Reclaiming the Shiawassee Flats: Monitoring During Hydrologic Restoration of the Shiawassee Flats Ecosystem
The Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge is home to a unique collection of diked wetland units that have been restored from farmland. Our research focuses on three wetland units: Maankiki North (MN) and Maankiki South (MS), both recently restored in 2017, and Pool 1A, which has been connected to the Shiawassee River since the 1950s. Throughout the summer of 2019, Pool 1A was kept open to the river through a water control structure. In contrast, Maankiki North and South were closed after being open for three days in late March. We collected data on fish, vegetation, and macroinvertebrate communities and water quality from May through November 2019. We analyzed how Pool 1A, a long-term system, differs from MN and MS, two closed and recently restored units. Although the age and management of MS and MN are most similar, 1A and MS show more similarities in ecology than MS and MN, as seen by similar IBI scores for fish, vegetation, and macroinvertebrates. Our findings indicate that Maankiki South has the highest diversity of fish, vegetation, and macroinvertebrate communities. We believe that the differences among units can be explained by variations in depth and hydrology, rather than age or length of time a wetland unit has been connected to the Shiawassee River. We are working with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to develop a monitoring plan that incorporates depth and hydrological differences in predicting and understanding biological responses to various water management strategies.
Eliza Lugten, MS (CE); Olivia Mitchinson, MS (CE); Matt Puz, MS (CE); Matthew Sens, MS (CE); Kate Vogel MS (CE)