Wetland Restoration In Your Own Westchester County Backyard?Posted on July 31, 2015
Wetland restoration is normally thought of as something that happens in some "other", far away place like a nature preserve or a national park. However, a huge percentage of our wetlands exist on private property--in our own backyards. This means that the individual property owner has the ability to make a great impact on regional and national wetlands restoration simply by preserving and restoring the wetlands in their own backyard. Of course, not many people actually have a wetlands area on their property, but if there is a wetlands area included in your residential or business property, or you know someone in this situation, you'll find this article packed with valuable help and guidance in restoring your wetlands area to its natural beauty.
A Recent Green Jay Landscaping Project
Wetland Restoration - Why is this important?
Wetland restoration preserves our coastal areas.
Do you enjoy a day at the beach? Thank the upstream wetlands. Rivers transport water, sediment, and nutrients from the land to the sea, play an important role in building deltas and beaches, and regulate the salinity and fertility of estuaries and coastal zones.
Wetland restoration creates habitat for plants and animals.
Do you enjoy observing wildlife, or just knowing that your property is a bio-friendly zone? The presence of wildlife is a sign that the land is also healthy to humans. Rivers serve as corridors for migratory birds and fish, and provide habitat to many unique species of plants and animals, including federally endangered and threatened aquatic species. Wetlands provide food, protection from predators, and other vital habitat factors for many of the nation's fish and wildlife species, including endangered and threatened species. If you're fortunate enough to have a wetlands area in your own backyard, you have the ability to participate in enriching life by restoring and preserving a bio-friendly area.
Wetland restoration creates commercial and recreational value.
There is economic value associated with recreational, commercial, and subsistence use of fish and wildlife resources. Any action you take to preserve and protect the wetlands in your backyard may have an indirect positive effect on our economy.
Wetland restoration helps clean up pollution.
Wetlands remove pollutants from overland flows before they reach our lakes, rivers and bays. Restoring and preserving the wetlands in your backyard will directly affect the entire water system downstream for miles.
Wetland restoration protects our land from soil erosion and flooding.
Wetlands intercept storm runoff and release flood waters gradually to downstream systems. When wetlands are converted to systems without water retention capacity, downstream flooding problems increase.
Remember the devastation wrought by Hurricane Katrina on New Orleans? A major cause of that devastation was the gradual commercial destruction of a natural wetlands buffer between New Orleans and the ocean. With this wetlands buffer compromised, the flood waters had direct access to the city with tragic results.
Wetland Restoration - The Condition of Our Wetlands
The Damage to Our Wetlands
Over the years, hundreds of thousands of miles of river corridors and millions of acres of wetlands have been damaged throughout the nation. In the 1600s, over 220 million acres of wetlands are thought to have existed in the lower 48 states. Since then, extensive losses have occurred, and over half of our original wetlands in the lower 48 have been drained and converted to other uses. The years from the mid-1950s to the mid- 1970s were a time of major wetland loss, but since then the rate of loss has decreased. Between 2004 and 2009, an estimated 62,300 acres of wetlands were lost in the conterminous United States.
The Major Culprits In Wetlands Destruction
- Dredging and stream channelization
- Deposition of fill material
- Diking and damming
- Tilling for crop production
- Air and water pollutants
- Changing nutrient levels
- Releasing toxic chemicals
- Introducing nonnative species
- Grazing by domestic animals
- Sea level rise
- Hurricanes and other storms
Wetland Restoration Progress
From 1982 to 1992, a total of 768,700 acres of wetlands were gained as a result of restoration activities around the nation (USDA, 1997). Likewise, numerous miles of rivers and streams were restored in our nations watersheds over the same time period. While this sounds promising, the overall percentage of our wetlands continues to decrease. We've simply slowed down the destruction.
Wetland Restoration - Back to Your Backyard
Do you have a wetlands area on your property? Consider restoring it and preserving it. Your action will be a part of the overall decrease in wetlands destruction. If enough residential and commercial property owners take action to restore and preserve the wetlands to which they have been entrusted, we can look to coming years where the overall percentage of wetlands in our nation is actually increasing, moving back toward the 220 million acres we had in the 1600s.
Want to Restore Wetlands In Your Backyard?
Call Green Jay Landscaping
Many of the statistics and examples in this article are compliments of the United States Environmental Protection Agency
Jay Archer, President