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Integrating geographically isolated wetlands into land management decisions
Golden, H., I. Creed, G. Ali, N. Basu, B. Neff, M. Rains, D. McLaughlin, L. Alexander, A. Ameli, J. Christensen, G. Evenson, C. Jones, C. Lane, AND M. Lang. Integrating geographically isolated wetlands into land management decisions. FRONTIERS IN ECOLOGY AND THE ENVIRONMENT. Ecological Society of America, Ithaca, NY, 15(6):319-327, (2017).
In a nutshell: Wetlands in general receive insufficient protection and this is particularly true for geographically isolated wetlands (GIWs), which are completely surrounded by upland areas GIWs have recently gained policy attention because they provide important ecosystem services, but like most wetlands, their loss and degradation continues Knowledge of the hydrologic connections of GIWs to downstream waters is necessary for their management, particularly under US federal law We synthesize data and modeling tools to quantify GIW connectivity and assess consequent individual and cumulative effects on downstream waters The most defensible management decisions are based on knowledge from a combination of measured, modeled, and hypothesized GIW connections
Wetlands across the globe provide extensive ecosystem services. However, many wetlands – especially those surrounded by uplands, often referred to as geographically isolated wetlands (GIWs) – remain poorly protected. Protection and restoration of wetlands frequently requires information on their hydrologic connectivity to other surface waters, and their cumulative watershed-scale effects. The integration of measurements and models can supply this information. However, the types of measurements and models that should be integrated are dependent on management questions and information compatibility. We summarize the importance of GIWs in watersheds and discuss what wetland connectivity means in both science and management contexts. We then describe the latest tools available to quantify GIW connectivity and explore crucial next steps to enhancing and integrating such tools. These advancements will ensure that appropriate tools are used in GIW decision making and maintaining the important ecosystem services that these wetlands support.