2006 Philadelphia Annual Meeting (22–25 October 2006)

Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 9:25 AM


HARVEY, F. Edwin, School of Natural Resources and Conservation and Survey Division, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 113 NH, Lincoln, NE 68588-0517, feharvey1@unl.edu

Nebraska's eastern saline wetlands are critically imperiled as a result of changes in the local hydrology following decades of continued encroachment of urban areas, and stream channelization of feeder creeks and streams to afford flood control in and around the capital city of Lincoln. Saline wetlands, found more commonly in coastal areas, or in more arid climates, occur in Nebraska within the floodplains of the Salt and Rock Creek watersheds and provide habitat for a variety of salt-tolerant plant species such as inland saltgrass (Distichlis spicata), sea blite (Suaeda depressa), and saltwort (Salicornia rubra) which is listed as one of Nebraska's endangered species. In addition to these unique plant species, these saline wetlands are also home to a rare and restricted endemic sub-species of tiger beetle (Cicindela nevadica var. lincolniana) which is listed on both the Nebraska and federal endangered species lists. As with all wetlands, local and regional surface water and groundwater exchanges play a vital role in maintaining and sustaining the ecosystem by controlling the availability and flow of water. But additionally, in the case of Nebraska's saline wetlands, the hydrology also controls the transport and distribution of the salts derived from regional saline groundwater flow which produce the necessary saline conditions at or near the ground surface. Thus, these species very existence and survival would not be possible without groundwater. If these endangered ecosystems are to be preserved and the endangered species reintroduced, management must recognize the role of groundwater and make appropriate plans to manage the groundwater system in addition to the surface water system. Furthermore, wetland managers must also insure that surface water management plans do not negatively impact regional groundwater discharge conditions.