Flood Pulsing in Wetlands: Restoring the Natural Hydrological Balance / Edition 1

Hardcover (Print)
Buy New
Buy New from BN.com
Used and New from Other Sellers
Used and New from Other Sellers
from $114.86
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
(Save 25%)
Other sellers (Hardcover)
  • All (9) from $114.86   
  • New (7) from $114.86   
  • Used (2) from $154.99   


The latest cutting-edge research on flood pulsing and wetland restoration in North America

Presenting the latest research from leaders in the field of restoration ecology, Flood Pulsing in Wetlands reflects the current movement to incorporate flood pulsing into wetland restoration efforts. Emphasizing how integral flood pulsing is to successful wetland restoration, the book's contributors provide descriptions of restoration projects across North America in which flood pulsing has been primarily used to restore beneficial hydrodynamic conditions to floodplain areas, and improve or save vegetation, wildlife, and terrain.

Detailing the importance and applicability of recreating flood-pulsed conditions on floodplains for successful restoration, the first chapter introduces the concept of flood pulse and its unique role in wetland restoration. The following chapters detail the strategies and results of individual projects and the impact flood pulsing had on the projects' overall goals. Case studies detail the history of each region, such as the Southwest, including the Sonoran Desert communities and the Middle Rio Grande; the Missouri River in Montana; the Illinois River Valley; and the Southeast, including Brushy Lake, Arkansas. Also documented is the most famous case of flood pulsing used in the restoration of an entire landscape, the Kissimmee River project. Approaches used to restore specific plant and animal populations, the unique ecological concerns of each region, and the future outlook for each area are fully described.

Extensive bibliographies for each chapter make Flood Pulsing in Wetlands: Restoring the Natural Hydrological Balance the essential reference for restoration ecologists, consultants in wetland restoration, government and restoration agency employees, land managers, ecologists, foresters, and geologists.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Subsequent chapters of individual projects and the effect floodpulsing has had on each project's overall goals." (HydroReview, January 2003)

"This book provides pretty good information on theidentification, distribution and environmental significance of morethan 100 grasses, native and non-native." (Aquaphyte,(Summer 2003)

Read More Show Less

Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780471418078
  • Publisher: Wiley
  • Publication date: 5/23/2002
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 320
  • Product dimensions: 6.14 (w) x 9.21 (h) x 0.75 (d)

Meet the Author

BETH MIDDLETON, PhD, National Wetlands Research Center, USGS, Lafayette, Louisiana, is Associate Professor of Wetland Ecology in the Department of Plant Biology at Southern Illinois University. She is the author of Wetland Restoration, Flood Pulsing, and Disturbance Dynamics, also published by Wiley.

Read More Show Less

Table of Contents



Chapter 1: The Flood Pulse Concept in Wetland Restoration (Beth A.Middleton).

Chapter 2: Flood Pulses and Restoration of Riparian Vegetation inthe American Southwest (Julie C. Stromberg and M. K. Chew).

Flood Patterns and Riparian Vegetation in the DesertSouthwest.

Flood Pulses and Riparian Restoration.


Chapter 3: The Role of the Flood Pulse in Ecosystem-Level Processesin Southwestern Riparian Forests: A Case Study From the Middle RioGrande (Lisa M. Ellis, Clifford S. Crawford, and Manuel C. MollesJr.).

An Altered River: The Case of the Middle Rio Grande.

Consequences of the Altered River: Some Obvious Problems.

Research at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge: Floods,Fire, and the Litter Connection.

Fire: Its Relationship to Flooding and Litter Buildup.

The Future: Restoration of the Flood Pulse.

Chapter 4: The Role of the Flood Pulse in Maintaining Boltoniadecurrens, a Fugitive Plant Species of the Illinois RiverFloodplain: A Case History of a Threatened Species (M. Smith and P.Mettler).

The Flood Pulse and Boltonia Decurrens.

Adaptations to Cyclical Flooding.

Alteration of the Flood Pulse.

Restoration of the Flood Pulse to the Illinois River Valley.

Protection for B. decurrens Under the Endangered Species Act.

Policies and Prospects for the Future.

Chapter 5: Conservation and Restoration of Semiarid RiparianForests: A Case Study from the Upper Missouri River, Montana(Michael L. Scott and Gregor T. Auble).


