Modern land use has dramatically altered the native landscape across much of Minnesota and the United States. “Manifest Destiny” has ingrained the idea in American society that wetlands and related lands of “low value” need to be tamed and made profitable. In many places, wetlands have been drained and removed so that agriculture can take over. In recent years, people have begun to see the unintended consequences of this method, and importance is now being given to natural wetlands through various government projects and programs. Using National Wetlands Inventory (NWI) data, Drainage Index (DI) values calculated from Soil Survey Geographic Database (SSURGO) data, and areas of low anthropogenic disturbance, this study investigates correlations between mapped soils and mapped wetlands. The main objective is to estimate the amount of wetland area that has been lost and suggest the likelihood of what type of wetland was present. The results reveal a good correlation with Max DI values and NWI wetland types when the Max DI values were greater than 75, meaning that it is sufficient enough to use soil data as representations for past wetlands based on the mapping techniques used in this study. Initial results suggest this process can be applied iteratively at a regional level for more accurate measurements in future studies.


Woo-Suk Jang

Committee Member

Fei Yuan

Committee Member

Phillip Larson

Date of Degree




Document Type



Master of Science (MS)


Social and Behavioral Sciences



Rights Statement

In Copyright