantitative measure 
of the extent of wetland area to 
gauge progress toward achieving 
the national goal of "no-net-loss." 
This latest study provides scientific 
and statistical results that led to 
the conclusion that wetland acreage 
gains acquired through restoration 
and creation have outdistanced 
losses. Between 1998 and 2004 there 
was a net gain of 191,750 wetland 
acres (77,630 ha). This equated 
to an average annual net gain of 
32,000 acres (12,900 ha). Factors 
contributing to this included: 
Creation of almost 700,000 acres 
(282,000 ha) of open water ponds, 
agricultural conservation programs, 
land set-asides, retirement 
programs, disincentives for wetland 
drainage, wetland restoration 
and creation programs that have 
involved partners especially on 
conservation lands, education and 
awareness about wetland values 
and functions and, federal and state 
wetland management programs. 



Contributing to the net gain in 
wetland area was a reduction in 
the overall rate of human-induced 
wetland loss. However, vegetated 
wetlands, particularly estuarine 
and freshwater emergent wetlands, 
continued to be destroyed albeit at 
a reduced rate. These wetlands are 
important to a number of wildlife 
species and additional efforts to 
ensure restoration of these habitats 
are needed in the future. 

This report does not draw 
conclusions regarding trends in the 
quality of the nation's wetlands. The 
Status and Trends Study collects 
data on wetland acreage gains and 
losses, as it has for the past 50 years. 
However, it is timely to examine 
the quality, function, and condition 
of such wetland acreage. Such an 
examination will be undertaken 
by agencies participating in the 
President's Wetlands Initiative. 

Estuarine and Marine Wetlands 

Three major categories of estuarine 
and marine wetlands were included 
in this study: estuarine intertidal 
emergents (salt and brackish water 
marshes), estuarine shrub wetlands 
(mangrove swamps or mangles and 
other salt tolerant woody species) 
and estuarine and marine intertidal 
non-vegetated wetlands. 

This study estimated that in 2004 
there were slightly more than 5.3 
million acres (2.1 million ha) of 
marine and estuarine wetlands in 
the conterminous United States. 
Estuarine emergent (salt marsh) 
made up an estimated 73 percent of 
all estuarine and marine wetlands. 
Estuarine shrub wetlands made 
up 13 percent and non-vegetated 
saltwater wetlands 14 percent by 
area. 



93 



Estuarine vegetated wetlands 
declined by an estimated 32,400 
acres (13,120 ha) between 1998 
and 2004. Estuarine non-vegetated 
wetlands experienced a net gain of 
an estimated 4,000 ac (2,390 ha). The 
overriding factor in the decline of 
estuarine and marine wetlands was 
loss of emergent salt marsh to open 
saltwater systems. 

Freshwater Wetlands 

An estimated 95 percent of all 
wetlands were in the freshwater 
system. Among freshwater 
wetlands, forested wetlands made 
up an estimated 51 percent of the 
total area. Freshwater emergent 
wetland made up 25.5 percent, shrub 
wetlands 17 percent and freshwater 
ponds 6.5 percent by area. Almost 
all net gains of wetland observed 
between 1998 and 2004 were in 
freshwater wetland types. 

The estimated area of freshwater 
forested wetland increased by 
548,200 acres (221,950 ha) between 



1998 and 2004. These changes 
resulted from succession from 
shrub wetlands to forested wetland. 
Freshwater shrubs and emergent 
wetlands declined between 1998 and 
2004. 

Freshwater emergent wetlands 
declined by an estimated 142,570 
acres (57,720 ha), most have 
been lost to agriculture. Wetland 
restorations helped ameliorate some 
wetland losses, but small wetlands or 
smaller portions of larger wetlands 
continued to be destroyed. Findings 
indicated that eighty five percent of 
all freshwater wetland losses were 
wetlands less than 5.0 acres (2.0 ha). 
Fifty two percent were wetlands less 
than 1.0 acre (0.4 ha). 

There was a substantial increase in 
the number of open water ponds as 
pond area increased by an estimated 
12.6 percent. Without the increased 
pond acreage, wetland gains would 
not have surpassed wetland losses 
during the timeframe of this study. 
Although increases in pond acreage 



were important in meeting the 
national wetland quantity goals, 
creation of some types of ponds may 
not meet the wetland quality goals 
established in 2004. Ponds created 
as mitigation for the loss of some 
vegetated wetland types are not an 
equivalent replacement for those 
wetlands. Gauging the functional 
value of ponds and predicting their 
long term viability will require 
additional work. 

Certain regions of the country 
experienced larger changes than 
others. Florida and Louisiana were 
more prominent in the estimated 
amount of wetland lost and gained 
between 1998 and 2004. Other 
regions undergoing rapid changes 
(losses or gains) warrant future 
monitoring of wetland trends. 
The Fish and Wildlife Service, 
in fulfillment of the President's 
2004 directive, will work with 
other federal and state partners to 
complete wetland status and trend 
reports to address these and other 
priority areas. 



^Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, Idaho. Photo by John and Karen Hollingsivortk 




94 



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hydrology. Part 1. General surface 
water techniques. U.S. Geological 
Survey, Water Supply Paper 
1541-A 29 p. 

Lewis, J. 2005. Pond Ecology. Yale-New 
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Lillesand, T.M. and R.W Kieffer. 1987. 
Remote Sensing and Image 
Interpretation 2 nd edition. John 
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Louisiana Geological Survey and 

Environmental Protection Agency. 
1987. Saving Louisiana's coastal 
wetlands: the need for a long-term 
plan of action. U.S. Environmental 
Protection Agency, EPA-230-02- 
87-026. Washington D.C. 

Louisiana State University. 2005. 

Louisiana Coastal Issues, www. 
publichealth. hurricane. Isu. edu. 

Mitsch, WJ. and J.G. Gosselink. 1993. 
Wetlands (2 ml edition). Van 
Norstrand Reinhold, New York, 
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Moorman, T. 2005. America's Marsh. 
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National Marine Fisheries Service. 
2004. Fisheries of the United 
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and Atmospheric Administration, 
National Marine Fisheries 
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National Oceanic and Atmospheric 
Administration. 2001. Wetlands 
and fish: Catch the link. National 
Marine Fisheries Service, Office 
of Habitat Conservation, Silver 
Spring, MD. 48 p. 



National Research Council. 1995. 
Wetlands: Characteristics and 
boundaries. Committee on 
Characterization of Wetlands, 
Water Science and Technology 
Board. National Academy Press, 
Washington, D.C. 268 p. 

Ney, John J. and Louis A. Helfrich. 2003. 
Sustaining America's aquatic 
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Institute and State University, 
Dept of Fisheries and Wildlife 
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Odum, WE. and C.C. Mclvor. 1990. 
Mangroves. In. R.L. Myers and 
J.J. Ewel (eds.). Ecosystems of 
Florida. University of Central 
Florida Press, Orlando, pp. 
517-548. 

Orth, R.J., K.A. Moore and J.F Nowak. 
1990. Monitoring Seagrass 
distribution and abundance 
patterns: A case study from the 
Chesapeake Bay. In: S.J. Kiraly, 
FA. Cross and J.D. Buffington 
(eds.). Federal coastal wetland 
mapping programs. Biol. Rept. 
90 (18). Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Washington, D.C. pp. 111-123. 

Philipson, W (editor) 1996. Manual 
of Photographic Interpretat ion 
(Second edition). American Society 
for Photogrammetry and Remote 
Sensing. Bethesda, MD 

Patience, N. and V Klemas. 1993. 
Wetland Functional health 
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search. U.S. Department of 
Commerce, National Oceanic 
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National Marine Fisheries 
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1988 National Summary. Biol. 
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244 p. 

Sarndal, C-E., B. Swensson and J. 
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Shaw, S.R and C G. Fredine. 1956. 
Wetlands of the United States. 
Circular 39, Department of the 
Interior, Fish and Wildlife Service, 
Washington, D.C. 67 p. 

Spalding, M.D., F Blasco and CD. Field 
(eds.). 1997. World Mangrove 
Atlas. The International Soc. for ' 
Mangrove Ecosystems, Okinawa, 
Japan. 178 p. 



% 



Taylor, A.K., R Sprott and F. J. Mazzotti. 
2002. The vital link between land 
and water: The importance of 
uplands for protecting wetland 
functions. Wildlife Ecology 
and Conservation Department, 
University of Florida, Florida 
Cooperative Extension Service, 
Institute of Food and Agricultural 
Sciences, University of Florida, 
Gainesville, FL. WEC45. 

The Conservation Foundation. 1988. 

Protecting America's wetlands: an 
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Thompson, S.K. 1992. Sampling. John 
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NY. 

Tiner, R.W 1996. Wetlands, In: Manual 
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Tiner, R.W. 1990. Use of high- 
altitude aerial photography for 
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Tulane University. 2004. Louisiana 

coastal Land Loss(q wwrntulane. 
edu 

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U.S. Department of Agriculture. 1975. 
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U.S. Department of Agriculture, 

Natural Resources Conservation 
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Inventory Annual Report, 2004. 
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Washington, D.C. 



U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. 
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R-03/002 

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Technical Procedures for 
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U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1996. The 
South Florida Ecosystem. U.S. 
Fish and Wildlife Service — South 
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Continuous wetlands trend 
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(photo-interpretation and 
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Status and Trends, Branch of 
Habitat Assessment, Fish and 
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60 p. 



U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. 1994b. 
Technical specifications and 
protocols for Status and Trends 
digital files. Wetland Status 
and Trends, Branch of Habitat 
Assessment, Fish and Wildlife 
Service, Washington, D.C. 35 p. 
plus appendices. 

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USGS reports new wetland 
loss from Hurricane Katrina 
in Southeastern Louisiana. 
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Sept. 14, 2005. 