Riparian Forests in Dry Regions.

The Upper Missouri River, Montana: A Case Study.


Chapter 6: Implications of Reestablishing Prolonged FloodPulseCharacteristics of the Kissimmee River and Floodplain Ecosystem(Louis A. Toth, Joseph W. Koebel Jr., Andrew G. Warne, and JoanneChamberlain).

Hydrogeomorphology of the Kissimmee River Basin.

Flood Pulse Ecology.

Restoration of the Flood Pulse.

Restoration Expectations.


Chapter 7: Flood Pulsing in the Regeneration and Maintenance ofSpecies in Riverine Forested Wetlands of theSoutheastern UnitedStates (Beth A. Middleton).

Hydrologic Reengineering of Forested Wetlands.

Regeneration Problems for Plant Species on Floodplains with AlteredHydrology.

Restoration Approaches.


Read More Show Less

First Chapter

Flood Pulsing in Wetlands

Restoring the Natural Hydrological Balance

John Wiley & Sons

Copyright © 2002 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-471-41807-2

Chapter One

The Flood Pulse Concept in Wetland Restoration

Beth A. Middleton National Wetlands Research Center, USGS, Lafayette, Louisiana

The reestablishment of flood pulsing in riverine and tidal systems is becoming recognized as an essential step in the restoration of wetlands worldwide. Especially in North America, monitoring of projects that have incorporated more natural water regimes is now under way. In most instances, researchers are still collecting the essential life history data that will aid in building a case for the need to recreate flood-pulsed hydrology in wetland restoration projects. In this book, each chapter examines a case history of one these projects, written by a field researcher close to the heart of this rapidly developing field.

The flood pulse concept was first developed to describe seasonal changes in water levels on Amazonian floodplains and their relationships to functional dynamics and the maintenance of species diversity (Junk, 1982, 1997; Junk and Howard-Williams, 1984; Junk et al., 1989; National Research Council, 1992; Bayley, 1995) (Figure 1-1). The interconnection of the river channel and floodplain is critical because functions such as production, decomposition, and consumption are driven bythe flood pulse (Grubaugh and Anderson, 1988; Sparks et al., 1990) and water fluctuation drives succession (van der Valk, 1981; Finlayson et al., 1989; Niering, 1994; Middleton, 1999a). Although this idea emerged from the study of large river ecosystems, there is growing recognition that tidal pulsing is also important in salt marshes (Niering, 1994; Turner and Lewis, 1997; Zedler and Callaway, 1999) and mangrove swamps (McKee and Faulkner, 1999). In addition, isolated restored sedge meadows in the Prairie Pothole Region have lower species richness than natural wetlands that developed while large floods still occasionally interconnected them (van der Valk, 1999).

Although the importance of the flood pulse is recognized for a variety of wetland types worldwide, the idea that it is necessary to reestablish a functional flood or tidal pulse in damaged systems has been adapted rather slowly by wetland restorationists. In fact, it is not yet known whether the restoration of flood pulsing restores function (Brookes et al., 1996), and at least some evidence shows that in and of itself, flood pulsing is not enough. For example, merely reopening a tidal channel may not restore salt marsh function if the soil structure is altered and/or too saline (Haltiner et al., 1997). Regardless of what else may have to be adjusted, reestablishment of the original water dynamics (and sometimes soil conditions) is a critical aspect of wetland restoration, even more than reestablishing the vegetation.

To restore a wetland, most often what is required is a reversal of the engineering that dried the wetland in the first place-that is, dam removal, dechannelization, remeandering, addition of debris, rediversion of water, cessation of water extraction, levee or polder removal. The reengineering at a landscape level that is often required for such change is not easy, either physically or politically. However, simpler and widely used approaches such as damming create static water levels and so are not adequate restoration approaches (Middleton, 1999b, 2000).

