pp 1–14 | Cite as

Rapid Assessment of Wetland Condition Reflects Amphibian Community Composition

  • Kari DuplerEmail author
  • Michelle Guidugli-Cook
  • David R. Brown
  • Stephen C. Richter
Applied Wetland Science


Kentucky has lost over 80% of its wetlands, and because state-wide monitoring was historically minimal, this number is likely underestimated. The Kentucky Wetland Rapid Assessment Method (KY-WRAM) was developed to assess wetland condition. Our objective was to determine if the KY-WRAM reflects condition by comparing it to intensive assessment of amphibian communities, while simultaneously addressing which environmental variables explain the distribution and abundance of amphibian species in riverine wetlands. Wetlands (n = 44) were randomly selected and stratified by score for comparison of amphibian communities across a disturbance gradient. Factors including KY-WRAM score, nutrients, dissolved oxygen, landscape disturbance, predatory fish, and atrazine were included as model parameters to potentially explain species richness and abundance. KY-WRAM score explained the majority of variation in richness (R2 = 0.62), which was significantly greater at medium and high category sites compared to low. KY-WRAM was also an important predictor of abundance for seven amphibian species. Results indicate KY-WRAM is a good predictor of wetland condition and strongly relates to amphibian communities. Other variables that contributed to explaining abundance were landscape disturbance, wetland size, predatory fish, and river basin. Our study contributes to overall validation of the KY-WRAM. Future validation studies should focus on other basins, wetland types, and taxa.


Amphibian Wetland rapid assessment Riverine wetlands Kentucky 



This research was supported by awards from the U.S. EPA, Region 4; Regional Wetland Program Development Grants CD-95449810-3 and CD-00D08913-1. We thank B. Scott for her assistance coordinating this portion of the project and T. Olsen for assistance with site selection. We would like to thank all the landowners and agencies who provided access to their properties for this research.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Society of Wetland Scientists 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesEastern Kentucky UniversityRichmondUSA
  2. 2.WRA, Inc.San RafaelUSA
  3. 3.Kentucky Division of WaterFrankfortUSA
  4. 4.Division of Natural AreasEastern Kentucky UniversityRichmondUSA

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