Great Plains Studies, Center for


Date of this Version



Published in Great Plains Research 5:2 (Fall 1995). Copyright © 1995 The Center for Great Plains Studies, University of Nebraska–Lincoln. Used by permission.


For reasons of national policy, environmental need, and funding availability, wetlands have become one of the most active areas for ecological restoration. But, as this timely and useful book points out, such projects too often have consisted of plugging the drain tile or ditch and letting nature do the rest. This approach has resulted in failure more often than recognized. Failure is obvious when a restored "wetland" remains dry because the regional water table has dropped, more subtle when natural plant communities fail to regenerate spontaneously, or nearly invisible when predation exceeds waterfowl production. Lack of planning and basic understanding of the ecosystem has often resulted in restoring wetlands in the wrong places or establishing the wrong kind of wetlands in otherwise suitable sites. Later, lack of objective evaluation standards lets the assumption of success go unchallenged.