US Fish & Wildlife Service


Date of this Version

January 1988


Published in Diana H. Cross and Paul Vohs (eds.) Waterfowl Management Handbook. Fort Collins, CO: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1988. Online at


Wetland managers often monitor marsh vegetation to determine if management goals have been met and expenditures justified. Vegetation can be monitored using indices that identify plant composition, trends in vegetative changes, or rough estimates of food production. Development of vegetation sampling protocol requires careful assessment of management goals in relation to benefits received from sampling efforts. Assessing the results of manipulations has direct management implications, whereas detailed studies that emphasize plant life histories or basic ecological investigations have less direct value. Information on plant community characteristics that will enable managers to match sampling techniques with refuge needs and the constraints imposed by time, expertise, number of personnel, and program funds is provided.