Conversion of Existing Farm Ponds to Wetland in Agricultural Landscapes for Mitigation, Land Use and Conservation with a Perspective toward Climate Change
Kansas has lost an estimated 50% of its historic wetland, and many remaining wetlands are threatened by agricultural and urban encroachment. With thousands of farm ponds scattered across the agricultural landscape of the state, we evaluated the potential of transforming some farm ponds into more complex wetlands to provide increased ecological services and watershed functions. Nearly 1,150 farm ponds in the Delaware River basin in northeast Kansas were identified using remote sensing data and their catchment basins delineated and characterized. Then, 98 ponds were selected as a subsample to be characterized and classified based on field assessments of their physical and biological attributes. Finally, a conversion suitability index was developed and applied to the sample population, and key findings were summarized.