Paper No. 28
Presentation Time: 8:00 AM-12:00 PM
IMPLICATIONS OF THE USE OF SOIL TEXTURE IN ECOLOGICAL RESTORATION AS PART OF THE NORTHWEST INDIANA RESTORATION MONITORING INITIATIVE (NIRMI)
The Northwest Indiana Restoration Monitoring Inventory (NIRMI) is a program initiated in 2010 to establish a sustained system of evaluating species composition and ecosystem parameters in local habitat restoration projects across northwest Indiana and within the Lake Michigan watershed. The goal of NIRMI is to use a standardized approach to monitoring to acquire information from the over 160 restoration sites across Northwest Indiana. The quality controlled data will ultimately be made available on an open-access, and query able database. This project focuses specifically on the inclusion of soil texture as a parameter in restoration monitoring. Soil texture, and changes in soil texture, potentially provides an important metric for evaluating both the potential and progress for the ecological restoration of individual sites. Regional maps of soil texture apply classifications to regional soils that cannot evaluate subtle changes in soil texture that may influence restoration management. In summer 2010, three sites in different stages of restoration were evaluated for differences in soil texture. Soil texture analysis was determined using the USDA Soil Physical and Fabric-Related Analyses 3A1a. The remnant prairie, Cressmoor Prairie, was classified by the USDA as Rensselaer loam and determined through USDA procedures to contain loamy soil. The five-year restored prairie, Greiner, was classified by the USDA as Pewamo silty clay loam and determined through USDA procedures to contain clay loam. The un-restored farmland, Bock Higgins, was classified by the USDA as Blount silt loam and determined through USDA procedures to contain silty-clay loam. Ongoing work will evaluate the potential impacts of soil texture on infiltration capacity and seeding practices, while considering the implications of soil texture on restoration potential and site planning.