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Scientific Investigations Report 2004-5216

Hydrologic, Soil, and Vegetation Gradients in Remnant and Constructed Riparian Wetlands in West–Central Missouri, 2001—2004

By: David C. Heimann, U.S. Geological Survey, and Paige A. Mettler-Cherry, Lindenwood University, Department of Biological Sciences, St. Charles, Missouri, in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation

ABSTRACT

A study was conducted by the U.S. Geological Survey in cooperation with the Missouri Department of Conservation at the Four Rivers Conservation Area (west-central Missouri), between January 2001 and March 2004, to examine the relations between environmental factors (hydrology, soils, elevation, and landform type) and the spatial distribution of vegetation in remnant and constructed riparian wetlands. Vegetation characterization included species composition of ground, understory, and overstory layers in selected landforms of a remnant bottomland hardwood ecosystem, monitoring survival and growth of reforestation plots in leveed and partially leveed constructed wetlands, and determining gradients in colonization of herbaceous vegetation in a constructed wetland.

Similar environmental factors accounted for variation in the distribution of ground, understory, and overstory vegetation in the remnant bottomland forest plots. The primary measured determining factors in the distribution of vegetation in the ground layer were elevation, soil texture (clay and silt content), flooding inundation duration, and ponding duration, while the distribution of vegetation in the understory layer was described by elevation, soil texture (clay, silt, and sand content), total flooding and ponding inundation duration, and distance from the Marmaton or Little Osage River. The primary measured determining factors in the distribution of overstory vegetation in Unit 1 were elevation, soil texture (clay, silt, and sand content), total flooding and ponding inundation duration, ponding duration, and to some extent, flooding inundation duration.

Overall, the composition and structure of the remnant bottomland forest is indicative of a healthy, relatively undisturbed flood plain forest. Dominant species have a distribution of individuals that shows regeneration of these species with significant recruitment in the smaller size classes. The bottomland forest is an area whose overall hydrology has not been significantly altered; however, portions of the area have suffered from hydrologic alteration by a drainage ditch that is resulting in the displacement of swamp and marsh species by colonizing shrub and tree species. This area likely will continue to develop into an immature flood plain forest under the current (2004) hydrologic regime.

Reforestation plots in constructed wetlands consisted of sampling survival and growth of multiple tree species (Quercus palustris, pin oak; Carya illinoiensis, pecan) established under several production methods and planted at multiple elevations. Comparison of survival between tree species and production types showed no significant differences for all comparisons. Survival was high for both species and all production types, with the highest mortality seen in the mounded root production method (RPM®) Quercus palustris (pin oak, 6.9 percent), while direct seeded Quercus palustris at middle elevation and bare root Quercus palustris seedlings at the low elevation plots had 100 percent survival. Measures of growth (diameter and height) were assessed among species, production types, and elevation by analyzing relative growth. The greatest rate of tree diameter (72.3 percent) and height (65.3 percent) growth was observed for direct seeded Quercus palustris trees planted at a middle elevation site.

Natural colonized vegetation data were collected at multiple elevations within an abandoned cropland area of a constructed wetland. The primary measured determining factors in the distribution of herbaceous vegetation in this area were elevation, ponding duration, and soil texture. Richness, evenness, and diversity were all significantly greater in the highest elevation plots as a result of more recent disturbance in this area.

While flood frequency and duration define the delivery mechanism for inundation on the flood plain, it is the duration of ponding and amount of “topographic capture” of these floodwaters in fluvial landforms that largely determines the survivability and distribution of tree species in both remnant and constructed wetlands. Ponding, flooding, ground-water levels, and precipitation all accounted for saturated conditions in the upper soil profiles in the Four Rivers Conservation Area monitoring sites. Of these processes, ponding and flooding were the primary factors accounting for soil saturation conditions. The identification of landform features in undisturbed settings, therefore, can be an important aide in predicting the sustainable spatial distribution of various plant species in riparian revegetation projects.

TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abstract

Introduction

Purpose and Scope

Description of Study Area

Land-Use History of Four Rivers Conservation Area

Acknowledgements

Methods

Hydrology

Surface-Water Monitoring

Ground-Water Monitoring

Soil Moisture, Texture, and Organic Matter

Vegetation

Bottomland Forest in Remnant Wetland

Reforestation and Colonization in Constructed Wetlands

Data Analyses

Hydrologic and Soils Data

Vegetation

Remnant Bottomland Forest

Reforestation Plots

Natural Colonization

Hydrologic Gradients

Surface Water

Ground Water

Soil Gradients

Soil Moisture

Spatial Variability

Temporal Variability

Comparison of Mounded and Non-Mounded Locations

Physical Properties

Vegetation Gradients

Bottomland Forest in a Remnant Wetland

Ground-Layer Flora

Understory Flora

Overstory Flora

Reforestation Plots in Constructed Wetlands

Unit 3 Reforestation Plots

Unit 4 Reforestation Plots

Natural Colonization in Constructed Wetland

Relations Between Hydrology, Soils, and Vegetation Gradients in Four Rivers Conservation Area Wetlands

Primary Factors Affecting Vegetation Distribution in Four Rivers Conservation Area

Using and Acquiring Hydrologic and Soils Data For Developing Revegetation Plans

Summary

References Cited

Glossary

FIGURES

1.   Map showing Four Rivers Conservation Area and vicinity

2.   Photographs showing historic (1939–1997) change in vegetation in the Horton Bottoms Natural Area in Units 1 and 3 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

3–5. Maps showing:

3.  Unit 1 of the Four Rivers Conservation Area and monitoring locations

4.  Unit 3 of the Four Rivers Conservation Area and monitoring locations

5.  Unit 4 of the Four Rivers Conservation Area and monitoring locations

6–12. Graphs showing:

6.  Relation between selected concurrent annual peak stages and differentials between peak stages for the Marmaton River and the Little Osage River gaging stations

7.  Relation between estimated and observed Marmaton River at Horton Bottoms annual peak stages (1949–2003) and elevations of selected estimated instantaneous peak recurrence interval stages

8.  Ground-water level below ground surface and ground-water elevation data for Unit 1 monitoring wells at the Four Rivers Conservation Area, 2001–03

9.  Ground surface and selected ground-water elevation transects across Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

10. Ground-water level below ground surface and ground-water elevation data for Unit 3 monitoring wells at the Four Rivers Conservation Area, 2001–03

11. Ground surface and selected ground-water elevation transects across Unit 3 from U3W1 to U3W2 and U3W3 to U3W2 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

12. Ground-water level below ground surface and ground-water elevation data for Unit 4 monitoring wells at the Four Rivers Conservation Area, 2001–03

13. Boxplots showing soil moisture summary statistics by depth for monitoring sites in Units 1, 3, and 4 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area, 2001–03

  14–20. Graphs showing:

14. Temporal variability in soil-moisture profiles in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area during the 2001–03 growing seasons

15. Temporal variability in soil-moisture profiles in Unit 3 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area during the 2001–03 growing seasons

16. Temporal variability in soil-moisture profiles in Unit 4 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area during the 2001–03 growing seasons

17. Temporal variability in mean pan evaporation data from twice-monthly observations in Unit 1 (forested) and Unit 4 (open) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area during the 2001–03 growing seasons

18. Comparisons of soil moisture values at mounded and adjacent non-mounded tree locations in Unit 3 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area, 2001–03

19. Normalized site elevations and landform type against clay, sand, silt, and organic matter content in surface (0–0.30 meter) soil samples from Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

20. Normalized elevation and landform type against estimated wilting point, field capacity, available water, saturation, and saturation hydraulic conductivity values in surface 0–0.30 meter) soil samples from Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

21. Boxplots showing distributions of soil texture characteristics by landform in surface (0–0.30 meter) samples from Unit 1(Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

22. Boxplots showing distributions of soil texture characteristics by depth at natural levee sites in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

23–49. Graphs showing:

23. Growth form of ground layer species for each landform type sampled in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

24. Native and introduced ground layer species for each landform type sampled in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

25. Wetland indicator status of ground layer species for each landform type sampled in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

26. Dominant families determined as percent of total ground layer species cover for each landform type sampled in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

27. Mean richness and diversity of ground layer vegetation for each landform type sampled in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