The alteration of riverine and coastal ecosystems worldwide is so widespread as to leave us few examples of systems that still have a natural hydrologic regime (Sparks et al., 1990; Petts et al., 1992; Junk, 1999). This is especially true in temperate areas of the world; in the 139 largest river systems in Europe, the republics of the former Soviet Union, and regions north of Mexico, 77 percent of their total discharge is affected by dam and reservoir operation, interbasin diversion, and irrigation (Dynesius and Nilsson, 1994). Water extraction along rivers is also causing salt water intrusion in fresh and brackish water coastal systems (Muñoz and Prat, 1989; Prat and Ibañez, 1995). Along rivers in industrialized countries, natural flood regimes are almost absent as a result of the reengineering of waterways (Bayley, 1995). Nevertheless, a few northern rivers that have been reengineered have portions that still flood pulse-for example, the Illinois (Sparks et al., 1998) and the Danube Rivers (Heiler et al., 1995).

After levees were constructed along major rivers such as the Mississippi, floodplains were converted to other uses, such as agriculture (Allen, 1997). If people move onto a floodplain after the completion of a water control project, it is often politically impossible to initiate the types of reengineering measures necessary for flood pulsing on the flood or tidal plain. Yet sudden, destructive floods sometimes occur on reengineered floodplains, so that a certain amount of rethinking is occurring recently. Is it really wise for us to restrict a river to its immediate channel and thus allow the encroachment of the floodplain, which exposes people to the threat of dangerous floods (Interagency Floodplain Management Review Committee, 1994; Junk, 1999)? In cases where the threat of future flooding is likely, portions of flood or tidal plains may be designated as nature areas to provide for flood storage (Zinke and Gutzweiler, 1990; Lathbury, 1996). Chronically flooded sites present some opportunities for the use of flood pulsing in restoration, albeit on a small scale. Nevertheless, there are some recent examples where flood-pulsed conditions have been (or are being) restored on a regional or landscape scale because of public demand, such as on the Kissimmee River (see Chapter 6). Unfortunately, because of the danger of flooding private property, restoration projects have usually been limited to ineffective measures, such as impounding waterways, that do not provide the biota with the pulsing environment to which they are adapted (Middleton 1999b).

The importance of reestablishing water regimes in sync with seasonal climate fluctuation and water flow in riverine and tidal systems has not been fully appreciated in wetland restoration. Organisms have specific adaptations that allow them to tolerate the wet/dry conditions that are a part of a flood-pulsed environment (Junk, 1997; Middleton, 1999a). Not only does each species have different water requirements and tolerances, these differ for each life stage-seed, seedling, and adult (see Chapters 2, 4, 5 and 7).

Damming, one of the most common river regulation procedures, is illustrative of the problems created by altered environments for biota (Middleton 1999b). Upstream, the reservoir above the dam becomes permanently impounded, resulting in a replacement of riparian vegetation with algal or submerged communities. Downstream from the dam, flows in the stream channel are altered, which changes the nature of the pulse transmitted to the floodplain (Middleton 1999b). Sediments become trapped behind the dam, so downcutting and erosion occur in the downstream channel, further cutting off the channel from the floodplain (Petts and Lewin, 1979; Hickin, 1983; Petts, 1984).

Permanent flooding lowers the overall species richness along regulated rivers because the sites never draw down (Nilsson et al., 1997). The dry phase of the flood pulse is critical, because even the most flood-tolerant species will eventually die in anaerobic conditions (Crawford, 1983; Armstrong et al., 1994) even though such species possess many mechanisms to survive periods of inundation (Crawford and Braendle, 1996; McKevlin et al., 1998). The long-term effects of impoundment in reservoirs indicate that when a river margin is permanently flooded, many species are lost, as was demonstrated in a study of eight Swedish rivers (Jansson et al., 2000b).

Impoundment is often used in restoration as a means of increasing water levels in a dried wetland, but because of the lack of a flood pulse, regeneration-from seed dispersal to the seedling recruitment stage-is problematic (Middleton, 1999b, 2000). Dams inhibit the movement of hydrochorous seeds because of fragmentation and low current velocity, and this affects seed availability along the corridor; as a result, each impoundment develops a distinctive flora (Jansson et al., 2000a) (Figure 1-2). In addition, because impoundment reduces dispersal distance, impoundments are likely inhabited by individuals that are more closely related to each other (Jansson et al., 2000a). The impacts of dams on flora were still apparent 65 km downstream of dams along six rivers in Virginia (Schneider et al., 1989). River regulation also has severe impacts on fauna; it desynchronizes environmental cycles and thus disrupts reproductive cycles of fish (Welcomme, 1989; Gehrke et al., 1995; Junk, 1997) and migrations of invertebrates (Adis et al., 1996).

