Wetland restoration in the Prairie Pothole Region of North America: A literature review

Biological Science Report USGS/BRD/BSR-2001-0006
By:  and 



The landscape of the prairie pothole region (PPR), a grassland biome of the northern U.S. Great Plains and parts of Canada, has been greatly altered by land use since the 1800's. Conversion of grassland to cropland and drainage of wetlands has resulted in wetland losses of up to 90% in some areas. Besides the area providing critical habitat to various wildlife, breeding waterfowl, and migratory birds, its seasonal wetlands support diverse plant and invertebrate communities, play a role in flood attenuation, act as traps for nutrients. store and recharge groundwater. and are valued recreational lands. Most of the restoration of prairie potholes has only occurred since the 1980's, with few follow-up studies performed and little postrestoration monitoring of these restorations. Monitoring and research of wetland restoration in the PPR is less common relative to the number of postrestoration studies done on other wetland types in the United States. This report is a synthesis of current knowledge of restored prairie pothole wetlands and makes suggestions for future wetland restoration-related research. In order to determine the benefits of restored wetlands, it is important to better understand how closely restored wetlands in the PPR resemble their natural analogues in terms of functions and values. The report categorizes PPR literature into five general sections: wildlife, vegetation, invertebrates, fish, and physical and chemical characteristics of restored wetlands. Each of these five sections has a summary of research and is divided into two parts: an overview of research and findings and regional case studies. Most PPR studies have focused on bird and plant communities, whereas research done on the functions of restored wetlands and studies concerning less visible fauna and physical and chemical characteristics are scarce. In addition, there is a scarcity of research in the western and northern portions or the PPR; most studio to date have been conducted in Iowa. Minnesota, or South Dakota.

Key Words: wetland restoration, prairie pothole region, PPR, literature review, wetland functions and values. postrestoration studies

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype Federal Government Series
Title Wetland restoration in the Prairie Pothole Region of North America: A literature review
Series title Biological Science Report
Series number USGS/BRD/BSR-2001-0006
Year Published 2001
Language English
Publisher U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location Reston, VA
Contributing office(s) National Wetlands Research Center, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center
Description viii, 54 p.
Country Canada, United States
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