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photography of post Hurricane 
Katrina. iviviv.lacoad.gov. 
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Center, Lafayette, LA. 

Watmough, M.D., D.W. Ingstrup, D.C. 
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Prairie Habitat Joint Venture 
Habitat Monitoring Program 
Phase 1: Recent habitat trends 
in NAWMP targeted landscapes. 
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391, Canadian Wildlife Service, 
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada. 93 p. 

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healthy economy: A national 
overview of America's coasts. 
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Washington, D.C. 

Williams, S.J. 1995. Louisiana coastal 
wetlands: A resource at risk. U.S, 
Geological Survey, Marine and 
Coastal Geology Program, Reston, 
VA. 

Williams, Z., Z.S. Pinson, R.R Stumpf 
and E.A. Raabe. 1995. Sea-level 
rise and coastal forests on the 
Gulf of Mexico. Department of the 
Interior, U.S. Geological Survey. 
Open-File Report 99-441. 87 p. 

Zinn, J.A. and C. Copeland. 2002. 
Wetland Issues. Issue Brief 
for Congress — Resources, 
Science and Industry Division, 
Congressional Research Service, 
The Library of Congress IB97014. 
15 p. 



97 



Acknowledgement of Cooperators 



The Fish and Wildlife Service is indebted to the following agencies and organizations who have provided 
services, expertise and assistance over the course of this study. 



Florida Resource and Environmental Analysis 

Center 

Florida State University 

Tallahassee, Florida 

Space Imaging Corporation 
Thornton, Colorado 

Digital Globe Corporation 
Longmont, Colorado 80503 

Eastern Geographic Science Center 
Advanced Systems Center 
U.S. Geological Survey 
Reston, Virginia 

Commercial Partnerships Team 
U.S. Geological Survey 
Rolla, Missouri 

Office of Water Information 
U.S. Geological Survey 
Madison, Wisconsin 



Colorado State University 
Fort Collins, Colorado 

Minnesota Land Management Information System 
Minnesota Geographic Data Clearinghouse 
St. Paul, Minnesota 

Minnesota Pollution Control Agency — Biological 

Monitoring Unit 

Environmental Outcomes Division 

St. Paul, Minnesota 

Minnesota Department of Natural Resources 
St. Paul, Minnesota 

Minnesota Board of Water and Soil Resources 
St. Paul, Minnesota 

Canadian Wildlife Service 
Environmental Conservation Branch 
Prairie and Northern Region 
Edmonton, Alberta 
Canada 



The National Map 
U.S. Geological Survey 
Reston, Virginia 



Office of Science 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

Arlington, Virginia 



Aeromap Corporation 
Anchorage, Alaska 



Pheasants Forever 
St. Paul, Minnesota 



St. Mary's University 
Geospatial Services Dept. 
Winona, Minnesota 

South Dakota State University 
Department of Wildlife and Fisheries 
Brookings, South Dakota 

Natural Resources Assessment Group 
University of Massachusetts 
Department of Plant & Soil Sciences 
Amherst, Massachusetts. 

U. S. Fish and Wildlife Sen ice 
Region 6 HAPET Office 
Bismarck, North Dakota 

Indiana Department of Environmental 

Management 

Indianapolis, Indiana 



IzaakWalton League of America, Inc. 
Gaithersburg, Maryland 

Iowa Department of Natural Resources 
Des Moines, Louisiana 

Kansas Water Office 
Topeka, Kansas 

Oregon Department of State Lands 
Salem, Oregon 

Michigan Department of Environmental Quality 
Lansing, Michigan 

Natural Resource Conservation Sen ice 
U.S. Department of Agriculture 
Washington, D.C. 



9b 



U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 
Washington, D.C. 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 
Washington, D.C. 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric 

Administration 

National Marine Fisheries Service 

Washington, D.C. 

Office of Management and Budget 
Washington, D.C. 

U.S. Department of Agriculture 
Farm Services Agency 
Washington, D.C. 

Association of State Wetland Managers 
Windham, Maine 

National Park Service — Cumberland Island 
National Seashore, Georgia 



Fishery Resources Office 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Onalaska, Wisconsin 

Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish 
Refuge — La Crosse District 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Onalaska, Wisconsin 

Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Chincoteague Island, Virginia 

Back Bay National Wildlife Refuge 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Virginia Beach, Virginia 

Edwin B. Forsythe National Wildlife Refuge 
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 
Oceanville, New Jersey 

Mr. Justin Miner 

SWCA Environmental Consultants 

Portland, Oregon 



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Cypress Creek National Wildlife Refuge. Photo courtesy of the FWS. 



99 



A shrub bog in northern Wisconsin, 2005. 





Appendix A. 

Definitions of Habitat Categories Used by 

Status and Trends 



Wetlands 



1 



In general terms, wetlands are lands where saturation with water is the dominant factor 
determining the nature of soil development and the types of plant and animal communities 
living in the soil and on its surface. The single feature that most wetlands share is soil or 
substrate that is at least periodically saturated with or covered by water. The water creates 
severe physiological problems for all plants and animals except those that are adapted for 
life in water or in saturated soil. 

