Document Type

Thesis

Date of Degree Completion

Fall 2015

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Resource Management

Committee Chair

Dr. Anthony Gabriel

Second Committee Member

Dr. Karl Lillquist

Third Committee Member

Dr. Megan Walsh

Abstract

The formation of wetlands in the Swauk Watershed has been primarily controlled by mass wasting events, which includes landslide activity. Landslide activity has been the primary influential process in shaping the landscape where wetland systems have formed on the surface of landslide deposits. The wetland sites used in this study, near the base of Table Mountain, were chosen because they inhabit the same ancient landslide, have the same underlying geology, and vary in aspect and elevation. The elevational gradient of the sites ranges from 1300 – 1600 m and the individual wetlands differ in terms of north- and south-facing aspects. Until this research, no studies had analyzed wetland function by using the Washington State Wetland Rating System in subalpine environments. Therefore, supplemental methods were used to enhance the quantification of ecological function. Results indicate high-elevation wetlands perform highest with regard to ecological function. In addition, elevation was found to be more influential over aspect in terms of influencing function scores. Findings of this research indicate this method is effective in terms of quantifying the ecological function of subalpine wetlands based on statistically significant analysis.