Assessment of Wetland Water Quality and Plant Species Composition across the Rural, Peri-Urban, and Urban Gradient
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The Prairie Pothole Region, specifically eastern North Dakota, has experienced intense disturbance from agricultural demands and urban sprawl. This study assessed wetlands across the rural, peri-urban, and urban gradient to determine the impacts of urbanization on water quality and vegetation composition. Thirty wetlands were randomly selected and compared based on land use type and the impervious to pervious surface ratio within one mile of each wetland. Water quality samples were taken in 2015 and 2016, and a vegetation assessment was completed at all wetlands. Results indicate disturbance from urbanization impacts wetland water quality and vegetation composition. Rural wetland water quality and vegetation significantly differ from both peri-urban and urban wetlands, whereas peri-urban and urban wetland water quality and vegetation do not differ. Information from this study is useful to wetland professionals across the globe as urban development and sprawl continue to impact wetlands.