12 Notes on Wetland Ecology part 1-1

12 Notes on Wetland Ecology part 1-1 - W Notes on Wetland...

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Best Management Practices for Wetlands Notes on Wetland Ecology 1 Notes on Wetland Ecology W etlands are part of a continuous landscape that grades from wet to dry. They are defined as those areas that are inundated or saturated by surface or groundwater at a frequency and duration sufficient to support—and that under normal circumstances do support—a prevalence of vegetation typically adapted for life in saturated soil conditions (CoQWS [34]), EPA, and Army Corp of Engineers). In some cases, riparian areas and floodplains may be included in wetland designations (EPA 1990). Three conditions must be satisfied before an area will be regulated as a wetland. The area must exhibit: • characteristically wet (hydric) soils, characterized by a low level of oxygen available for biologic purposes within the root zone; • permanent or periodic inundation or saturation of the soil; and • a preponderance of plants that can grow under these conditions. Hydric s oils have formed under conditions of saturation, flooding, or ponding long enough during the growing season to develop anaerobic conditions in the upper part (U.S. Department of Agriculture, Natural Resources [Soil] Conservation Service 1985). Hydric soils exhibit: • saturation (occurs when enough water is present to limit the diffusion of air into the soil, resulting in accumulation of a layer of decomposing organic matter), • reduction (occurs when oxygen is not available to soil microbes; microbes then cease to decompose the organic matter or substitute oxygen-containing iron compounds in their respiratory process), and • redoximorphic features (include grey layers and mottles which occur when iron compounds are reduced by microbes in anaerobic soils and carried away, leaving bare grey mineral soils; the iron tends to be oxidized elsewhere, leaving orange stains, usually at the seasonal high-water table.
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2 Notes on Wetland Ecology Colorado State Parks
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Best Management Practices for Wetlands Notes on Wetland Ecology 3 WETLAND FUNCTIONS Wetland classification is based on function. Functions that warrant site-specific protection include: • groundwater recharge or discharge, • flood-flow alteration, • sediment stabilization, • sediment or other pollutant retention, • nutrient removal or transformation, • biological diversity or uniqueness, • wildlife diversity of abundance, • aquatic life diversity or abundance, and • recreation. Where functions are mutually exclusive ( i.e. , wildlife abundance vs. recreation), protection is determined on a wetland-by-wetland basis, considering natural wetland characteristics and overall benefit to the watershed (CoWQS 3.1.13 [e][iv]). Classification on a site-specific basis is intended to maintain or restore appropriate wetland characteristics and functions, within the range of natural variation of the affected wetland (CoWQS 3.1.24 A2). Section 131.10(a) of the federal water quality
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12 Notes on Wetland Ecology part 1-1 - W Notes on Wetland...

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