Hydrologic Characterization of Potential Sites for Restored and Constructed Wetlands, Montana

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Projects conducted by the Montana Department of Transportation (MDT) sometimes result in unavoidable impacts to wetlands and other aquatic habitats. To compensate for these impacts, MDT mitigates the loss of wetlands by providing replacement wetlands within the watershed.


The USGS is collecting data, in partnership with the MDT, that allows MDT to determine if a site can be a replacement wetland and after a wetland is created, helping to ensure the wetland maintains its integrity.

Keeping a wetland intact requires water, and of particular interest is the groundwater that retains a store of infiltrated streamflow, snowmelt, and precipitation and returns the water through the wetlands to the nearby streams during the dry seasons. An understanding of how the groundwater levels fluctuate at each site is needed to understand how a wetland will function and the USGS is collecting groundwater data at sites around Montana to help MDT design and manage the wetlands mitigation project.



  • Assist in the development of a water budget prior to wetland construction
  • Provide information about probable water availability under a range of scenarios
  • Identify possible pre- and post-construction water-quality concerns
  • Monitor wetland systems after construction.