, Volume 39, Issue 4, pp 865–877 | Cite as

Impacts of Shallow Lake Restoration on Vegetation and Breeding Birds in Iowa

  • Rachel A. VanausdallEmail author
  • Stephen J. Dinsmore
Wetlands Restoration


The Shallow Lakes Restoration Project aims to restore eutrophic shallow lakes throughout the Iowa Prairie Pothole Region (PPR). We compared the vegetation taxa richness and frequency of taxa in three vegetation groups surveyed in 2016 and 2017 across non-restored sites, younger restorations, and older restorations. We also assessed the impact of these groups on numbers of breeding marsh birds. Restored wetlands had between 2.7 (95% CI 2.3, 3.2) and 4.7 (95% CI 3.9, 5.5) more species than non-restored sites among the three vegetation groups. Typha sp. was the most abundant emergent species. Lemna minor and Ceratophyllum demersum were the most abundant floating-leaved and submersed species, respectively. The frequency of submersed aquatic vegetation increased with years since restoration, while floating-leaved vegetation and Typha sp. peaked at 7 years post-restoration. The frequency of Typha sp. positively influenced Marsh Wrens and Yellow-headed Blackbirds. Water depth negatively affected Marsh Wrens, but water depth positively influenced Yellow-headed Blackbirds. Floating-leaved vegetation positively affected Virginia Rails, while water depth had a negative effect on this species. Our results indicate that after about 7 years further management of the vegetation and water levels may need to occur and should include maintaining appropriate conditions for breeding marsh birds.


Marsh bird Restoration Wetland vegetation 



Funding for this project was provided by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Prairie Pothole Joint Venture, grant number F15AP00612) and the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (Resource Enhancement and Protection License Plate Funds). We thank Sarah Moodie for assistance with field work. We thank Brian J. Wilsey and Timothy W. Stewart for providing edits and advice on field methods and analyses. We also thank Mark Gulick, Todd Bishop, Doug Janke, Bryan Hellyer, Steve Woodruff, TJ Herrick, Clint Maddix, Chris LaRue, Karen Kinkead, Kevin Murphy, and Tyler Harms for help with planning and logistics.


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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Natural Resource Ecology and ManagementIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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