same chemical (including sediment) composition. It is entirely possible for the restoration or creation site to have water-quality functions superior to those of the impact site. If the impacted wetland is a mineral or organic soil flat (Brinson's 1995 classification), it would make only a passive contribution to water quality (Evans et al. 1993), because its only water input is rain, and the water-quality function is simply to provide an area of runoff where both the surface and the subsurface drainage waters are relatively uncontaminated with pollutants. If a mitigation site is a restored riparian wetland located between a stream and a nonpoint pollution source (either urban or agricultural), the mitigation wetland will have a water-quality function superior to the impact site. However, if the impact site is a riparian wetland while the mitigation site is on a flat, the vast majority of the water-quality function of the impact site is lost. To determine the water-quality function of either the filled area or the mitigation site, it is necessary to make some assessment of both the quality and the quantity of groundwater and surface water entering the wetland (Hill 1996; Hill and Devito 1997; Bedford 1999). Different regions of the United States would need to evaluate both the quantity and the quality of water entering a wetland in order to assess the potential for water-quality improvement.

Support of Vegetation

Wetlands fail to support plant biodiversity when the environment is extremely hostile (e.g., extremely contaminated or hypersaline) or when one or a few species dominate the site. Monotypic vegetation can be formed by native species or exotic species. Cattails (Typha species and hybrids) are notorious for overtaking nutrient-rich wetlands (Wilcox et al. 1984), as are giant reed grass (Phragmites australis/communis), purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria), and reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea).

Invasiveness is a function of both the invader and the habitat it colonizes. Plants that invade wetlands are typically species with high seed production, high germination rates, and the ability to spread vegetatively. Seedling establishment is often the limiting factor, but once established, the clone can expand, such that a clone from a single seedling could come to dominate an entire site. An additional attribute of invasive species is their ability to take up and utilize nutrients from high concentrations in the water or soil supply. In the Everglades, for example, native Cladium jamaicence is adapted to oligotrophic waters; it absorbs and stores nutrients in leaf bases. In contrast, the invasive Typha domingensis takes up nutrients and distributes them throughout the plant, growing to greater heights and biomass, thereby outcompeting Cladium where surface waters are eutrophic (Miao and Sklar 1998).

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