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Wetland Reclassification
Maquam Bog and Munson Flats
Megan Euclide
Christina Martin
Meghan Shanahan
Zachary Walker
● Wetland environments provide habitat for significant
amount of plant and animal species, many of which
are endangered
● Wetland systems also enhance water quality and
support the structural stability
● These systems are often threatened by anthropogenic
● Maquam Bog and Munson Flats are two Vermont
wetlands that have unique attributes in comparison to
other wetland systems in the state
● These wetlands are also under potential risk from
degradation from human sources
Retrieved from
Retrieved from
Recovery v.s. Prevention
● The restoration of a destroyed or
damaged wetland can be
successful, but is often very
expensive and time consuming
● Therefore, it is more efficient to
prevent any initial damages from
occurring to the wetland
● Raising the classification of
Maquam Bog and Munson Flats
under the Vermont Wetland rules
from class II to class I is the best
way to achieve this goal
Retrieved from
Some Background Info
● Three characteristics of a wetland in the
U.S. (Pascoe 1993)
o Hydrophytic vegetation (plant life low in oxygen at
points because of high water content)
o Soils develop anaerobic conditions because they
are flooded for a long time period
o Wetland hydrology that has soil saturation to the
surface at least periodically
How Vermont Assesses How
Valuable a Wetland Is
● Rank each function as
not present, low,
present or high
● Functions include:
o Water storage
o Fish and wildlife habitat
o Exemplary natural
o Economic benefit
Class I vs Class II
● Main difference is
50 ft vs 100 ft
● Allowed uses very
o Can’t alter the water
flow into and out of
the wetland (Vermont
Wetland Rules 2010)
Munson Flats and Maquam Bog
● Maquam Bog
o Peatland bog
o Part of a delta wetland
2 uncommon invertebrate animals
1 uncommon plant
1 state endangered animal
1 state endangered plant
1 threatened plant
1 invertebrate threatened
1 vertebrate animal threatened
● Munson Flats
o Categorized as an
outstanding wetland by the
state of Vermont
Both currently Class II
2 state endangered animal species
2 state threatened species
total of 6 rare/endangered vertebrate animals
6 plant 15 rare species of animals in the flats
● Did a literature search on risks and
stressors relevant to wetlands
Northeastern US.
● Looked at Munson Flats and Maquam Bog
as case studies to identify potential
sources of stress.
Sources of stress for wetlands
1. Draining wetlands for
farmland or dredging for
Photo Credit: Lara Cerri
1. Surrounding land use can
cause biological, physical,
and chemical stress
retreived from
Houlahan et al. 2006
Sources of stress for wetlands in
Northeastern U.S.
● Surrounding development
● Climate change
● Surrounding agricultural use
Stress from Surrounding
● Increased runoff from
impervious surfaces.
● Change in hydrology
● Gateway for invasive
● Thermal and noise
Retrieved from:
Retreived from
Climate Change
Change in water balance
Northeast is experiencing a
higher percent of heavier
precipitation events
Retrieved from
Agricultural lands
Draining and hydrology
change for crop production
Overabundance of nutrients
from agricultural runoff.
Case Studies
Potential Sources of
Stress for Munson
● Two busy roads,
Interstate 89 and
Route 2, along the
both sides of wetland.
● Agricultural lands
surround the wetland.
Area for largest
Sources of Stress
for Maquam Bog
Change in hydrology of
the river delta
● Due to a changing
● Due to accumulation
of increased
impervious surfaces
Steps in Risk Assessment of Wetlands
Survey inputs that could be potential stressors
Ecological survey - is there any degradation occurring
Analyze the relationship between the potential stressor and potential receptor
In order to decrease chances of degradation, Monitoring for
this needs to start before there is a problem!
Monitoring is less costly than restoring damaged wetlands.
Effectiveness Of Buffers
● Sediments and runoff are reduced most effectively by
a buffer of 30-100 feet
● In order to be most effective in reducing both
Phosphorus and Nitrogen, a buffer would need to
measure 100 feet or more.
McElfish et al. (2008)
Once a Buffer is Established
Management and maintenance
● what are the standards?
● who is responsible for maintenance?
● Reclassify the wetlands to Class I in order to secure a 100 foot buffer
● land-owner responsibilities
● set up a monitoring program
Special thanks to Laura LaPierre and Breck
Bowden for their guidance in this project.
Houlahan, J., & Findlay, S. (2003). The effects of adjacent land use on wetland amphibian
species richness and community composition. Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences,
60(9), 1078-1094.
McElfish, J.M., Jr., Kihslinger, R.L., Nichols, S., Setting Buffer Sizes for Wetlands. National
Wetlands Newsletter, 2008. Vol. 30, no. 2.
Pascoe, G. A. (1993), Wetland risk assessment. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 12:
2293–2307. doi: 10.1002/etc.5620121211