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Sara C. Juni

Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Charles R. Berry


Wetland mitigation is the practice of avoiding, minimizing or compensating for wetland functions and values lost through human impacts (e.g., filling). Regulated by the Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and the Environmental Protection Agency through Section 404 of the Clean Water Act, wetland mitigation has become common in the last several decades. The goal of this project was to review wetland mitigation in South Dakota by 1) reviewing federal and state wetland policies and regulations; 2) examining the outcomes of wetland impact pennit requests completed and submitted to the South Dakota Corps Regulatory Office from 1996 to 1999; and 3) comparing the biodiversity among restored, created, enhanced and natural wetlands in eastern South Dakota. Almost 500 Section 404 permit applications were submitted in South Dakota from 1996 through 1999. All eligible applications were approved and nearly half of the permits issued included a provision for compensatory mitigation. Overall, the Section 404 program in South Dakota had an estimated net gain in wetland area of 272.75 ha. Although most permits issued were for the private sector, state agencies impacted more wetland area than other applicants. Many permits were from the South Dakota Department of Transportation and municipal highway departments; road projects were the most commonly named reason for wetland impacts (21. l % of permits issued). Projects involving water drainage and wetland restoration or creation resulted in the largest wetland area gains. Nationwide general permits were prevalent in all aspects of the study. The permit review indicated that Section 404 might successfully protect South Dakota wetlands. I used a rapid biodiversity assessment method to count birds, fish, mammals, amphibians and reptiles, and aquatic invertebrates using 17 compensatory mitigation and natural wetlands in eastern South Dakota. Wetlands were sampled twice each summer in 1999 and 2000. I determined few statistically or biologically significant differences in biodiversity among wetland types or sample periods in eastern South Dakota wetlands. Aquatic invertebrate taxa richness was significantly different among some wetland types (F=3.54, df=3, P=0.0268); there were more invertebrate taxa in restored than in created or enhanced wetlands and in natural wetlands than in created wetlands. Though not statistically significant, there appeared to be more bird species in restored than other wetland types and more fish species in created than natural wetlands. The similarities among wetland types for several animal groups indicate that each type of compensatory wetland will provide biodiversity comparable to one another and natural wetlands. These findings disagree with studies in other regions that showed limited success of compensatory mitigation wetlands. However, from studies of restored and created prairie wetlands not used for mitigation, it is clear that these techniques are effective in this region.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Wetland mitigation -- South Dakota -- Evaluation


Includes bibliographical references (page 81-90)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2001 Sara Juni. All rights reserved.