Region 5 Assessment of Wetland Condition
Sampling design and protocols for the assessment of wetland condition across landscape regions: a multi-metric approach
Anett Trebitz, Project Officer
Don Faber-Langendoen, Shannon Menard, and Pat Comer, Principal Investigators
1101 Wilson Blvd. 15'th floor
Arlington VA 22209
EPA's Regional Environmental Monitoring and Assessment program has awarded a cooperative agreement to NatureServe for a project examining sampling design issues and indicators/assessment techniques for wetlands within the Region 5 states of Michigan and Indiana. The project will provide information to support states and tribes in their efforts to assess aquatic resources and assist EPA in planning for the 2011 national wetland survey.
The first phase of work (to begin fall of 2008) will examine the suitability of existing wetland spatial datasets and wetland classification systems as the basis for site selection and sampling design. Elements of this phase of the research include: 1) comparing the wetland type classification systems used by NWI (National Wetland Inventory), HGM (hydrogeomorphic classification system), and NVC (National vegetation classification standard) and assessing how these wetland types are distributed across the study area. 2) Evaluating utility of the Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) wetlands status and trends database for wetlands in this area. And 3) Building a reference data set and stratified sampling design of wetlands in the study area, by combining the wetland type and distribution data with wetland condition estimates obtained from a GIS model of landscape condition.
The second phase of the work consists of field analysis of wetland indicators. The project will compile a set of key indicators and metrics of wetland condition for three levels of sampling effort (remote, rapid, intensive) based on literature review and consultation with other wetland researchers and managers. The selected indicators will then actually be measured during field work conducted in the summers or 2009 and 2010 in partnership with Michigan and Indiana natural heritage programs. It is anticipated that approximately 260 sites will be sampled for level-2 (rapid) indicators, and that approximately 120 sites will be sampled for level-3 (intensive) indicators. The resulting data set will be used to screen and score indicators/metrics for utility, examine metric distributions relative to wetland type and condition classifications, and to develop composite wetland condition scorecards.
Outcomes of this research will provide data on the condition of wetlands in Region 5, contribute to the capacity of states to perform future wetland assessment and monitoring, and inform EPA's preparation for the 2011 national wetland survey. As this is a cooperative agreement, EPA staff are expected to be directly involved with NatureServe staff on several aspects of the work.