Interactions of consolidation drainage and climate on water-level dynamics, wetland productivity, and waterbirds

Science Center Objects

Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center (NPWRC) recently completed a project aimed at understanding the impacts of wetland drainage on wetlands that receive drainage water. The biological communities of prairie pothole wetlands evolved in a hydrologically dynamic system due to periodic wet and dry conditions.  NPWRC research indicates that relative to wetlands in undrained landscapes, wetlands that receive consolidation drainage water drawdown less during dry conditions and progressively get larger and stabilize at their spill point during wet conditions. The implications of this water-level increase and eventual stabilization is that it reduces biological productivity and favors invasive species. These results have informed conservation efforts toward watershed-oriented restoration and protection of wetlands in the prairie pothole region.