Thursday, June 21, 2012

Reports Released On Condition of Minnesota Wetlands

The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency (MPCA) and the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources (DNR) jointly issued reports on into the prevalence and condition of Minnesota wetlands. The initial survey on wetland quality, which focused on depressional wetlands such as marshes and ponds, showed that the plant communities in nearly half of the wetlands were in poor condition, while aquatic macroinvertebrates (such as aquatic insects, leeches and snails) fared much better.

The two reports provide a comprehensive view of the current status of wetlands in Minnesota. In the northeastern region of the state, the majority of pre-settlement wetlands still exist, and a large percentage are in good condition. However, in the western and southern parts of the state, where many wetlands have been lost, those that remain are generally in poor condition.

Findings of the survey included:
  • Minnesota has 10.6 million acres of wetlands, which comprise 19.7 % of the state’s land cover, not counting deep lakes and rivers.
  • Plant communities are in good condition in only 29 % of Minnesota’s depressional wetlands, while 25 % are in fair condition and 46 percent are in poor condition.
  • Macroinvertebrate communities are in better condition with estimates of 47 % good, 33 % fair, and 20 % poor.
  • Forested wetlands make up 4.4 million acres and are the most common wetland type in Minnesota, followed by emergent wetlands (shallow marshes, wet meadows), shrub swamps, and deep marshes/ponds.

In 2006, the State started the wetland monitoring program to assess status and trends of both wetland quantity and quality. Sampling for both the wetland quantity and quality monitoring programs is done on a repeating, multi-year cycle.

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