28. Detrended correspondence analysis of ground layer vegetation sampled in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) and ground layer vegetation separating landform type and year sampled in Unit 1 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

29. Growth form of understory species for each landform type sampled in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

30. Wetland indicator status of understory species in each landform type sampled in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

31. Dominant understory families determined as percentage of total basal area for each landform type sampled in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

32. Mean richness and species diversity of understory vegetation sampled in each landform type in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

33. Detrended correspondence analysis of understory vegetation and understory species scores resulting from ordination of plots sampled in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

34. Wetland indicator status of overstory species for each landform type sampled in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

35. Dominant overstory families determined as percentage of total basal area for each landform type sampled in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

36. Mean richness and species diversity of overstory vegetation sampled in each landform type in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

37. Detrended correspondence analysis of overstory vegetation for each landform type and species scores of overstory vegetation resulting from ordination of plots sampled in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

38. Mean canopy density for each landform type sampled in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

39. Size class distribution of dominant tree species of the natural levee landform type in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area, as determined by importance value (IV)

40. Size class distribution of dominant tree species of the flood plain landform type in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area, as determined by importance value (IV)

41. Size class distribution of dominant tree species of the alluvial depression landform type in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area as determined by importance value (IV)

42. Size class distribution of dominant tree species of the backwater swamp landform type in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area, as determined by importance value (IV)

43. Mean percentage of change in diameter and height of bare root seedlings of Carya illinoiensis (pecan) and Quercus palustris (pin oak) at well 2 in Unit 3 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

44. Percentage of change in diameter and height of direct seed seedlings associated with wells 1 and 3 in Unit 3 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

45. Mean percentage of change in diameter and height of root production method trees in Unit 3 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

46. Mean richness, diversity, and evenness by elevation class for colonized vegetation sampled in Unit 4 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

47. Total species and cover for introduced and native species in each elevation class sampled in Unit 4 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

48. Percentage of total cover for each wetland indicator species type for each elevation class sampled in Unit 4 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

49. Detrended correspondence analysis ordination of all vegetation quadrats in Unit 4 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area

TABLES

  1.    Description of landform definitions used in study
  2.    Observation well characteristics in Units 1, 3, and 4 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  3.    Soil moisture tube depths and elevation characteristics of sampling tubes installed in Units 1, 3, and 4 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  4.    Soil moisture tube depths and elevation characteristics of sampling tubes installed in Units 1, 3, and 4 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  5.    Summary of soil moisture sampling dates and locations in Units 1, 3, and 4 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  6.    Vegetation plot characteristics in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  7.    Location and elevation information for the Unit 4 vegetation transects at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  8.    Summary of flooding and ponding depth and duration in Unit 1 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area, April 2001 through November 2003
  9.    Summary of inundation and ponding depth and duration in Unit 3 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area, April 2001 through November 2003
  10.   Summary of inundation and ponding depth and duration in Unit 4 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area, April 2001 through November 2003
  11.   Estimated instantaneous peak recurrence interval discharges and/or stages at the Marmaton River near Nevada, Missouri, Little Osage River at Horton, Missouri, and Marmaton River at Horton Bottoms, Missouri, locations
  12.   Summary of seasonal water-level depths and elevations at observation wells in Units 1, 3, and 4 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area, 2001–03
  13.   Soil texture and estimated hydraulic properties data for soil profiles in Units 1, 3, and 4 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  14.   Measured ponded infiltration rates for selected Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) locations at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  15.   Species master list for ground layer, understory, and overstory species sampled in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area in 2002 and 2003
  16.   Ground layer species, by site, in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  17.   Basal area for understory species, by site, in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  18.   Basal area for overstory species, by site, in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  19.   Ground layer families by landform type in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  20.   Comparison of Sorensen’s Coefficient of Community Similarity by landform type for ground layer vegetation in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  21.   Ground layer species unique to each landform type and their wetland indicator status for vegetation sampled in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  22.   Pearson product moment correlations of environmental variables to ground layer Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA) axis scores for vegetation sampled in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  23.   Comparison of Sorensen’s Coefficient of Community Similarity by landform type for understory vegetation in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  24.   Understory species unique to each landform type and their wetland indicator status for vegetation sampled in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  25.   Pearson product moment correlations of environmental variables to understory Detrended Correspondence Analysis (DCA) axis scores for vegetation sampled in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  26.   Flood tolerance of understory woody species for each landform type in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  27.   Comparison of Sorensen’s Coefficient of Community Similarity by landform type for overstory vegetation sampled in Unit 1(Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  28.   Flood tolerance of overstory woody species by landform type in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  29.   Pearson product moment correlations of environmental variables to overstory Detrended Correspondence Analyses (DCA) axis scores for vegetation sampled in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  30.   Age and circumference of selected canopy (tree numbers 1–3) and sub-canopy (tree numbers >3) sampled trees, by site, in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  31.   Characteristics of overstory and understory trees sampled in the natural levee vegetation plots in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  32.   Characteristics of overstory and understory trees sampled in the flood plain vegetation plots in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  33.   Characteristics of overstory and understory trees sampled in the alluvial depression vegetation plots in Unit 1(Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  34.   Characteristics of overstory and understory trees sampled in the backwater swamp vegetation plots in Unit 1 (Horton Bottoms) at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  35.   Mortality of bare root, direct seed, and root production method (RPM®) seedlings planted in Unit 3, Four Rivers Conservation Area
  36.   Mean diameter of bare root, direct seed, and root production method (RPM®) seedlings planted in Unit 3, Four Rivers Conservation Area
  37.   Mean height of bare root, direct seed, and root production method (RPM®) seedlings planted in Unit 3, Four Rivers Conservation Area
  38.   Comparison of survival between tree species and production types for Unit 4 tree plots, at the Four Rivers Conservation Area, using results of 2x2 contingency table from chi-square analysis
  39.   Mean diameter and mean height of bare root and root production method (RPM®) seedlings planted in Unit 4, Four Rivers Conservation Area
  40.   Elevation range of colonized vegetation quadrat groupings sampled in Unit 4 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area
  41.   Species master list for vegetation sampled in Unit 4 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area in 2002

