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Use of Landscape Metrics to Prioritize Watersheds for Ecological Restoration in Arkansas White River Basin

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Abstract:Techniques for the broad-scale identification of wetland restoration sites are increasingly being sought for the purposes of improving the functions of wetlands that influence watershed hydrology,e.g., groundwater recharge potential of watersheds and reduction of nutrient and sediment loads to the watersheds particularly in heavily agricultural landscapes. We utilized landscape metrics, publicly available geospatial data, geographic information systems (GIS), and existing national water quality data to prioritize watershed for riparian wetland restoration in Arkansas 101,533 square kilometer White River Basin. The White River Basin includes the southern portion of the heavily forested Ozark Mountains and the heavily agricultural Mississippi Alluvial Valley, permitting gradient analyses among watersheds. Results of the combined GIS and surface water sampling models for carbon, nitrogen, phosphorus, and suspended sediment suggest that the following seven landscape metrics are practical for targeting sub-watershed and riparian areas for restoration: (1) percent cover of forest, (2) mean forest patch area (3) largest forest patch area (4) percent row-crop agriculture, (5) percent total agriculture (6) percent cover of nonagricultural vegetated land cover, and (7) percent agriculture on steep slopes. We demonstrate the efficacy of using landscape metrics as indicators of ecological condition and as a cost-effective technique to proved supplenentary information about the ecological functions of wetlands, otherwise unavailable at finer scales. We suggest a methodology for developing landscape indicators and using them to guide detailed field-based investigations, and to inform the decision-making processes for wetland restoration in the White River Basin.
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Citation:Lopez, R. D., D. T. Heggem, C. M. Edmonds, K. B. Jones, C. L. Cross, and D. W. Ebert. Use of Landscape Metrics to Prioritize Watersheds for Ecological Restoration in Arkansas White River Basin. Presented at 19th Annual Symposium of the United States Regional Association of the International Association for Landscape Ecology, Las Vegas, NV, March 30-April 4, 2004.
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Contact: Chris Siebert - (702) 798-2234 or siebert.christopher@epa.gov
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Division: Environmental Sciences Division
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Branch: Landscape Ecology Branch
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Product Type: Abstrct/Oral
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Presented: 03/30/2004
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Related Entries:
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Bullet Item Development of Landscape Indicators for Use in Regional Ecological Risk Assessments
spacer Relationship Reason:   A Project of the Product
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