Are Restoration Wetlands Functional?

Fakahatchee Marshes, Jeff Ripple

A dawn wind stirs on the great marsh.
With almost imperceptible slowness,
it rolls a bank of fog across the wild morass.
Like the white ghost of a glacier,
the mists advance,
riding over phalanxes of tamarack,
sliding across bog meadows heavy with dew.
A single silence hangs from horizon to horizon.

- Aldo Leopold, "A Sand County Almanac"


Change in land use due to human activities is evident throughout this country. Accompanying new housing divisions, shopping malls, streets, and parking lots is the disturbance and destruction of the environment. There is a large concern for wetland well-being and the array of animals, such as snails, shrimp, waterfowl, frogs, salamanders, snakes, otters, raccoons, elk, and moose, that depend on wetlands. The biological implications of wetland destruction are numerous and widespread. Although developers are required to "recreate" the wetlands they destroy in the process of building, there is evidence that replacement wetlands do not function as self-sustaining wetlands and are not comparable to natural wetlands. This evokes the concern that we are not getting a fair trade for the wetlands that are being destroyed (Ehrenfeld and Toth 1997, Cole and Brooks 2000).

The purpose of this website is to examine whether replacement wetlands are functional wetlands compared to those that are natural. In order to come to conclusions, information will be extrapolated from research on the ecological integrity of replacement versus natural wetlands. Data from previous research and personal research (completed through the Kenyon Summer Science Program) will also be incorporated into this study.

The views and opinions of this website are strictly those of its author. The contents of this page have neither been reviewed nor approved by Kenyon College. Questions and comments can be directed to Amanda Nahlik. This webste has been created in accordance with the Kenyon College Biology Department graduation requirements. This website was created using Visual Page and completed on November 12, 2001. Words in magenta can be found in the definition page. All text and images are credited to original authors and photographers; please act accordingly if you are in any way reproducing text or images from this site. Thank you.