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Impacts of Wetland Restoration Efforts on an Amphibian Assemblage in a Multi-invader Community

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Abstract

The success of restoration in attaining wildlife conservation goals can be strongly dependent on both site-scale and landscape-scale habitat characteristics, particularly for species with complex life cycles. Wetland management activities typically target plant communities, and bottom-up responses in higher trophic levels may be dependent on spatially explicit habitat use. We surveyed plant and amphibian assemblages at 26 sites enrolled in the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP) in the Willamette Valley, Oregon to determine the relative influence of plant management, non-native species, and surrounding landscape on amphibian counts across multiple life history stages. Explanatory variables negatively associated with native anuran counts included percent invasive plant cover, non-native fish presence, invasive bullfrog counts, and area of urban land cover. In addition, native anurans were positively associated with WRP site age, suggesting that the benefits of restored wetlands may increase over time. This study emphasized the importance of adaptive approaches to maintaining diverse communities in restored habitats by considering impacts of synergistic stressors in a multi-invader context. Although invasive plant management provided indirect benefits to native amphibians, the most effective way to enhance native amphibian populations may be through eliminating the strong top-down forces exerted by non-native vertebrates.

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Acknowledgments

We are grateful for the support from a diverse group of collaborators and for funding from Oregon State University, The Wildlife Society, and private donors. The WRP landowners were imperative for the success of this project—without their generosity in providing access to their private lands, this study would not have been possible. D. Aleshire (NRCS) and J. Jebousek (United States Fish and Wildlife Service) offered critical logistical and technical assistance, as did personnel from other partners, including The Nature Conservancy and Oregon Metro. We greatly appreciate the efforts of field assistants who accompanied us in the field for long, arduous hours. We are obliged to recognize two anonymous reviewers and the associate editor who provided constructive comments that improved an earlier version of this manuscript. We also thank L. Ganio, B. Dugger, S. Chan, A. Herlihy, B. McCune, G. Evans-Peters, and D. Olson for contributing their wealth of expertise to various aspects of this study. Finally, A.R. Wallace provided inspiration.

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Correspondence to Jennifer C. Rowe.

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Rowe, J.C., Garcia, T.S. Impacts of Wetland Restoration Efforts on an Amphibian Assemblage in a Multi-invader Community. Wetlands 34, 141–153 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13157-013-0492-z

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