Hydrological Restoration of a Drained Peatland
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The historical drainage activities in Big Meadow Bog on Brier Island, Nova Scotia have altered the hydrologic regime and physical characteristics of the wetland complex. The high ecological value of BMB, due to populations of Eastern Mountain Avens, was the initial motivation for the wetland to be restored. The effect of the restoration activities on water levels throughout the wetland complex was investigated on two different spatial scales: sitewide and within a focused study plot. The spatial variability of water level recovery was investigated and comparisons were made to a reference wetland. Growing season water levels were closer to ground surface for longer periods post-restoration, indicating that the restoration was successful at raising water levels across BMB. However, some areas of the bog showed poorer water level recovery when comparing the pre- and post-restoration predicted minimum water levels over the growing season. The prolonged drying and decomposition of the peat could be affecting its ability to retain water. Future research should include monitoring other comparable peat wetland systems as references, characterizing the health of the peat material, and monitoring the community of vegetation in the bog and potential recolonization of bog moss species.