US Geological Survey


Date of this Version



Published in WETLANDS, Vol. 23, No. 1, March 2003, pp. 26–34.


Intensive agricultural activities near prairie wetlands may result in excessive sediment loads, which may bury seed and invertebrate egg banks that are important for maintenance and cycling of biotic communities during wet/dry cycles. We evaluated effects of sediment burial on emergence of plants and invertebrates from seed and invertebrate egg banks. Sediment-load experiments indicated that burial depths of 0.5 cm caused a 91.7% reduction in total seedling emergence and a 99.7% reduction in total invertebrate emergence. Results of our burial experiments corroborated prior research on seedling emergence. However, our study demonstrated that invertebrate emergence is also highly susceptible to the effects of burial. Our research suggests that sediment entering wetlands from agricultural erosion may also hamper successional changes throughout interannual climate cycles. Land-management strategies need to be implemented that will prevent erosion of cropland top soil from entering wetlands.