Applying Keyline Design Principles to Slope Wetland Restoration in a Headwater Ecosystem


By Walton, M., J. W. Jansens, J. Adams, M. Tatro, and T. E. Gadzia.

An interest in developing, testing, and documenting innovative approaches to slope wetland restoration has driven many projects funded by the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) Surface Water Quality Bureau (SWQB) Wetlands Program. A project funded by the NMED SWQB Wetlands Program to test the application of Keyline Design principals in slope wetland restoration was completed by the Quivira Coalition and associated restoration professionals.

Many restoration professionals have contributed to the conceptual toolbox for stabilization and restoration in the Comanche Creek Watershed. This guide builds upon information and innovation presented in the technical guide, Restoration of Slope Wetlands in New Mexico: A Guide for Understanding Slope Wetlands, Causes of Degradation and Treatment Options (2014) by reporting on the testing of traditional Keyline Design concepts. Although developed for agricultural application, Keyline Design can be modified and used effectively for wetland restoration to spread water to dewatered slopes and diminished wetlands.

This technical guide aims to inform wetland restoration program managers, restoration professionals, contractors, volunteers, and students about the specific role Keyline Design can play in slope wetland restoration. The innovative approach to wetland restoration offered by Keyline Design integrates and follows years of technical development, testing, and documentation of a broad toolbox of approaches to wetland restoration. The first Chapter of the guide provides an overview of Keyline Design principles to set the stage for the adaptation of many of these principles for slope wetland restoration. Chapter 2 provides a brief review of the basics of headwater slope wetlands and the stressors that have resulted in diminished ecological function. Chapter 3 provides an overview of ways of reading the landscape using the Keyline Scale of Permanence and identifying keypoints in the landscape. Chapter 4 details specific techniques tested in the Holman Creek Wetland Complex. Chapter 5 summarizes the project and provides suggestions for future work using the Keyline Design principles for slope wetland restoration.

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