Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences
ISSN (Print): 2328-3912 ISSN (Online): 2328-3920 Website: Editor-in-chief: Alejandro González Medina
Open Access
Journal Browser
Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences. 2015, 3(4), 108-116
DOI: 10.12691/aees-3-4-3
Open AccessReview Article

Geographically Isolated Depressional Wetlands – Hydrodynamics, Ecosystem Functions and Conditions

T. S. Gala1, and D. Young2

1Department of Geography, Chicago State University, Chicago, IL., USA

2Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Tennessee State University, Nashville, TN., USA

Pub. Date: August 27, 2015

Cite this paper:
T. S. Gala and D. Young. Geographically Isolated Depressional Wetlands – Hydrodynamics, Ecosystem Functions and Conditions. Applied Ecology and Environmental Sciences. 2015; 3(4):108-116. doi: 10.12691/aees-3-4-3


Wetlands that form in topographically low-lying basins have attracted several studies for their environmental values, functions and unique vulnerability to the impacts of climate and land use changes. Several studies have examined the wetlands’ formation, spatiotemporal hydrodynamics, hydrologic controls, and mitigations efforts. This paper briefly summarizes current advances in theoretical understanding of hydrodynamics, ecosystem functions and conditions of these geographically isolated depressional wetlands. It further examines opportunity cost of the wetlands’ mitigation, environmental stressors and values of restored wetlands. The paper has identified knowledge gaps, suggesting important considerations for future research planning and developed schematic diagrams that would aid the understanding and education of the depressional wetland’s ecosystem.

depressional wetlands wetland ecosystem hydrodynamic hydrologic functions wetland vulnerability and protection

