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Wetland restoration typically includes modifications to soils, flora, and hydrology. Will the return of wetland hydrology to former saline wetlands create conditions suitable for wetland taxa, especially saline wetland indicator species? To answer this question we evaluated the potential restoration efficacy of historical saline wetland soils by re-exposing them to wetland hydrological conditions simulated in a greenhouse. Agricultural lands contained no saline indicator plants and limited wetland species, likely due to significant and long-term land alteration. Restored wetlands showed only a few additional wetland taxa, and seeds of saline wetland plants emerged from soils of only one restored site. Because land alteration threatens the seed bank status of current saline wetlands, potential restoration sites, and even historical saline wetlands under agricultural production in Nebraska, preservation of existing sites that currently have saline dynamics and affluent seed banks may be the only means for continued restoration.