Around the Great Salt Lake (GSL), Utah, impoundment and water level manipulation is a common management practice, originally established to protect wetlands at the terminal ends of rivers from major fluctuations caused by upstream water use. Discharge of the rivers that flow into the GSL and the elevation of the lake are well monitored, but the hydroperiod of wetlands in the deltas between the rivers and lake are unknown, as water levels in impounded wetlands vary based on water availability and management goals. Piezometers were installed at 50 emergent wetlands around the eastern shore of GSL as part of an ongoing ecological wetland condition assessment. The data from these piezometers, which record water level on an hourly basis through the growing season, provide data that can be used to characterize the hydroperiod of these wetlands, and the differences between impounded wetlands and those left un-impounded. There is great variability in the growing season hydroperiod for the wetlands monitored, but median water depth, timing of drawdown and duration of drawdown are consistent within all wetlands. However, water level variability and the depth of water level drawdown effectively distinguish impounded and un-impounded wetlands. When linked to data on wetland condition, this information can help guide decisions about wetland water management to protect wetland condition.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/karin_kettenring/16/