Date of Award


Degree Type



Biological, Geological and Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Wolin, Julie

Subject Headings

Wetland management, Wetlands -- Ohio -- Rocky River, Rocky River Watershed (Ohio)


An intensive floristic evaluation of 17 Cleveland Metroparks (CMP) wetlands in the Rocky River Watershed (RRW) was undertaken to determine whether wetland size or anthropogenic disturbance in the surrounding landscape is a better predictor of wetland quality in this protected parkland. Wetland study sites were selected in three reservations, Hinckley, Mill Stream Run, and Rocky River. My research adds valuable information to the CMP wetland database and will contribute to its wetland management policies. Wetland quality was determined using the following floristic indices: species richness, non-native species, wetland species, mean coefficient of conservatism (C of C), floristic quality assessment index (FQAI), and an FQAI weighted with the wetland indicator status (FQAI-WIS). Wetland perimeter and area were calculated from shape files created by a 12-channel global positioning system (GPS) receiver and data logger. The extent of anthropogenic disturbance was measured within 100 m, 250 m, 500 m, and 1000 m buffers surrounding the wetlands using a landscape development intensity (LDI) index. This LDI index was based on 1) the percentage of each land use and land cover (LULC) category found in the buffer zones and 2) LDI coefficients for each LULC category that reflect the amount of energy associated with human activities. Linear regressions (p = 0.05) were run to evaluate the relationship between the predictor variables (perimeter, area, perimeter/area ratio, and LDI) and the response variables (floristic indices). Results showed a significant positive correlation between wetland species and perimeter. However, when the site with the largest perimeter was removed from the data set, this correlation no longer existed. Results also showed a significant negative correlation between 1) mean coefficient of conservatism and 250 m LDI, 2) FQAI and 250 m LDI, 3) FQAI and 500 m LDI, and 4) FQAI-WIS and 250 m LDI. While these regressions were significant, the R2 range from 0.27 to 0.31 indicated weak correlations.