Jackson Lane Preserve, in Caroline County, Maryland, is part of Crescent Preserve - a collection of private and state lands that have a unique type of wetland called Coastal Plain Ponds or Delmarva Bays. These special wetlands are dominated by herbaceous plants and support several rare plants and animals.
The Nature Conservancy (TNC) acquired a 330-acre farm adjacent to the Jackson Lane Preserve. The farm had an extensive network of drainage ditches and subsurface drainage tiles that drained the land making it suitable for farming. TNC along with Maryland Department of the Environment, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service joined together to develop a plan to restore the farm to its natural state.
The area restored included 220 acres of agricultural fields and 45 woodland acres previously drained by manmade ditches and subsurface drainage tiles. Various techniques were used to restore the site including building a series of earthen ditch plugs and removing subsurface tiles to restore the natural hydrology to the landscape.
One of the Delmarva Bays was restored through removal of several hundred red maples trees, which allowed a diverse herbaceous plant community to return. Two ditch plugs were constructed to restore the natural hydrology. Tree seedlings, potted trees and shrubs as well as transplanted mature trees were planted.
Sixty truckloads of logs and stumps, collectively called coarse woody material, were placed around the site. Woody material is an important habitat element in natural woodlands and wetland systems, providing perches for birds, resting areas for frogs and turtles, and hiding areas for salamanders, snakes, and small mammals.
The Nature Conservancy put together an extensive monitoring program with graduate students from the University of Maryland and Towson State University surveying amphibians and aquatic insects. Other researchers are cataloging plants, birds, and dragonflies.