The influence of wetland age on bird and aquatic macroinvertebrate use of restored Iowa wetlands
Restoration of damaged, lost, and fragmented natural ecosystems is a goal of many public and private conservation organizations, and has become an increasing part of natural resource management. Restoration of wetland habitats has received considerable interest due in part to the dramatic loss of wetland habitat (Dahl 1990), regional decline of waterfowl populations, financial incentives for private landowners to restore former wetland basins (Wetlands Reserve Programs, conservation Reserve Program), and heightened public awareness of wetland functions and values. More than 10,000 drained basins in the Prairie Pothole region of the united states have been restored to wetland conditions since 1985 through the efforts of federal, state, and private programs. since 1986, 2,675 acres of wetland have been restored in Iowa (Gladfelter 1990). Restored wetlands are expected to accomplish several functions, including increasing waterfowl populations and sustaining biodiversity. However, few attempts have been made to evaluate the development and success of restored wetlands (National Research Council Committee on Restoration of Aquatic Ecosystems 1992). My objectives were to (1) determine which bird species and macro invertebrate taxa are using restored Iowa wetlands within 4 years of restoration; and (2) determine the effect of wetland age on colonization by birds, vegetation, and macroinvertebrates. This thesis consists of two papers, each intended for publication in a separate scientific journal. The first paper compares bird and vegetation colonization of restored wetlands 1- to 4- years post restoration; the second compares the aquatic macro invertebrates communities among various aged restored wetlands. A general summary and references cited in the general introduction and general summary are included after the two papers.