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Title:Short-term Effects of Initial Flood Disturbance on Restoration Projects: Waterbirds and Wetland Vegetation Final Report Period: 1 September 2013 – 31 August 2015
Author(s):Hagy,Heath M.; Hine,Christopher, S.; Horath,Michelle, M.; Yetter,Aaron, P.; Osborn,Joshua, M.
cover map
aquatic vegetation
Geographic Coverage:Merwin Preserve, Illinois
Emiquon Preserve, Illinois
Abstract:During spring 2013, record flooding occurred on the Illinois River. Emiquon and Merwin Preserves, two restored but hydrologically-isolated floodplains, were reconnected to the Illinois River for the first time in >80 years. Both Preserves are owned and managed by The Nature Conservancy and have been the focus of monitoring efforts since restoration began. Moreover, flooding intensity was not equal at these locations. Levees at Merwin Preserve breached, establishing a two-way hydrologic connection between the floodplain and the Illinois River at moderate river stages (i.e., partial connection). Conversely, levees held at Emiquon Preserve, facilitating a one-way input of water into this floodplain over top of levees (i.e., limited connection). These conditions created two case studies under which a natural experiment unfolded. Our objective was to document and assess site-specific post-flood changes in biotic communities from pre-flood states and trajectories. We hypothesized that waterbird communities would remain unchanged at Emiquon Preserve, but these communities would be negatively affected by the partial river connection at Merwin Preserve. Consequently, we anticipated less overall waterbird use, lower species diversity, and a shift in dominant species from herbivorous and granivorous waterbirds to piscivorous birds at Merwin Preserve. Likewise, we hypothesized that vegetation communities would be negatively affected by the partial river connection at Merwin Preserve resulting in decreased submersed and emergent aquatic macrophyte coverage, but vegetation communities would remain resilient to the limited connection at Emiquon Preserve and change minimally.
Issue Date:2015-07-17
Publisher:Illinois Natural History Survey
Series/Report:Technical Report INHS 2015 (14)
Genre:Technical Report
Publication Status:unpublished
Peer Reviewed:not peer reviewed
Sponsor:University of Illinois at Springfield & National Science Foundation Federal Award Number: 1347077
Illinois Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife
The Nature Conservancy
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service
Rights Information:This document is a product of the Illinois Natural History Survey, and has been selected and made available by the Illinois Natural History Survey and the University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It is intended solely for noncommercial research and educational use, and proper attribution is requested.
Date Available in IDEALS:2020-04-02

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