We developed an approach for inventorying wetland resources, assessing their condition, and determining restoration potential in a watershed context. This article outlines how this approach can be developed into a Wetland Monitoring Matrix (WMM) that can help resource management agencies make regulatory and nonregulatory decisions. The WMM can be embedded in a standard planning process (Wetlands, Wildlife, and Watershed Assessment Techniques for Evaluation and Restoration, or W3ATER) involving the setting of objectives, assessing the condition of the resource, prioritizing watersheds or sites, implementing projects, and evaluating progress. To that process we have added the concepts of reference, hydrogeomorphic (HGM) classification, and prioritization for protection and restoration by triage or adaptive management. Three levels of effort are possible, increasing in detail and diagnostic reliability as data collection shifts from remote sensing to intensive sampling on the ground. Of key importance is the use of a consistent set of monitoring protocols for conducting condition assessments, designing restoration and creation projects, and evaluating the performance of mitigation projects; the same variables are measured regardless of the intended use of the data. This approach can be tailored to any region by establishing a reference set of wetlands organized by HGM subclasses, prioritizing watersheds and individual wetlands, and implementing consistent monitoring protocols. Application of the approach is illustrated with examples from wetlands and streams of the Spring Creek Watershed in central Pennsylvania, USA.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Global and Planetary Change