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Wetlands Ecology

Wetlands are areas with seasonal or permanent shallow surface water or water-saturated soils. Wetlands are becoming an increasingly important environmental issue, as approx. 52% of our nation's wetlands have been lost. We are now beginning to comprehend the valuable role of wetlands in water management, plant and animal biodiversity and global nutrient cycles.

In December 2001, BSU received a generous donation from the Katherine Neilson-Cram Foundation to create the George W. Nielson Endowed Chair of Wetlands Ecology within the Department of Biology. Dr. Richard Koch was hired in August 2002 to fulfill the goals of this endowment. Dr. Koch is cooperating with faculty and students in Aquatic Biology, Biology, and Environmental Sciences at BSU and with outside natural resource agencies to establish BSU as an internationally recognized institute for wetlands education, research, and management.

student in pond

The Bemidji area is ideal for studying wetlands, since it has a large diversity of local wetland ecosystems, including bogs, fens, marshes, swamps, prairie potholes, lakes and rivers. BSU offers a unique opportunity for training experts in wetland ecology, delineation, management, and preservation. Through the George W. Nielson Endowed Chair, BSU is moving to the forefront in filling the demand for highly skilled wetland professionals needed by natural resource agencies.

Students wanting to emphasize wetlands in their studies can take wetlands-related courses as electives while majoring in Aquatic Biology, Biology, or Environmental Studies. Dr. Koch is currently working on creating 2 wetland specific curricula programs: 1) a Minor in Wetlands Ecology and 2) a Wetlands Emphasis of Study through our Aquatic Biology Major.

Wetlands-Related Courses at BSU Wetlands Ecology, Wetland Delineation, Aquatic Plants, Aquatic Invertebrates, Entomology, Limnology, Readings in Aquatic Biology, Ichthyology, Fisheries Management, Soils, Ecosystem Ecology, Environmental Chemistry, Hydrogeology, Advanced Field Projects in Biology