Assessing an HGM-based Wetland Classification and Assessment Scheme Along a 1000 km Gradient of the Appalachian Mountains: Hydrology, Soils and Wetland Function

EPA Grant Number: R829497
Title: Assessing an HGM-based Wetland Classification and Assessment Scheme Along a 1000 km Gradient of the Appalachian Mountains: Hydrology, Soils and Wetland Function
Investigators: Cole, Charles Andrew , Brooks, Robert P. , Cirmo, Christopher P. , Wardrop, Denice Heller
Institution: Pennsylvania State University , The State University of New York at Cortland
EPA Project Officer: Packard, Benjamin H
Project Period: January 15, 2002 through January 14, 2005 (Extended to August 31, 2006)
Project Amount: $973,301
RFA: Development of National Aquatic Ecosystem Classifications and Reference Conditions (2001) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Ecosystems , Water , Aquatic Ecosystems


We seek to expand a recently developed wetland classification and functional assessment protocol, created in Pennsylvania, to regions north and south within the Appalachian mountains. We want to determine if similar wetland types occur along a broad latitudinal gradient, and if wetland structure and function are similar.


We will build (and improve) upon a large data set developed in Pennsylvania. We will utilize standard assessment protocols designed to measure 36 structural variables for input into wetland functional assessment models. We will revisit 20 extant study sites in Pennsylvania to update their information. We will develop approximately 20 new reference sites each in New York and Virginia in an attempt to test the applicability of these models along a broad latitudinal gradient. We will instrument all study sites with continuous water level recorders so as to develop comprehensive hydrologic data for site assessment. These data will be used in the assessment models as well as a check on the classification of each wetland.

Expected Results:

We expect to show whether models developed over many years in one region can be successfully (and rapidly) applied in two other adjacent regions. If this is true, then the time needed for the development of wetland classification and assessment tools can be greatly decreased, saving both time and money, and allowing for better assessment and protection of wetland resources. These results will address EPA's need for improved ecosystem classification schemes and reference condition identification.

Publications and Presentations:

Publications have been submitted on this project: View all 18 publications for this project

Journal Articles:

Journal Articles have been submitted on this project: View all 3 journal articles for this project

Supplemental Keywords:

aquatic, classification, ecology, ecosystem, Mid-Atlantic, monitoring, PA, Pennsylvania,, RFA, Scientific Discipline, INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION, Water, ECOSYSTEMS, Ecosystem Protection/Environmental Exposure & Risk, Aquatic Ecosystems & Estuarine Research, Water & Watershed, Aquatic Ecosystem, Monitoring/Modeling, Water Quality Monitoring, Environmental Monitoring, Terrestrial Ecosystems, Watersheds, anthropogenic processes, wetlands, anthropogenic stress, bioassessment, biodiversity, watershed management, ecosystem monitoring, conservation, biota diversity, diagnostic indicators, hydrology, ecosystem indicators, aquatic ecosystems, water quality, bioindicators, watershed sustainablility, biological indicators, ecosystem stress, watershed assessment, conservation planning, Appalachian Mountains, aquatic biota, restoration planning, watershed restoration, ecosystem response

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 2002 Progress Report
  • 2003 Progress Report
  • 2004 Progress Report
  • 2005 Progress Report
  • Final