Wetland habitat enhancement through increased interspersion and connectivity.
Benway, Steven*,1, Wu, Meiyin 1, Adams, Kenneth 1, 1 Plattsburgh State University, Plattsburgh, NY
ABSTRACT- Typha are very productive species that can rapidly expand into open water areas by the expansion of rhizomes. A marsh that is predominantly a dense patch of Typha stems is not a suitable habitat for many wildlife species. Creating potholes and connecting open-water channels in a Typha marsh are effective strategies for enhancing wildlife habitat. The Lake Alice Wildlife Management Area (LAWMA) in Clinton County, New York, comprises approximately 90 ha of wetlands and 470 ha of wetland-associated upland habitat within the Lake Champlain Watershed. The LAWMA provides habitat for migratory waterfowl, upland gamebirds and songbirds, including species listed as threatened or species of special concern by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC). The dominant plants in the marsh, Typha spp., have formed dense patches and have grown into the open water areas which once existed in the marsh. A wildlife habitat enhancement project was proposed to construct potholes and connecting waterways to increase the perimeter of Typha-open water contact and improve nesting habitat and food availability for a variety of waterfowl species. To successfully create potholes in a marsh and monitor the environmental impact of the project, the following procedures are recommended: 1. Conduct a site survey that includes a description of water quality, flora and fauna, hydrology, topography, and soils; 2. The plan for pothole design should include pothole size, shape, slope of the pothole perimeter, and the configuration of connecting channels. The location, size and shape of islands built from the excavated material should also be included; 3. Apply for wetland enhancement/restoration permit(s), as required; 4. Pre-construction preparation includes determining the optimum season for the project, timing and duration of water level drawdown, delimiting the treatment areas, assembling equipment stabilization-mats and selection of the type of excavation equipment to be used on the marsh; 5. Implement erosion control methods; 6. Construct potholes, connecting waterways and wildlife islands; 7. Disposal of any unused material dredged from the marsh; 8. Revegetate disturbed areas along the edge of the marsh; 9. Monitor ecological impacts.
Key words: wetland enhancement, pothole creation, Typha
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