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


Figure of 7


[1]  Shjeflo, JB., Evapotranspiration and the water budget of prairie potholes in North Dakota, U.S. Department of Interior, U.S. Government Printing Office, 1968, 49 pp.
[2]  Sloan, CE., Ground-water hydrology of prairie potholes in North Dakota, U.S. Geological Survey Professional Paper 585-C, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C., 1972.
[3]  Stewart, R.E., and Kantrud H.A., Classification of natural ponds and lakes in the glaciated prairie region. Bureau of Sport Fisheries and Wildlife, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C., 1971, 57 pp.
[4]  Winter, T.C., “A conceptual framework of assessing cumulative impact of the hydrology of non-tidal wetlands,” Environmental Management, 12(5).605-620. 1988.
[5]  Hayashi, M., van der Kamp, G., and Rudolph, L.D., “Water and solute transfer between a prairie wetland and adjacent uplands, 1. Water balance,” Journal of Hydrology, 207.42-55. 1998.
[6]  Essery, R., and Pomeroy, J., “A distributed model of blowing snow over complex terrain,” Hydrological Processes, 1.2423-2438. 1999.
[7]  Larson, D.L., “Effects of climate on number of northern prairie wetlands,” Climate Change, 30.169-180. 1995.
[8]  Winter, T.C., and Rosenberry, D.O., “Hydrology of prairie pothole wetlands during drought and deluge: A 17-year study of the cottonwood lake wetland complex in North Dakota in the perspective of longer term measured and proxy hydrological record,” Climate Change, 40:189-209. 1998.
[9]  Winter, T.C., and Rosenberry, D.O., “The interaction of groundwater with prairie pothole wetlands in the cottonwood lake area, east-central North Dakota, 1979-1990,” Wetlands, 15 (3). 193-211. 1995.
[10]  Van der Kamp, G., and Hayashi, M., “The groundwater recharge function of small wetlands in the Semi-arid Northern Prairies,” Great plans research, 8: 39-56. 1998.
[11]  Wylynko, D., Prairie wetlands and carbon sequestration: assessing sink under the Kyoto protocol. International institute of sustainable development, Winnipeg, Canada. 1999.
[12]  Gala, T.S., and Melesse, A., “Monitoring prairie wet areas with an integrated LANDSAT ETM+, RADARSAT-1 SAR and Ancillary DEM Data from LIDAR,” Catena 95. 12-23. 2012.
[13]  Patzig, M., Kalettka, T., Glemnitz, M., and Berger, G., “What governs macrophyte species in kettle hole types? A case study from northeast Germany,” Limnologica 42. 340-354. 2012.
[14]  Wray, H.E., and Bayley S.E., “A review of indicators of wetland health and function in Alberata’s Praririe, Aspen Parkland and Boreal dry mixedwood regions,” Alberta Environment, Edmonton, Alberta, 2006.
[15]  Badiou, P., McDougal, R., Pennock, D., and Clark,B., “Greenhouse gas emissions and carbon sequestration potential in restored wetlands of the Canadian prairie pothole region,” Wetlands Ecology and Management, 19.237-256. 2011.
[16]  Johnson, W.C., Boettcher, S.E., Poini, K.A., and Gutenspergen, G., “Influence of weather extremes on the water levels of glaciated prairie wetlands,” Wetlands, 24:385-398.2004.
[17]  Van der Kamp, G., and Hayashi, M., “Groundwater-wetland ecosystem interaction in the semiarid glaciated plains of north America,” Hydrogeology Journal, 17.203-214. 2009.
[18]  Nedland, T.S., Wolf A., and Reed, T., “A reexamination of restored wetlands in Manitowoc County, Wisconsin,” Wetlands, 27. 999-1015. 2007.
[19]  Rashford, B.S., Albeke, S.E., and Lewis, D.J., “Modeling grassland conversion: Challenges of using satellite imagery data,” American Journal of Agricultural Economics, 95(2).404-411.2013.
[20]  Johnson, C.W., Brett Werner, Glenn R., Guntenspergen, Richard A., Voldseth, Bruce Millett, David, E., Naugle, Mirela Tulbure, Rosemary W. H., Carroll, John, Tracy, and Craig Olawsky, “Prairie Wetland Complexes as Landscape Functional Units in a Changing Climate,” BioScience, 60 (2). 128-140. 2010.
[21]  Winter, T.C., “A conceptual framework of assessing cumulative impact of the hydrology of non-tidal wetlands,” Environmental Management, 12(5).605-620.1989.
[22]  Vance, L., Sara, Owen, and Jane, Horton, Literature review: Hydrology-ecology relationships in Montana Prairie wetlands and intermittent/ephemeral streams. U.S. EPA Contract Number EP-C-08-002. 2013.
[23]  Nixon, S.W., and Lee, V., Wetlands and water quality: a regional review of recent research in the United States on the role of freshwater and saltwater wetlands as sources, sinks, and transformers of nitrogen, phosphorus, and various heavy metals, Army Corps of Engineers. Waterways Experiment Station. Vicksburg. Mississippi. Technical Report Y-86-2,229 pp. 1989.
[24]  Last, W.M., and Ginn, F.M., “Saline systems of the Great Plains of western Canada: an overview of the limnogeology and paleolimnology,” Saline Systems, 1.10-17.2005.
