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Tuesday, January 26 • 2:20pm - 2:40pm
Efficacy of Drainage Setbacks For Limiting Effects To Wetlands In The Prairie Pothole Region

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AUTHORS: Brian A. Tangen*, U.S. Geological Survey, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center; Raymond G. Finocchiaro, U.S. Geological Survey, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center; Charles F. Dahl, U.S. Geological Survey, Northern Prairie Wildlife Research Center

ABSTRACT: The enhancement of agricultural lands through the use of artificial drainage systems is a common practice throughout the United States, and recently the use of these systems has increased in the Prairie Pothole Region of the north-central United States and south-central Canada. Subsurface drainage systems installed beneath wetlands can effectively drain wetlands, but systems installed above the wetland in the surrounding catchment can indirectly affect wetland hydrology through interception of precipitation runoff. Many wetlands are afforded protection from drainage through regulation or legal agreements, and drainage setbacks often are used to provide a buffer between wetlands and drainage systems with the purpose of limiting effects to hydrology. However, models used to calculate setbacks were not specifically developed to limit effects to surface waters such as wetlands; thus, organizations such as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service require information on the efficacy of drainage setbacks to inform management and policy decisions. A collaborative study between the U.S. Geological Survey and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service was initiated to assess the potential of subsurface drainage to affect wetland water levels, and to examine the efficacy of drainage setbacks for limiting potential effects. Surface-water levels, along with primary components of the catchment water balance, have been monitored at four wetland catchments for 3 years, and will continue to be monitored for the foreseeable future. During the second year of the study, subsurface drainage systems were installed in two of the catchments using drainage setbacks, and the drainage system outlets were equipped to monitor discharge. A wetland water balance model was developed to assess the efficacy of drainage setbacks, as well as to support model simulations examining potential effects of various drainage scenarios. Results from the first 3 years of field monitoring, along with preliminary modelling results, will be presented.

Tuesday January 26, 2016 2:20pm - 2:40pm EST
Ambassador W