Wetland Assessment Using the Hydric Soil Technical Standard

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Title: Wetland Assessment Using the Hydric Soil Technical Standard
Author: Burdette, Jennifer Ann
Advisors: Michael R. Burchell, Committee Member
Michael J. Vepraskas, Committee Co-Chair
Stephen W. Broome, Committee Co-Chair
Abstract: The National Technical Committee for Hydric Soils developed the Hydric Soil Technical Standard (HSTS) to identify a functioning wetland (hydric) soil using quantitative measurements of saturation and anaerobic conditions. We used the HSTS to assess wetland restoration success and to compare surface treatments designed to replicate microtopographic relief found in forested wetlands. Experiments were conducted on a wetland restored from agricultural fields in eastern NC where monitoring stations were installed across three surface treatments in the restored wetland: 1) a microtopography (MT) treatment created by roughing the soil surface to mimic the uneven surface of forested wetlands, 2) a crown removal treatment imposed by grading the field flat, and 3) a control treatment that had no surface alteration. Monitoring stations were also installed in a nearby nonriverine swamp forest as a reference wetland. Weekly measurements of water table depth and redox potential were collected for 15 months. Soil at all monitoring stations met the HSTS, indicating that functioning hydric soils were restored. Although a significant difference between surface treatments was not detected, the MT treatment resulted in anaerobic conditions most similar to the reference wetland, signifying that this type of surface treatment should be considered for wetland restoration of areas with smooth surfaces. The HSTS proved to be a useful tool in evaluating wetland restoration success and microtopographic effects. Microtopographic relief did not create nonhydric areas as measured by HSTS; however, microtopographic relief is likely to influence plant establishment.
Date: 2009-12-03
Degree: MS
Discipline: Soil Science
URI: http://www.lib.ncsu.edu/resolver/1840.16/2651

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