Performance criteria, compliance success, and vegetation development in compensatory mitigation wetlands

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The US Army Corps of Engineers often requires wetland creation or restoration as compensation for wetlands damaged during development. These wetlands are typically monitored postconstruction to determine the level of compliance with respect to site-specific performance standards. However, defining appropriate goals and measuring success of restorations has proven difficult. We reviewed monitoring information for 76 wetlands constructed between 1992 and 2002 to summarize the performance criteria used to measure progress, assess compliance with those criteria, and, finally, to evaluate the appropriateness of those criteria. Goals were overwhelmingly focused on plant communities. Attributes used to assess the quality of restored plant communities, including percent native species and the Floristic Quality Index, increased over time but were apparently unrelated to the number of species planted. Compliance frequencies varied depending on site goals; sites often failed to comply with criteria related to survival of planted vegetation or requirements that dominant plant species should not be exotic or weedy, whereas criteria related to the establishment of cover by vegetation or by wetland-dependent plants were often met. Judgment of a site's success or failure was largely a function of the goals set for the site. Some performance criteria were too lenient to be of value in distinguishing failed from successful sites, whereas other criteria were unachievable without more intensive site management. More appropriate goals could be devised for restored wetlands by basing performance standards on past performance of similar restorations, identifying consistent temporal trends in attributes of restored sites, and using natural wetlands as references. (c) 2007 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)130-141
Number of pages12
JournalEnvironmental Management
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2008


  • Clean Water Act, Section 404
  • Creation
  • Floristic Quality Index
  • Performance standards
  • Plant community development
  • Restoration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology
  • Pollution


Dive into the research topics of 'Performance criteria, compliance success, and vegetation development in compensatory mitigation wetlands'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this