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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Wildlife and Fisheries Science

First Advisor

Daniel E. Hubbard


The condition and viability of floodplain wetlands in the Garrison Reach of the upper Missouri River is largely unknown. Due to the transitory nature of temporary and seasonal wetlands, wetland research in the region has focused primarily on semipermanent and permanent wetlands. As part of a two-year pilot study for the U.S. EPA, I characterized and quantified the vascular macrophyte communities of temporarily and seasonally flooded, floodplain wetlands in the Garrison Reach of the upper Missouri River. Macrophyte communities were characterized by species canopy cover and frequency. Fifty-three wetlands were sampled over the 2-year period (22 temporary and 31 seasonal wetlands). Wetlands were categorized as reference ("least'' impaired) or impaired sites based on local land-use characteristics. Metrics based on plant community characteristics were tested against an independent landscape disturbance assessment to facilitate the development of a plant-based index of biotic integrity (P-IBI). Box plots and stepwise discriminant function analysis were used to identify the metric associations that had the strongest discriminatory power for grouping reference and impaired wetlands. No plant metrics were found to accurately classify reference and impaired temporary wetlands. Plant metrics useful for discriminating the condition of seasonal wetlands included: 1) total species richness, 2) number of native perennial species, 3) number of obligate wetland species. 4) number of species with a coefficient of conservatism of 4 or higher (NGPFQAP 2001), 5) percent of exotic species, and 6) mean cover of native perennial species. Plant metrics were scored along a continuum (1-10), then summed and standardized to form an IBI with scores ranging from Oto 100. The PIBI was used to assess the health of 16 randomly drawn seasonal wetlands in the Garrison Reach of the Missouri River. These wetlands (n= l 6) had a mean IBI score of 47 and ranged from 27 to 74. On average, the randomly drawn sites scored between the reference (good quality) and impaired (poor quality) sites. According to P-IBI results, the overall condition of seasonal wetlands in the Garrison Reach is fair. After further testing, this IBI could potentially be used to assess the biological condition of floodplain wetlands in the Garrison Reach and to establish baseline conditions for future monitoring of Missouri River floodplain wetlands.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Wetland ecology -- Missouri River Valley
Floodplain ecology -- North Dakota
Water quality biological assessment -- Missouri River Valley
Vegetation monitoring -- Missouri River Valley


Includes bibliographical references (page 54-61)



Number of Pages



South Dakota State University


Copyright © 2002 Kent B. Werlin. All rights reserved.