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Heinz Refuge Marsh Restoration Project Will Add 12 More Acres to Tinicum Marsh
Northeast Region, October 18, 2007
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Heinz Refuge. Marsh Restoration Project. Work as of 10-17-07. From a north central location looking L-R or north to southeast. Once filled in dredge spoil area begins to shape up as excavation is just about complete and hydroseeding has begun. This image is actually several that have been stitched together as a panorama. Photo by Bill Buchanan, USFWS.
Heinz Refuge. Marsh Restoration Project. Work as of 10-17-07. From a north central location looking L-R or north to southeast. Once filled in dredge spoil area begins to shape up as excavation is just about complete and hydroseeding has begun. This image is actually several that have been stitched together as a panorama. Photo by Bill Buchanan, USFWS. - Photo Credit: n/a
Heinz Refuge. Marsh Restoration Project. Taken on 10-17-07 from a south central location looking L-R or southwest to north. With excavation and contouring just about complete this shot shows one of the two pond areas complete with some trees to provide snags and habitat as well as ri-rapped channels through which the waters of Darby Creek will once again allow this area, previously used as a dredge spoil depot, to once again be a vital part of Tinicum Marsh. Photo by Bill Buchanan, USFWS.
Heinz Refuge. Marsh Restoration Project. Taken on 10-17-07 from a south central location looking L-R or southwest to north. With excavation and contouring just about complete this shot shows one of the two pond areas complete with some trees to provide snags and habitat as well as ri-rapped channels through which the waters of Darby Creek will once again allow this area, previously used as a dredge spoil depot, to once again be a vital part of Tinicum Marsh. 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 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 helping 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 being done this week and the dike will be breached and bridged in Spring 2008 to allow for tidal flow, with a public interpretive trail to be added along the dike. The local carpenter labor union has volunteered to construct a wildlife viewing deck which plans are underway to complete in 2008.

This 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. FWS Region 5 NWRS, ES 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 Refuges as well as Harrison Lake NFH and the Pennsylvania and Chesapeake Bay Field Offices, this project was made possible.  FWS staff were able to gain 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: Jennifer Lapis, (413) 253-8303, jennifer_lapis@fws.gov



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