 

Conversion Factors and Datum
Multiply By To obtain
  Length  
     
centimeter (cm) 0.3937 inch (in.)
millimeter (mm) 0.03937 inch (in.)
meter (m) 3.281 foot (ft)
kilometer (km) 0.6214 mile (mi)
     
  Area  
     
square meter (m2) 0.0002471 acre
hectare (ha) 2.471 acre
square kilometer (km2) 247.1 acre
square centimeter (cm2) 0.001076 square foot (ft2)
square decimeter (dm2) 0.1076 square foot (ft2)
square meter (m2) 10.76 square foot (ft2)
square centimeter (cm2) 0.1550 square inch (in2)
hectare (ha) 0.003861 square mile (mi2)
square kilometer (km2) 0.3861 square mile (mi2)
     
  Volume  
     
cubic meter per second (m3/s) 35.31 cubic foot per second (ft3/s)
     
  Mass  
     
gram 0.03527 ounce, avoirdupois (oz)
kilogram 2.205 pound avoirdupois (lb)
     
Pressure
     
Kilopascal (kPa) 0.01 bar
     
  Hydraulic Conductivity  
     
meter per day (m/d) 3.281 foot per day (ft/d)

Temperature in degrees Celsius (°C) may be converted to degrees Fahrenheit (°F) as follows:
° F = (1.8 x °C) + 32

Vertical coordinate information is referenced to the “North American Vertical Datum of 1988 (NAVD 88).”

Horizontal coordinate information is referenced by the "North American Datum of 1983 (NAD 83)".

Evalation, as used in this report, refers to distance above the vertical datum.

 


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Figure 2 Photograph showing historic 1939-1997 change in vegetation in the Horton Bottoms Natural Area in Units 1 and 3 at the Four Rivers Conservation Area (PDF Format 524 KB)

Photograph showing historic 1939 vegetation. (PDF Format 178 KB)

Photograph showing historic 1974 vegetation. (PDF Format 137 KB)

Photograph showing historic 1997 vegetation. (PDF Format 128 KB)

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Rolla, Missouri 65401

Telephone: (573) 308-3667

Fax: (573) 308-3645


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