Wetlands are lands transitional between terrestrial and aquatic systems 
where the water table is usually at or near the surface or the land is 
covered by shallow water. For purposes of this classification wetlands 
must have one or more of the following three attributes: (1) at least 
periodically, the land supports predominantly hydrophytes, 2 (2) the 
substrate is predominantly undrained hydric soil, 5 and (3) the substrate is 
non-soil and is saturated with water or covered by shallow water at some 
time during the growing season of each year. 

The term wetland includes a variety of areas that fall into one of five categories: (1) areas 
with hydrophytes and hydric soils, such as those commonly known as marshes, swamps, 
and bogs; (2) areas without hydrophytes but with hydric soils — for example, flats where 
drastic fluctuation in water level, wave action, turbidity, or high concentration of salts may 
prevent the growth of hydrophytes; (3) areas with hydrophytes but non-hydric soils, such 
as margins of impoundments or excavations where hydrophytes have become established 
but hydric soils have not yet developed; (4) areas without soils but with hydrophytes such 
as the seaweed-covered portions of rocky shores; and (5) wetlands without soil and without 
hydrophytes, such as gravel beaches or rocky shores without vegetation. 

Marine System The marine system consists of the open ocean overlying the continental 

shelf and its associated high energy coastline. Marine habitats are 
exposed to the waves and currents of the open ocean. Salinity exceeds 30 
parts per thousand, with little or no dilution except outside the mouths 
of estuaries. Shallow coastal indentations or bays without appreciable 
freshwater inflow and coasts with exposed rocky islands that provide 
the mainland with little or no shelter from wind and waves, are also 
considered part of the Marine System because they generally support 
typical marine biota. 

Estuarine System The estuarine system consists of deepwater tidal habitats and adjacent 

tidal wetlands that are usually semi-enclosed by land but have open, 
partly obstructed, or sporadic access to the open ocean, and in which 
ocean water is at least occasionally diluted by freshwater runoff from 
the land. The salinity may be periodically increased above that of the 
open ocean by evaporation. Along some low energy coastlines there is 
appreciable dilution of sea water. Offshore areas with typical estuarine 
plants and animals, such as red mangroves (Rhizophora mangle) 

' Adapted from Cowardin et al. 1979. 

: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has published the list of plant species that occur in wetlands of the United States 

(Reed 1988). 

3 The U.S. Department of Agriculture has developed the list of hydric soils for the United States (U.S. Department of 

Agriculture 1991). 

101 



and eastern oysters (Crassostrea virginica), are also included in the 
Estuarine System. 

Marine and Estuarine Subsystems 

Subtidal The substrate is continuously submerged by marine or estuarine waters. 

Intertidal The substrate is exposed and flooded by tides. Intertidal includes the splash 
zone of coastal waters. 



Palustrine 
System 



The palustrine (freshwater) system includes all non-tidal wetlands 
dominated by trees, shrubs, persistent emergents, emergent mosses or 
lichens, farmed wetlands, and all such wetlands that occur in tidal areas 
where salinity due to ocean-derived salts is below 0.5 parts per thousand. It 
also includes wetlands lacking such vegetation, but with all of the following 
four characteristics: (1) area less than 20 acres (8 ha); (2) an active wave 
formed or bedrock shoreline features are lacking; (3) water depth in the 
deepest part of basin less than 6.6 feet (2 meters) at low water; and 
(4) salinity due to ocean derived salts less than 0.5 parts per thousand. 



Classes 



Unconsolidated Bottom 



Aquatic Bed 



Rocky Shore 



Unconsolidated Shore 



Emergent Wetland 



Shrub Wetland 



Unconsolidated bottom includes all wetlands with at least 
25 percent cover of particles smaller than stones, and a 
vegetative cover less than 30 percent. Examples of 
unconsolidated substrates are: sand, mud, organic 
material, cobble gravel. 

Aquatic beds are dominated by plants that grow 
principally on or below the surface of the water for most 
of the growing season in most years. Examples include 
seagrass beds, pondweeds (Potamogeton spp.), wild 
celery (Vallisneria americana), watereed (Elodea spp.), 
and duckweed (Lemna spp.). 

Rocky shore includes all wetland environments 
characterized by bedrock, stones, or boulders which singly 
or in combination have an areal cover of 75 percent or 
more and an areal vegetative coverage of less than 30 
percent. 

Unconsolidated shore includes all wetland habitats having 
two characteristics: (1) unconsolidated substrates with less 
than 75 percent areal cover of stones, boulders or bedrock 
and; (2) less than 30 percent areal cover of vegetation 
other than pioneering plants. 

Emergent wetlands are characterized by erect, rooted, 
herbaceous hydrophytes, excluding mosses and lichens. 
This vegetation is present for most of the growing season 
in most years. These wetlands are usually dominated by 
perennial plants. 

