In an interdisciplinary project to develop protocols for long-term cultural and ecological monitoring of wetland restorations in Minnesota, we compared restored and reference wetlands on several ecological and cultural measures including land-use context, cultural perceptions, and management practices. Cultural measures were drawn from our surveys of visitors, neighbors, planners, and managers of the wetlands. This paper discusses their perceptions of six metropolitan wetlands (four recent restorations and two reference sites), how cultural measures of their perceptions compared with selected site characteristics and biodiversity measures, and what results suggest for wetland design and management. Overall, sites that were perceived as more well-cared-for and as a good place to enjoy nature were perceived as more attractive. In addition, objective site characteristics, like cultural cues and natural landscape context, were related to perceived attractiveness. While plant species richness was not significantly related to perceived wetland attractiveness for our sites, bird species richness was related to attractiveness.
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Vol. 24 • No. 4