Date of Award

Summer 2020


Access is available to all users

Date Available to Non-EWU Users


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS) in Biology




Throughout the West, wetlands have been drained or filled in for agricultural or urban uses. Staff at Turnbull National Wildlife Refuge (TNWR) in Cheney work with local landowners to restore wetlands through excavation or flooding techniques. Unfortunately, TNWR staff cannot evaluate the wetlands to determine which technique is most successful. This thesis project compared the macroinvertebrate and plant communities and the limnological features of wetlands restored through excavation and flooding with those of unaltered, reference wetlands on TNWR. I hypothesized that the reference wetlands would hold water longest and would have higher plant diversity and macroinvertebrate diversity and abundance than restored wetlands. I also hypothesized that the invasive reed canary grass prevalence would be lowest in excavated wetlands. I evaluated eleven wetlands monthly (May – Sept. 2018, May – October 2019; four excavated, four flooded, three reference). While the reference wetlands held more water and had higher plant percent coverage than the restored wetlands, most other metrics did not differ between reference and restored wetlands. Plant and macroinvertebrate communities were more strongly influenced by season (time of collection), year, and the presence of a non-native fish than by wetland category. Collectively, these results confirm that both restoration techniques are effective at creating wetlands that are similar to wetlands than have never been altered for human use