Shrub wetlands include areas dominated by woody 
vegetation less than 20 feet (6 meters) tall. The species 
include true shrubs, young trees, and trees or shrubs that 
are small or stunted because of environmental conditions. 






10k 



Forested Wetland 



Farmed Wetland 



Forested wetlands are characterized by woody 
vegetation that is 20 feet (6 meters) tall or taller. 

Farmed wetlands are wetlands that meet the Cowardin 
et at. definition where the soil surface has been 
mechanically or physically altered for production of crops, 
but where hydrophytes will become reestablished if 
farming is discontinued. 



Deepwater Habitats 



Wetlands and deepwater habitats are defined separately because the term wetland has not 
included deep permanent water bodies. For conducting status and trends studies, Riverine 
and Lacustrine were considered deepwater habitats. Elements of Marine or Estuarine 
systems can be wetland or deepwater. Palustrine includes only wetland habitats. 

Deepwater habitats are permanently flooded land lying below the deepwater boundary of 
wetlands. Deepwater habitats include environments where surface water is permanent and 
often deep, so that water, rather than air, is the principal medium in which the dominant 
organisms live, whether or not they are attached to the substrate. As in wetlands, the 
dominant plants were hydrophytes; however, the substrates were considered non-soil 
because the water is too deep to support emergent vegetation (U.S. Department of 
Agriculture 1975). 



Riverine System 



Lacustrine System 



The riverine system includes deepwater habitats contained within a 
channel, with the exception of habitats with water containing ocean 
derived salts in excess of 0.5 parts per thousand. A channel is "an open 
conduit either naturally or artificially created which periodically or 
continuously contains moving water, or which forms a connecting link 
between two bodies of standing water" (Langbein and Iseri 1960). 

The lacustrine system includes deepwater habitats with all of the 
following characteristics: (1) situated in a topographic depression or a 
dammed river channel; (2) lacking trees, shrubs, persistent emergents, 
emergent mosses or lichens with greater than 30 percent coverage; (3) 
total area exceeds 20 acres (8 ha). 



Uplands 

Agriculture 4 



Urban 



Agricultural land may be defined broadly as land used primarily for 
production of food and fiber. Agricultural activity is evidenced by 
distinctive geometric field and road patterns on the landscape and the 
traces produced by livestock or mechanized equipment. Examples of 
agricultural land use include cropland and pasture; orchards, groves, 
vineyards, nurseries, cultivated lands, and ornamental horticultural 
areas including sod farms; confined feeding operations; and other 
agricultural land including livestock feed lots, farmsteads including 
houses, support structures (silos) and adjacent yards, barns, poultry 
sheds, etc. 

Urban land is comprised of areas of intensive use in which much of 
the land is covered by structures (high building density). Urbanized 
areas are cities and towns that provide the goods and services needed 
to survive by modern day standards through a central business 
district. Services such as banking, medical and legal office buildings, 



4 Adapted from Anderson et al. 1976. 



103 



Forested Plantation 



Rural Development 



Other Land Use 



supermarkets, and department stores make up the business center 
of a city. Commercial strip developments along main transportation 
routes, shopping centers, contiguous dense residential areas, industrial 
and commercial complexes, transportation, power and communication 
facilities, city parks, ball fields and golf courses can also be included in 
the urban category. 

Forested plantations include areas of planted and managed forest 
stands. Planted pines, Christmas tree farms, clear cuts, and other 
managed forest stands, such as hardwood forestry are included in 
this category. Forested plantations can be identified by observing the 
following remote sensing indicators: 1) trees planted in rows or blocks; 
2) forested blocks growing with uniform crown heights; and 3) logging 
activity and use patterns. 

Rural developments occur in sparse rural and suburban settings outside 
distinct urban cities and towns. They are characterized by non-intensive 
land use and sparse building density. Typically, a rural development 
is a cross-roads community that has a corner gas station and a 
convenience store which are surrounded by sparse residential housing 
and agriculture. Scattered suburban communities located outside of a 
major urban center can also be included in this category as well as some 
industrial and commercial complexes; isolated transportation, power, and 
communication facilities; strip mines; quarries; and recreational areas 
such as golf courses, etc. Major highways through rural development 
areas are included in the rural development category. 

Other land use is composed of uplands not characterized by the 
previous categories. Typically these lands would include native prairie; 
unmanaged or non-patterned upland forests, conservation lands and 
scrub lands; and barren land. Lands in transition may also fit into this 
category. Transitional lands are lands in transition from one land use 
to another. They generally occur in large acreage blocks of 40 acres 
(16 ha) or more and are characterized by the lack of any remote sensor 
information that would enable the interpreter to reliably predict future 
use. The transitional phase occurs when wetlands are drained, ditched, 
filled, leveled, or the vegetation has been removed and the area is 
temporarily bare. 



104 



Appendix B. 

