Bioassessment of coastal plains isolated wetlands (North Carolina Division of Water Quality)
Isolated wetlands (IWs) are a vitally important aquatic resource in the North and South Carolina coastal plain landscape in terms of ecological value and hydrological and water quality function. Rapid growth in NC and SC coastal plain counties (Crossette et al. 2004) in combination with the small size of IWs (median size of 0.41 acres) has made this important resource susceptible to loss through urban and agricultural development.
Isolated wetlands in the coastal plain counties of Brunswick, Bladen, Columbus, and Robeson NC and Horry, Marion, and Florence SC were evaluated for their hydrological function and pollution absorption capacity and surveyed to develop biocriteria and further verify and validate the NC Wetland Assessment Method (NCWAM). A stratified random design was employed to choose eleven high, medium, and low NCWAM rated IW sites used for the biocriteria portion of the study so that the results could be extrapolated to the entire study region. Eleven additional IW sites were selected for the hydrology and pollution absorption capacity portion of the study. These IWs were not randomly chosen due to specific requirements for equipment access and security, gradient and soil substrate characteristics, and necessary nearby proximity to a downstream connected waterbody.
Results of this work are available in a final report to the US EPA