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Table 1 Characteristics of functional wet meadow ecosystems (modified from [ [16]])

From: Have wet meadow restoration projects in the Southwestern U.S. been effective in restoring geomorphology, hydrology, soils, and plant species composition?

Characteristic Description Assessment
Suitable Stream Morphology A low gradient stream with a low width:depth ratio (<12) and medium to high sinuosity (>1.2), except in meadows believed to have no natural channel (e.g. [25]) Best evidence: Survey data on pre- and post-project stream channel morphology
Other evidence: Photo points, high resolution aerial photography, qualitative descriptions
Stable Streambanks Streambanks with the capacity to withstand repeated high water/flooding events without significant loss of bank material (except in meadows believed to have no natural channel (e.g. [25]) Best evidence: Survey data on post-project stream channel morphology following repeated hydrologic events
Other evidence: Photo points taken after several seasons, qualitative descriptions of the effects of hydrologic events
High Water Table High water tables are present within the meadow for long enough periods to result in reduced soil conditions near the soil surface (i.e. water table <30cm from soil surface for a period of at least 14 consecutive days during the growing season) and that allows for the support of native wetland plant species Best evidence: Data from water table wells and stream hydrographs; redox potential measurements taken within the top 30 cm of the soil column.
Other evidence: Visual observations of water levels, evidence of flooding, and soil redoximorphic characteristics; evidence of a transition to hydrophytic vegetation
Organic Matter Assimilation Characterized by a high percentage of organic matter in diagnostic soil horizons and/or a high rate of organic matter accumulation (the latter may be especially important in newer restoration sites) Best evidence: Measurements of soil organic matter content, with comparison to suitable reference sites
Other evidence: Descriptions of soil horizons, soil color assessments using Munsell soil color charts
Perennial Native Vegetation Perennial native vegetation covers ≥75% of the streambanks and ≥ 50% of the floodplain and is comprised predominantly of native, perennial species, especially wetland graminoid species with extensive and highly fibrous root systems (e.g., Carex spp.) Best evidence: Quantitative data on species composition, cover and biomass using accepted vegetation measurement techniques and appropriate sample sizes
Other evidence: Quantitative data from small samples; photo points; qualitative descriptions
Presence of Native Fauna The presence and relative abundance of both aquatic and terrestrial organisms is similar to comparable reference sites Best evidence: Quantitative data on target species using accepted techniques and sampling intensities
Other evidence: Visual evidence of species presence and abundance