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Amphibian Index of Biotic Integrity (AmphIBI) for Ohio Wetlands

Contact: Mick Micacchion

 Abstract:

The Amphibian Index of Biotic Integrity (AmphIBI) for Ohio wetlands was previously developed using the amphibian communities of wetlands as indicators of overall wetland condition (Micacchion 2002). In that study sixty-seven wetlands representing different wetland types from the Eastern Cornbelt Plains and Erie/Ontario Lake and Drift Plains ecoregions were monitored during the years 1996-2000. This report includes those sites as well as additional monitoring information from wetlands in the Erie/Ontario Lake and Drift Plains ecoregion and wetlands in a new ecoregion, the Western Allegheny Plateau monitored in 2001 and 2002 respectively. Existing and new amphibian community attributes were tested as metrics that might provide the most reliable information of the condition of the wetlands. In the end, the same five metrics originally selected are used and the AmphIBI continues to correlate significantly with the original disturbance gradient and provides a tool for determining wetland condition. A second wetland disturbance scale, the Landscape Disturbance Index (LDI), that measures and scores land use percentages within a one kilometer radius of the wetlands is also compared to wetland condition based on AmphIBI scores and the results discussed. As in the previous study, the AmphIBI works well for forested and shrub sites but there is little ability to discriminate the condition of emergent sites based on their AmphIBI scores. Emergent sites generally score low across the spectrum for several reasons including the presence of predatory fish, improper within and around wetland habitat features for amphibians adapted to a forested landscape, and because these wetlands are often dominated by emergent vegetation due to disturbances. AmphIBI scores from ten constructed wetlands, nine of which were developed as compensatory mitigation, are presentedand discussed. A large percentage of the wetlands destroyed and for which compensatory mitigation wetlands are developed are natural forested and shrub sites. AmphIBI scores for the constructed wetlands monitored do not compare favorably to scores of the natural sites they are attempting to replace. Tiered Aquatic Life Uses (TALUs) for wetlands are proposed with AmphIBI scores serving as the numericcriteria for assigning the varying use designations.
Link: http://www.epa.state.oh.us/portals/35/wetlands/Integrated_Wetland_Assessment_Program_Part7_AmphIBI_formatted.pdf