[25]  Adams, G.D., Wetlands of the prairies of Canada. In: National wetlands working group, wetlands of Canada, ecological land classification series, Environment Canada and Polyscience Publications Inc., Ottawa, Canada. 1988.
[26]  Winter, T.C., and Woo, M.K., Hydrology of lakes and wetlands. In: Surface Water Hydrology of North America, (eds) Moss, M.E.,, Wolman, M.G., and Riggs, H.C., Geological Society of America, The Geology of North America, Boulder, CO.1988.
[27]  Daniel, C.C., Hydrology, geology, and soils of pocosins: a comparison of natural and altered systems. In: Pocosin wetlands—an integrated analysis of coastal plain freshwater bogs in North Carolina, (ed) Richardson, C.J., Hutchinson Ross, Stroudsburg, PA. pp 69-108.1980.
[28]  Conly, F.M., and Van der Kamp, G., “Monitoring the hydrology of Canadian Prairie wetlands to detect the effects of climatic change and land use changes,” Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 67.195-215.2001.
[29]  Akinremi, O.O., McGinn, S.M., and Cutforth, H.W., “Seasonal and spatial patterns of rainfall trends on the Canadian prairies” Journal of Climate, 14(9).2177-2182.2001.
[30]  Pomeroy, J.M., and Gray, M.D., Snowcover: Accumulation, relocation and management, National Hydrology Research Institute, Science Report 7: 144 pp.1995.
[31]  Hayashi, M., Van der Kamp, G., and Schmidt, R., “Focused infiltration of snowmelt water in partially frozen soil under small depressions,” Journal of Hydrology, 270 (3-4).214-229.2003.
[32]  Rosenberry, D.O., and Winter, T.C., “Dynamic of water-table fluctuations in an upland between two prairie potholes wetlands in North Dakota,” Journal of Hydrology, 191.266-289.1997.
[33]  Euliss, N.H., and Mushet, D.M., “Water-level fluctuation in wetlands as a function of landscape condition in the prairie pothole region,” Wetlands, 16(4).587-593.1996.
[34]  Lehsten, D., Jos R., Von Asmuth and Michael, Kleyer, “Simulation of Water Level Fluctuations in Kettle Holes Using a Time Series Model,” Wetlands, 31.511-520.2011.
[35]  Johnson C.W., Millet, V.B., Gilmanov, T., Voldseth, A.R., Guntenspergen, R.G., and Naugle, E.D., “Vulnerability of northern prairie wetlands to climate change,” BioScience 55(10).863-872.2005.
[36]  Millet, V.B., Johnson, C.W., and Guntenspergen, G.R., “Climate trends of the North American Prairie Pothole Region 1906-2000,” Climate Change, 93.243-267.2009.
[37]  Niemuth, N.D., Wangler, B., Reynolds, R.E., “Spatial and temporal variation in wet area of wetlands in the Prairie Pothole Region of North Dakota and South Dakota,” Wetlands, 30.1053–1064.2010.
[38]  Kahara, S.N., Mockler, R.M., Higgins, K.F., Chipps, S.R., and Johnson, R., “Spatiotemporal patterns of wetland occurrence in the Prairie Pothole Region of Eastern South Dakota,” Wetlands, 29.678–689.2009.
[39]  Leibowitz, G.S., and Vining, C.K., “Temporal connectivity in a prairie pothole complex,” Wetlands, 23(1).13-25.2003.
[40]  PFRA (Prairie Farm Rehabilitation Administration), Prairie agricultural landscape: A land resource review, Agriculture and Agri-food Canada, Regina, SK.2002.
[41]  USEPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), Wetlands Fact Sheets, EPA843-F-95-001. Office of Water, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds. 1995a.
[42]  USEPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency), America's Wetlands: Our Vital Link between Land and Water, EPA843-K-95-001. Washington, DC: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Office of Water, Office of Wetlands, Oceans and Watersheds. 1995b.
[43]  Flinn KM, Lechowicz MJ and Waterway M (2008) Plant species diversity and composition of wetlands within an upland forest. American Journal of Botany1216-1224.
[44]  Barbier, E.B., Creman, M.A., and Knowler, D., Economic valuation of wetlands: A guide for policy makers and planners, Ramsar Convention Bureau Gland, Switzerland. 1997.
[45]  Miller, R.C., and Zedler, J.B., “Responses of native and invasive wetland plants to hydroperiod and water depth,” Plant ecology, 167.57-69.2003.
[46]  Galatowitsch, S., and. Van der Valk, G., “The Vegetation of Restored and Natural Prairie Wetlands,” Ecological Applications 6.102-112.1996.
[47]  Bedford, B.L., Walbridge, M.R., and Aldous, A., “Patterns in nutrient availability and plan diversity of temperate north American wetlands,” Ecology, 80.2151-2169.2008.
[48]  Sorenson, L.G., Golberg, R., Root, T.L., and Anderson, M.G., “Potential effects of global warming of waterfowl population breeding in the Northern Great Plains,” Climate Change, 40. 343-369. 1998.
[49]  Murkin, R.H., “Freshwater Functions and Values of Prairie Wetlands,” Great Plains Research, 8(1). 3-15.1998.
[50]  Hunt, R.J., Krabbenhoft, D.P., and Anderson, M.P., “Groundwater inflow measurement in wetland system,” Water Resources Research, 32(3).495-507.1996.
[51]  Jolly, I.D., McEwan, K.L., and Holland K.L., “A review of groundwater-surface water interactions in arid/semi-arid wetlands and consequences on salinity for wetland ecology,” Ecohydrology, 1(1).43-58.2008.