Hammond (1970) Physiographic Regions of the 

United States 




■ 

E 
E 
E 







L«] 



Coast Ranges 

Putjet Willamette Lowland 

Cascade Klamath Sierra Nevada Ranges 

Central Valley of California 

Columbia Basin 

Blue Mountains 

Harney and Owyhee Broken Lands 

Basin and Range Area 

Northern Rocky Mountains 

Snake River Lowland 

Middle Rocky Mountains 

Wyoming Big Horn Basins 

Colorado River Plateaus 

Upper Gila Mountains 

North Central Lake Swamp Moraine Plains 

Upper Missouri Basin Broken Lands 



17 Southern Rocky Mountains 

|l8j Rocky Mountain Piedmont 

pJ9J High Plains 

1 20 1 Stockton Balcones Escarpment 

|21 1 Dakota Minnesota Drift and Lake Bed Flats 

[22] Nebraska Sand Hills 

[23] West Central Rolling Hills 

1 24 1 Midcontinent Plains and Escarpments 

J 25 1 Southwest Wisconsin Hills 

[26] Middle Western Upland Plain 



1 27 J Ozark Ouachita Highlands 

|~28~| Lower Mississippi Alluvial Plain 

[29] East Central Drift and Lake Bed Flats 

|30| Eastern Interior Uplands and Basins 

I31J Appalachian Highlands 

|32| Adirondack New England Highlands 

[33] Lower New England 

[34] Gulf Atlantic Rolling Plain 

[35] Gulf Atlantic Coastal Flats 

[36 J Coastal Zone 



105 



Appendix C. 



This table presents estimates of acreage by classification and the number of acres that changed 
classification between 1998 and 2004. The rows identify the 2004 classification. The columns 
identify the classification and acreage of 1998. The number under the acreage estimate for each 
entry is the percentage coefficient variation for that estimate. 

























1998 Classificati 




Saltwater Habitats 


Freshwat 






Marine 
Subtidal 


Marine 
Intertidal 


Estuarine 
Subtidal 


Estuarine 
Aquatic Bed 


Estuarine 
Emergents 


Estuarine 

Forested 

Shrub 


Estuarine 
Unconsoli- 
dated Shore 


Palustrine 
Aquatic Bed 


Palustrine 
Emergents 


Palustrini 
Forested 


e 
o 

.5 

(0 

> 
o 

c 

,2 
o 

£ 

0) 


u 

c 
s 



b 

s 

0. 

■o 
e 
a 

0) 

a 

(0 
0) 

u 

< 

■o 



« 
E 

t? 

LU 

e 
o 

o 
w 

V) 

