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Marsh Restoration Project Will Add 12 More Acres to Tinicum Marsh at John Heinz National Widlife Refuge
Northeast Region, October 17, 2007
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Heinz Refuge Marsh Restoration Project-view from near I-95 entrance area, looking at site on 9-19-07. Photo: Bill Buchanan, USFWS
Heinz Refuge Marsh Restoration Project-view from near I-95 entrance area, looking at site on 9-19-07. Photo: Bill Buchanan, USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a
Heinz Refuge Marsh Restoration Project: 9-19-07 Photomerge shows panorama of site looking south to north: Photo; Bill Buchanan, USFWS
Heinz Refuge Marsh Restoration Project: 9-19-07 Photomerge shows panorama of site looking south to north: Photo; Bill Buchanan, USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a
Heinz Refuge Marsh Restoration Project: 9-19-07: photo panorama shows work looking west to northeast at site. Photo by Bill Buchanan, USFWS.
Heinz Refuge Marsh Restoration Project: 9-19-07: photo panorama shows work looking west to northeast at site. Photo by Bill Buchanan, USFWS. - Photo Credit: n/a

Earth work is now close to completion on John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge at Tinicum (JHNWR) with a major restoration project involving twelve acres of freshwater tidal marsh along Darby Creek. Refuge staff and partners have been hard at work all summer and fall on the refuge restoring this old Army Corp of Engineers dredge spoil site. The spoil site dates to the 1950s and 60s when the area was covered by 5-7 feet of fill material that raised it above the normal high water line where it then became covered by a thick monoculture of invasive phragmites. During this restoration project all fill has been kept on the refuge to build up dikes and roads used in water management and help local towns with flood safety. Using detailed hydrology studies and laser leveling, the dredge material has now been removed and the site carefully sculptured to encourage the growth of wild rice, sedges, rushes and other beneficial native wildlife food plants. New ponds have been created as well as water channels to reconnect the restoration site with the natural fresh water tidal flow of Darby Creek. Hydroseeding is complete and the dike will be breached and bridged in Spring 2008 to allow for tidal flow. A public interpretive trail  will aslo be added along the dike. The local carpenter labor union has volunteered to construct a wildlife viewing deck which should be complete in 2008.

The restoration project was implemented by refuge staff in cooperation with the Pennsylvania Field Office Contaminants Program and Partners for Wildlife Programs in Pennsylvania and Delaware. The  Service's Northeast Region National Wildlife Refuge System, Ecological Services and Fisheries staff combined labor forces with Service equipment, supplemented by additional contracted labor and rental equipment. Thanks to Service equipment operators from John Heinz, Erie, Bombay Hook, Prime Hook, Cape May, Canaan Valley, Patuxent, Chincoteague, and Blackwater  National Wildlife Refuges as well as Harrison Lake National Fish Hatchery,  PA Field Office, and Chesapeake Bay Field Office, for working to complete the project. Service staff gained valuable restoration experience and through use of NRDA funding saved tremendous base salary costs to their home field stations. NRDA funding sources being used for this tidal marsh restoration on John Heinz NWR originated from the February 2000 Sunoco spill ($865,000) combined with additional funding from the Publicker, Industries, Inc. Superfund Site located on the Delaware River.


Contact Info: Bill Buchanan, 215-365-3118, William_Buchanan@fws.gov



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