Successful restoration depends on a better understanding of the life history requirements of plants and animals (Chapters 2 to 6). Seed germination can be critically dependent on flood pulsing, with the high phase of the pulse necessary for dispersal and drawdown necessary for germination (Junk and Piedade, 1997; Middleton, 1999b, 2000). Without a flood pulse, the dispersal of some species, such as Taxodium distichum and Populus spp., to suitable elevations for germination during the growing season is hampered (Chapters 7 and 5, respectively). Certain endangered species such as Boltonia decurrens on the Illinois River cannot germinate and set seed without a flood pulse (Chapter 4). Seed germination can also be sensitive to other environmental factors, such as salinity (Galinato and van der Valk, 1986; Baldwin et al., 1996), temperature, substrate, pH, and light quality (Baskin and Baskin, 1998). At the same time, floods remove the debris that sometimes decreases the germinability of seeds (Chapter 3). Species become increasingly tolerant of flooding as plants mature (Chapter 7). By the adult stage, water tolerance is widely variable between species and forms the basis for the compositional differences of wetlands (Harris et al., 1975; Whitlow and Harris, 1979; Hook, 1984; Theriot, 1993; Middleton, 1999b). Unfortunately, water for restoration purposes in the arid West may be so limited by competing demands by humans that restoration may be nearly impossible (Chapter 2).

River regulation impacts the flood pulsing environment experienced by flora and fauna on flood and coastal plains, which is critical in the life history dynamics of these species. Without proper attention to the hydrologic setting created, attempts at wetland restoration will fail. This book reviews the case histories of restoration situations where either flood pulsing has been reestablished as part of the project, or extensive studies of the life history requirements of species that are likely to need flood pulsing are being conducted.


Excerpted from Flood Pulsing in Wetlands Copyright © 2002 by John Wiley & Sons, Inc.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Read More Show Less

Customer Reviews

Be the first to write a review
( 0 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star


4 Star


3 Star


2 Star


1 Star


Your Rating:

Your Name: Create a Pen Name or

Barnes & Noble.com Review Rules

Our reader reviews allow you to share your comments on titles you liked, or didn't, with others. By submitting an online review, you are representing to Barnes & Noble.com that all information contained in your review is original and accurate in all respects, and that the submission of such content by you and the posting of such content by Barnes & Noble.com does not and will not violate the rights of any third party. Please follow the rules below to help ensure that your review can be posted.

Reviews by Our Customers Under the Age of 13

We highly value and respect everyone's opinion concerning the titles we offer. However, we cannot allow persons under the age of 13 to have accounts at BN.com or to post customer reviews. Please see our Terms of Use for more details.

What to exclude from your review:

Please do not write about reviews, commentary, or information posted on the product page. If you see any errors in the information on the product page, please send us an email.

Reviews should not contain any of the following:

  • - HTML tags, profanity, obscenities, vulgarities, or comments that defame anyone
  • - Time-sensitive information such as tour dates, signings, lectures, etc.
  • - Single-word reviews. Other people will read your review to discover why you liked or didn't like the title. Be descriptive.
  • - Comments focusing on the author or that may ruin the ending for others
  • - Phone numbers, addresses, URLs
  • - Pricing and availability information or alternative ordering information
  • - Advertisements or commercial solicitation


  • - By submitting a review, you grant to Barnes & Noble.com and its sublicensees the royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable right and license to use the review in accordance with the Barnes & Noble.com Terms of Use.
  • - Barnes & Noble.com reserves the right not to post any review -- particularly those that do not follow the terms and conditions of these Rules. Barnes & Noble.com also reserves the right to remove any review at any time without notice.
  • - See Terms of Use for other conditions and disclaimers.
Search for Products You'd Like to Recommend

Recommend other products that relate to your review. Just search for them below and share!

Create a Pen Name

Your Pen Name is your unique identity on BN.com. It will appear on the reviews you write and other website activities. Your Pen Name cannot be edited, changed or deleted once submitted.

Your Pen Name can be any combination of alphanumeric characters (plus - and _), and must be at least two characters long.

Continue Anonymously

    If you find inappropriate content, please report it to Barnes & Noble
    Why is this product inappropriate?
    Comments (optional)