u 

o 
o 


Saltwater 
Habitats 


Marine 
Subtidal 


2178861 
32 


499 
62 








191 
95 





57 
68 











Marine 
Intertidal 


4240 
44 


125534 
21 


181 
73 








18 
95 


297 
62 











Estuarine 
Subtidal 


262 

61 


201 

48 


17634884 
2 


873 
95 


19548 
39 


424 
91 


20049 

24 





6 
97 





Estuarine 
Aquatic Bed 











30849 
27 




















Estuarine 
Emergents 


739 

47 


1428 
41 


48356 
12 


319 

72 


3861358 

4 


1590 
43 


5882 
34 





139 

89 





Estuarine 

Forested 

Shrub 


88 
95 


23 

77 


630 

29 








679255 
13 


936 

52 











Estuarine 
Unconsoli- 
dated Shore 


300 

56 


285 
52 


19468 
45 





2768 
35 


293 

55 


539881 
11 











Freshwater 
Habitats 


Palustrine 
Aquatic Bed 























240385 
12 


12429 
34 


c 

c 


Palustrine 
Emergents 








1408 
47 


376 
100 


1636 
73 





90 
92 


24645 

44 


24661561 

8 


1734C 

1 


Palustrine 
Forested 








53 

80 





895 
103 








4081 

57 


387948 
13 


492463E 


Palustrine 
Shrub 








93 
95 





9 
95 


476 
95 


131 
95 


1172 
47 


403394 
17 


25967J 


Palustrine 
Unconsoli- 
dated Bottom 























8560 
31 


138847 
15 


20( 
t 


Palustrine 
Unconsoli- 
dated Shore 


























3799 
51 


24 


Deepwater 
Habitats 


Lacustrine 








8246 
66 





2036 
96 





33 
95 


2084 

87 


167452 
43 





Riverine 








463 

89 

















14312 
49 


21£ 


Uplands 


Agriculture 








30 
51 


19 
104 


155 
104 








3558 
43 


216018 
23 


29< 


Urban 








1604 
66 





74 
73 








12 
98 


896 

49 


It 
c 


Upland 
Forested 
Plantation 























202 
100 


2331 

45 


c 


Upland 

Rural 

Development 








56 

84 

















6297 
61 


4$ 
1( 


Other 


121 
62 


606 

54 


2352 
38 





867 
53 


142 
65 


171 
51 


6183 
64 


131560 
37 


67c 




Acreage Totals, 2004 


2184611 
32 


128577 
20 


17717824 
2 


32436 
26 


3889536 
4 


682197 
12 


567531 
10 


290880 
11 


26146988 
8 


5203136 



106 



and Acreage 




















Habitats 


Deepwater Habitats 


Uplands 




Paiu strine 

Shrub 


Palustrine 
Unconsolid- 
ated Bottom 


Palustrine 
Unconsoli- 
dated Shore 


Lacustrine 


Riverine 


Agriculture 


Urban 


Upland 
Forested 
Plantation 


Upland 

Rural 

Development 


Other 


Acreage Totals, 
1998 


































2179608 
32 


Marine 
Subtidal 


























17 
94 


163 
95 


130449 
20 


Marine 
Intertidal 





75 
62 


224 
94 


1690 
95 








1511 
68 





3 
95 


780 
59 


17680530 

2 


Estuarine 
Subtidal 
































30849 
27 


Estuarine 
Aquatic Bed 


10 

95 


83 
53 


3 
95 





33 

94 





1489 
54 





94 
50 


1245 

44 


3922768 
4 


Estuarine 
Emergents 





45 
70 














67 
58 





330 

85 


18 
95 


681392 

12 


Estuarine 

Forested 

Shrub 


63 

95 


3 
96 


24 
94 


30 
95 








47 

75 





72 
84 





563235 

11 


Estuarine 
Unconsoli- 
dated Shore 


1955 

83 


9199 
35 





378 
58 


1627 
99 


852 
60 


268 

68 





93 
59 


197 
100 


267438 

12 


Palustrine 

Aquatic 

Bed 


639172 
12 


151138 
31 


1489 
43 


230166 

28 


6673 
33 


330434 

19 


23947 
29 


19141 
30 


18648 
27 


5630 
26 


26289557 
8 


Palustrine 
Emergents 


1446340 
15 


60318 
25 


865 

45 


5424 
54 


21282 
49 


103237 
45 


64901 
25 


23211 
31 


84521 
29 


33705 
29 


51483138 
3 


Palustrine 
Forested 


15392357 
4 


30642 
19 


1303 

57 


10857 
41 





59492 
32 


22472 
28 





16685 
22 


6361 

29 


18542204 
4 


Palustrine 
Shrub 


18354 
23 


4989715 
4 


4321 
30 


14027 

47 


16985 
70 


28489 
17 


12467 
19 


1120 
54 


16332 

24 


15595 
20 


5266822 
4 


Palustrine 
Unconsoli- 
dated Bottom 


1351 
55 


9825 
41 


362130 

17 


2385 
99 





1001 

46 


333 

58 


118 
81 


1026 
51 


2197 
55 


384405 
16 


Palustrine 
Unconsoli- 
dated Shore 


35656 

77 


1110 
52 


5892 

87 


16364215 
10 


4552 
97 


2543 
56 


527 
63 





10331 

88 


5834 
66 


16610509 
10 


Lacustrine 


38043 
33 


4423 
80 





184 
84 


6696806 
9 


188 
85 


106 
100 





85 
98 


8782 
59 


6765520 
9 


Riverine 


43040 
54 


315332 
9 


13091 
40 


59372 
35 


11862 
38 














Agriculture 


6 
95 


35526 
31 


335 

94 


1689 
50 


73 

98 














Urban 


375 

71 


21302 
21 


1304 
84 


9401 
94 

















Upland 
Forested 
Plantation 


1008 
96 


77853 
42 


764 
53 


6562 
40 


1351 
90 














Upland 

Rural 

Development 


23706 
54 


232206 
10 


1254 
41 


67027 
40 


52024 
37 














Other 


17641435 
4 


5938765 

4 


404300 
16 


16773407 
10 


6813268 
9 














Acreage 
Totals, 2004 



107 



Appendix D. 

Representative Wetland Restoration 

Programs and Activities 



Within the Federal Government, there exist a number of agencies and organizations working to restore aquatic 
habitats and values they provide to society. The number of stream, river, lake, wetland and estuary restoration 
projects is steadily increasing. Current federal initiatives call for a wide range of restoration actions, including 
improving or restoring stream corridors, elimination of invasive species, and restoration (re-establishment) of 
wetland area and functions. Some of the prominent federal agencies and programs that conduct wetland restoration 
are listed below. 1 



Key Federal Agencies 

Department of the Interior 

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service 

Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program 

Coastal Program 

National Wildlife Refuge System 

North American Wetlands Conservation Program 

National Coastal Wetlands Grant Program 

Fish and Wildlife Management Assistance 

Fisheries Resource Program 

North American Waterfowl Management Plan 

Federal Duck Stamp Program 

Office of Migratory Bird Management 

Jobs in the Woods Watershed Restoration Program 

Endangered Species Recovery Program 

The Natural Resource Damage Assessment and Restoration Program 

Wildlife and Sport Fish Restoration Programs, Division of Federal Assistance 
The Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act (Pittman-Robertson Act) 
The Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act (Dingell- Johnson Act) 

