Evaluating a remote wetland functional assessment along an alteration gradient in coastal plain depressional wetlands

P. J. Backhaus, S. Lee, M. Nassry, G. McCarty, M. Lang, R. P. Brooks

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


As anthropogenic disturbance continues to degrade wetland condition in many geographic areas, it is imperative to inventory wetland functions to monitor potential loss of associated ecosystem services. Field-based functional assessments are resource intensive, prohibiting their widespread application at landscape scales.This obstacle can be avoided by basing functional assessments on publicly available remote sensed data.This pilot study examined the use of Watershed-based Preliminary Assessment of Wetland Function (W-PAWF) in the assessment of wetland restoration sites.W-PAWF was used to assess 15 depressional wetlands in the US Mid-Atlantic Coastal Plain.These sites spanned a human alteration gradient (i.e., natural wetlands, restored wetlands, and prior-converted croplands) to determine the sensitivity of the assessment method to variation in the assemblage and performance of wetland functions. Field-based rapid assessment methods were used to verify the W-PAWF assessment and detect potential functional gaps of importance to wetland restoration.Results indicate thatW-PAWF can differentiate varying levels of restoration condition,but refinement will be necessary to assess functional restoration goals related to biogeochemistry and water quality.An evaluation of the field-based methods and an alternate remote functional assessment system suggest the potential for these functional characteristics to be incorporated in future iterations of theW-PAWF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)727-738
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Soil and Water Conservation
Issue number6
StatePublished - Nov 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Agronomy and Crop Science
  • Water Science and Technology
  • Soil Science
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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