Twin Cities WRS Seminar

Watershed-wide Wetland Functional Assessment Using Enhanced NWI Data


Jason Ulrich
St. Croix Watershed Research Station

November 3, 2017


Minnesota DNR's update to the National Wetland Inventory (NWI) dataset for Minnesota is nearly completed. The update includes a number of enhancements including hydrogeomorphic attributes that indicate wetland landscape position and hydrologic connectivity qualitatively. The DNR has partnered with the St. Croix Watershed Research Station to demonstrate ways the updated NWI can be utilized for assessing and quantifying wetland function. Function can be generally defined as a wetland's influence on surface and ground water, water quality and habitat. A key component in quantifying wetland function is understanding how wetlands often lie in connected wetland networks whereby the function of an individual wetland can be substantially influenced by flow (or lack of flow) from upstream wetlands (i.e., fill-and-spill). We will present background on the updated NWI, its potential uses and discuss our approaches to date for quantifying function of NWI wetlands at local and watershed scales.

Jason Ulrich is a hydrologist at the St. Croix Watershed Research Station of the Science Museum of Minnesota. He received an M.S. from the University of Minnesota in Water Resources Science in 2006. His experience and research interests are focused on streams and rivers in agricultural watersheds, and quantifying the effects of climate and land-use change on watershed hydrologic, hydraulic and erosional processes. He is currently pursuing a WRS Ph.D. at the University of Minnesota.