National Park Service 

National Park Service Exotic Plant Management Program 
Wetlands Program 

Bureau of Land Management 

Land Acquisition Program 

Interior Columbia Basin Ecosystem Management Project 

Riparian Conservation Areas Program 

PACFISH and INFISH Programs 

Bureau of Reclamation 

Stream Corridor Restoration 
Resource Management and Planning 

1 Partial listing 



108 



Geological Survey 

Water Program 

National Water Quality Assessment Program (NAWQA) 
Biological Resources Program 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency 

Clean Water Act State Revolving Fund 

Five-Star Restoration Program 

Non-point Source Implementation Grants (319 Program) 

National Estuary Program 

EPA Community-Based Environmental Protection 

Wetland Grants Program 

Clean Water Act Program 

U.S. Department of Agriculture 

Forest Service 

Northwest Forest Plan 
Taking Wing Program 
Wetlands Management Programs 
Land Acquisition Program 

Natural Resources Conservation Service 

Wetlands Reserve Program 
Conservation Technical Assistance Program 
Emergency Watershed Protection Program 
Environmental Quality Incentives Program 
Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Program 
Wildlife Habitat Incentives Program 
Farm and Ranchlands Protection Program 
Grasslands Reserve Program 

Farm Services Agency 

Conservation Reserve Program 

U.S. Department of Commerce 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration 

Coastal Zone Management Program 

National Marine Estuarine Reserve System 

Community Based Restoration Program 

Great Lakes Restoration Program 

Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program 

Sea Grant Program 

Damage Assessment and Restoration Program 

National Marine Fisheries Service 

Office of Habitat Assessment Programs 



109 



U.S. Department of Defense 

Interservice Environmental Education Review Board 

Conservation Programs on Military Reservations 

Cooperative agreements for land management on Department of Defense installations 

Natural resources and fish and wildlife management on military reservations 

Department of the Army 

Conservation Assistance Program 
Ecosystem Management Program 
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Program 

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers 

Ecosystem Management and Restoration Research Program 

Aquatic Ecosystem Restoration Program 

Clean Water Act Program 

Hamilton Airfield (CA) Wetlands Restoration Project 

Department of the Navy 

Environmental Restoration Programs 
Management of Natural Resources on Naval Bases 

U.S. Marine Corps 

Environmental Compliance Evaluation Program 
The Defense Environmental Restoration Program 

Department of the Air Force 

Federal Facility Environmental Restoration Program 
Base comprehensive planning activities 

Department of Homeland Security 

Federal Emergency Management Agencey 

National Flood Mapping Program 
National Flood Insurance Program 

Department of Energy 

Office of Environmental Management Program 

Office of Science Biological and Environmental Research 

Department of Transportation 

Federal Aviation and Transit Programs 

Federal Highway Administration 

Federal Highway Administration Programs 



110 



Extra-Governmental Organizations 

Coastal America 

Comprehensive Everglades Restoration Plan 

Tennessee Valley Authority 

Louisiana Coastal Area Environmental Restoration 

Federal Legislation, Directives or Other Mechanisms that 
Support Wetland Restoration 

Surplus Federal Property Transfer 

Migratory Bird Treaty 

Endangered Species Act 

Coastal Barrier Resources Act 

Coastal Zone Management Act 

Coastal Wetlands Planning, Protection, Restoration Act 

Food Security Act 

Clean Water Act 

Fish and Wildlife Coordination Act 

Water Resources Development Act 

Interanl Revenue Code 

National Environmental Policy Act 

RAMSAR Treaty 

Executive Order 11988 

Executive Order 11990 

Federal Aid in Sport Fish Restoration Act 

Federal Aid in Wildlife Restoration Act 

Land and Water Conservation Fund Act 

North American Wetlands Conservation Act 

Watershed Protection and Flood Prevention Act 

Native American Tribes 

Native American culture depends on healthy natural resources to support fishing and hunting. To protect their 
resources, tribes are developing various land conservation and aquatic resource restoration actions which consider 
the land uses, hydrology, and cultural issues for specific reservations. 



Ill 



Non-governmental Organizations with Active Wetland 
Restoration Programs or Partnerships 2 



American Fisheries Society 

American Rivers 

American Water Resources Association 

Association of State Floodplain Managers 

Association of State Wetland Managers 

Bass Anglers Sportsman Society 

Ducks Unlimited 

Isaac Walton League of American 

Trout Unlimited 

National Association of Conservation Districts 

National Association of Counties 

National Association of Service and Conservation Corps 

National Audobon Society 

National Fish and Wildlife Foundation 

Native Plant Society 

National Wildlife Federation 

Partners in Flight 

Pheasants Forever 

Restore America's Estuaries 

River Network 

State Waterfowl Associations 

The Biodiversity Partnership 

The Conservation Fund 

The Nature Conservancy 

The Sport Fishing and Boating Partnership Council 

Wildlife Habitat Council 



1 Partial list. 
112