Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department / School

Plant Science

First Advisor

Diane H. Rickerl


Depressional wetlands are common in South Dakota cropland and the Prairie Pothole Region of central North America. These wetlands or prairie potholes are being lost at an alarming rate with most of the loss occurring due to agriculture. To minimize this loss due to agriculture, a study was conducted to determine in what ways wetlands were beneficial or detrimental to dryland agriculture. Water budgets, hydrology, and above-ground biomass were calculated, monitored, and collected for both wetland and upland areas in agricultural environments. This study was conducted for a two year period (1993-1994) at 12 sites on three different farming systems (organic, reduced-till, and conventional) located in east central South Dakota. Three wetland classes (temporary, seasonal, and semi-permanent) and two farming categories (farmed and not-farmed) were also attributes considered. Precipitation was greater in wetland areas than upland areas (3%, P=0.003), with no evapotranspiration differences between wetland and upland or among other attributes considered. Wetland seepage rates of 6.5 mm/d were calculated from water budgets. Wetland groundwater flow characteristics determined by water table elevation and soil water volume differences indicated that wetlands were predominantly groundwater discharge types, but a few wetlands were groundwater recharge and flowthrough types, with capabilities of recharging upland soil profiles. A wetland buffer distance of 23 m (75 ft) from wetland edge was determined by an above-ground biomass production drop of 15% (P=0.027). Land requirements to establish this buffer were calculated and ranged from 29 to 375% of wetland area, and were dependent on wetland classification. Buffering most wetlands resulted in a more uniform above-ground biomass production within an agricultural environment. This study concludes that farming with wetlands is beneficial for long term sustainability of dryland agriculture.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Wetlands -- South Dakota
Wetlands -- Prairie Pothole Region
Wetland conservation -- South Dakota
Wetland conservation -- Prairie Pothole Region




South Dakota State University



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