[52]  Westbrook, C.J., Brunet, N., Phillip, I., Davies, J.M., Wetland Drainage Effects on Prairie Water Quality: Final Report, Centre for Hydrology Report No. 9, Centre for Hydrology, University of Saskatchewan, Saskatoon. 2011.
[53]  Huel, D., Managing Saskatchewan Wetlands ~ Landowner’s guide, Saskatchewan wetland conservation corporation, Regina, Saskatchewan. 2000.
[54]  Van der Valk A.G., “Water-level fluctuations in North American Prairie wetlands,” Hydrobiogia, 539.171-188.2005.
[55]  Richardson, C.J., Flanagan, N.E., Ho, M., and Pahl, J.W., “Integrated stream and wetland restoration: A watershed approach to improved water quality on the landscape,” Ecological Engineering, 37 (1).25-39.2011.
[56]  Mitsch, W.J., Zhang, L., Stefanik, K.C., Nahlik, A.M., Anderson, C.J., Bernal, B., Hernandez, M., and Song, K., “Creating wetlands: A 15-year study of primary succession, water quality changes, and self-design,” BioScience, 62(3).237-250.2012.
[57]  Whigham, D.F., Chtterling, C., and Palmer, B., “Impact of freshwater wetland on water quality: Land scape prospective,” Environmental management, 12(5).663-671.1988.
[58]  Whigham, D.F., and Jordan, T.E., “Isolated wetland and water quality,” Wetlands, 23(3).541-549.2003.
[59]  Groffman, M.P., Galen Howard, Arthur J., Gold, and William, Nelson, “Microbial Nitrate Processing in Shallow Groundwater in a Riparian Forest,” Environmental Quality, 25.1309-1316.1996.
[60]  Simonovic, S.P. and K.M. Juliano. 2001. The role of wetlands during low frequency flooding events in the Red River basin. Canadian Water Resources Journal, 26(3): 377-395.
[61]  Lenhart, C.F., Verry, E.S., Brooks, K.N., and Magner, J.A.. “Adjustment of prairie pothole streams to land use, drainage and climate changes and consequences for turbidity impairment,” River Research and Applications, 28(10).1609-1619.2012.
[62]  Hey, D.L., Montgomery, D.L., Urban, L.S., and Prator T., Flood damage reduction in the upper mississippi river basin: An ecological alternative, The wetland initiative, Chicago, IL. 2004.
[63]  Bridgham, S.D., Megonigan, J.P., Keller, J.K., Bliss, N.B., and Trettin, C., “The Carbon Balance of North American Wetlands,” Wetlands, 26(4).889-916.2006.
[64]  Kayranli, B., Scholz, M., Mustafa, A., and Hedmark, A., “Carbon Storage and Fluxes within Freshwater Wetlands: a critical review,” Wetlands, 30(1).111-124.2010.
[65]  Borken, W., Savage, K., Davidson, E.A., and Trumbore, S.E., “Effects of experimental drought on soil respiration and radiocarbon efflux from a temperate forest soil,” Global Change Biology, 12:177-193, 2006.
[66]  Euliss, N.H., Gleason, R.A., Olness, A., McDougal, R.L., Murkin, H.R., Robarts, R.D., Bourbonniere, R.A., and Warner, B.G., “North American Prairie wetlands are important non-forested landscape carbon storage sites,” Science of The Total Environment, 361 (1-3).179-188.2006.
[67]  Liikanen, A., Huttunen, J.T., Karjalainen, S.M., Heikkinen, K., Vaisanen, T.S., Nykanen, H., and Martikainen, P.J., “Temporal and seasonal changes in greenhouse gas emissions from a constructed wetland purifying peat mining runoff waters,” Ecological Engineering, 26(3).241-251.2006.
[68]  Gleason, R.A., Euliss, N.H., Tangen, B.A., Laubhan, M.K., and Browne, B.A., “USDA conservation program and practice effects on wetland ecosystem services in the Prairie Pothole Region, Ecological Applications, 21.S65-S81. 2011.
[69]  Smith, N.W., Grant, B.B., Desjardins, L.R., Qian, B., Hutchinson, J., and Gamada, S., “Potential impact of climate change on carbon in agricultural soils in Canada 2000-2099.” Climate Change, 93.319-333.2009.
[70]  Wright, C.K., and Wimberly, M.C., “Recent land use change in the Western Corn Belt threatens grasslands and wetlands,” PNAS, 110(10). 4134-4139.2013.
[71]  Guntenspergen, R.G., Peterson, A.S., Leibowitz, G.S., and Cowardin, M.L., “Indicators of wetland condition or the Prairie Pothole Regions of the United States,” Environmental Monitoring and Assessment, 78.229-252.2002.
[72]  Tiner, R.W., “Geographically isolated wetlands of the United States,” Wetlands, 23.494-516.2003.
[73]  Seabloom, E.W., and Van der Valk, G., “Plant diversity, composition and invasion of restored and natural prairie pothole wetlands: implication and restoration,” Wetlands 23(1). 1-12. 2003.
[74]  Aronson, M.F.J., and Galatowitsch, S., “Long-term vegetation development of restored prairie pothole wetlands,” Wetlands, 28(4).883-895.2008.
[75]  Paradeis, B.L., DeKeyser, E.S., and Kirby, D.R., “Evaluation of restored and native prairie pothole region plant community following an environmental gradient,” Natural Areas Journal, 30(3): 294-304.2010.
[76]  Galatowitsch, S., Frelich, L., and Phillips-Mao, L., “Regional climate change adaptation strategies for biodiversity conservation in a mid-continental region of Northern America,” Biological conservation, 142(10).2012-2022.2009.