Decision-making for prairie wetland restorations

S. M. Galatowitsch, A. G. Van der Valk, R. A. Budelsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Assessments of wetland restorations in the prairie region are not done routintely and no accepted assessment framework exists. Wetland assessment protocols in the US have varied over time from those emphasizing social significance to those attempting to quantify functions of wetlands from hydrogeomorphic considerations. A conceptual framework for restoration decision-making is presented that is based on optimizing wetland restoration success at both the landscape and site scales. This framework uses societal concerns, knowledge of factors that limit ecosystem recovery, and data on losses of different types of wetlands locally and regionally to establish restoration goals and guide site selection. These goals in turn generate restoration expectations or targets. Currently, restoration expectations are usually formulated only at the basin scale. Prairie pothole wetlands, however, were historically part of wetland complexes. Prairie pothole wetlands, however, were historically part of wetland complexes. Consequently, restoration efforts should focus on restoring complexes not isolated wetlands. Wetland restoration decision-making thus requires that landscape-level restoration expectations be part of all prairie pothole restorations. Landscape-level expectations should also be used in the assessment of these projects. Reference wetlands or historic data from the wetland and wetland complexes to be restored are used to develop these restoration expectations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)137-155
Number of pages19
JournalGreat Plains Research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Nov 18 1998


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