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Created Wetland Study

Northern gray treefrog, excavated pond, Meadow beauty, and stormwater basin  

Like natural Pinelands ponds (see Pond Study), created wetlands can provide the habitat necessary for wetland-dependent plants and animals, especially in human-dominated landscapes where natural wetlands may have been degraded or eliminated. Two types of created wetlands commonly found in the Pinelands are shallow excavations that intercept the groundwater (excavated ponds) and excavations designed to receive stormwater (stormwater basins). In previous Commission studies, excavated ponds were found to be similar to natural ponds in that they often dried late in the growing season, supported native wetland vegetation and frog and toad assemblages, and sometimes contained rare plant and frog species. Previous work by Commission scientists and others has shown that stormwater basins in the Pinelands may function to some degree as constructed urban wetlands and can support fish and amphibian assemblages. In late 2012, the Commission received an Environmental Protection Agency grant to assess water-quality conditions, hydrology, plant and animal assemblages, and the presence of current-use pesticides and emerging amphibian pathogens in excavated ponds and stormwater basins in the region. As part of this study, the functional equivalency of natural and created wetlands will be evaluated by comparing the above biotic and abiotic factors between excavated ponds, stormwater basins, and natural Pinelands ponds.