Assessing wetland mitigation efforts using standing vegetation and seed bank community structure in neighboring natural and compensatory wetlands in north-central Texas
Proper management techniques on moist-soil wetlands provide methods for enhancement of established wetlands, restoration of former wetlands, and creation of new wetland habitat. These techniques also create suitable wetland habitat for non-breeding waterfowl and other wetland dependent species during winter. To understand moist-soil managed wetland vegetative patterns, aspects such as plant species distribution, reproductive strategy, seed bank composition and viability should be thoroughly characterized. We investigated soil seed bank potential of moist-soil managed wetlands on Richland Creek Wildlife Management Area, Texas to determine which treatment (i.e., drawdown or flooded) produced the most desirable moist-soil plants. A total of 27 species germinated, producing 3,731 and 3,031 seedlings in drawdown and flooded treatments, respectively. There were also differences in stem densities between treatments of desirable and non-desirable species. Drawdown treatments had more seedlings germinate than flooded treatments, validating the notion that drawdown treatments provide favorable conditions for seed germination. Drawdown and flooding techniques, when properly timed, will allow managers to drive and directly influence managed wetland plant communities based on seed bank composition and response to presence or absence of water during the germination period.