To the editor:
As an ecologist with over 15 years of wetland experience, I would like to respond to the Sept. 4 Journal-World article, "Quality of new, restored wetlands center of debate," which posed the question, "When it comes to creating new and restored wetlands, how good is good enough?"
One thing is for sure, we'll never approach the diversity and complexity of pre-settlement wetlands, but we could at least strive toward creating wetlands that are highly diverse and function well.
To be honest, restoring or creating wetlands isn't that difficult: Add water (enough to inundate or saturate the soils for at least two weeks of the growing season) and wetland seeds to a depressional area and you'll have a "wetland" in as little as a few years.
However, the wetland wouldn't be much to speak of. But in most instances it would meet Dr. Boyd's definition of a functioning wetland: contain water less than 6 feet deep for at least two weeks of the year, have hydric soils and contain hydrophytic vegetation. And it would also meet the almost identical performance standards of the South Lawrence Trafficway wetland mitigation site as outlined in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers permit.
So when Dr. Boyd states that the success of the wetland mitigation is not dependent on plant species diversity, I beg to differ. He's technically correct, but I believe that high quality should be a primary goal in wetland creation or restoration not some mediocre standards established by the Corps.