Aerial view  of Jackson Lane restoration site.
This purpose of this project is to restore 265 acres of wetland and upland habitat on the Nature Conservancy’s Jackson Lane Preserve. It is a partnership between The Nature Conservancy, Maryland Department of the Environment, the Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Chesapeake Bay Field Office. Jackson Lane Preserve is in Caroline County, Maryland near the town of Goldsboro. It 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 harbor several rare plants and animals.

Another restoration technique employed was the placement of 60 truckloads of logs and stumps, collectively called coarse woody debris. Woody debris is an important habitat element in natural woodlands and wetland systems. The woody debris provides a perch for birds, gives frogs and turtles resting areas, and provides salamanders, snakes, and small mammals a place to rest and hide. We also placed several tons of straw in the wetland cells to deter the colonization of cattails which can become an aggressive plant in wetland restoration sites. The straw also provides a substrate for aquatic insects- a key component of wetlands.

The Nature Conservancy has put together an extensive monitoring program at the site. Graduate students from the University of Maryland and Towson State University are surveying amphibians and aquatic insects. Other researchers are cataloging plants, birds, and dragonflies. The data gathered by the researches will provide much needed information about habitat restoration

The area we restored included 220 acres of agricultural fields and 45 woodland acres previously drained by manmade ditches and subsurface drainage tiles. We used various techniques to restore the site. We built a series of earthen ditch plugs and removed subsurface tiles drains to restore the natural hydrology, or water, to the landscape. Pasture Pond, one of the Delmarva Bays, was drastically altered through ditching and was dominated primarily by red maples trees. To restore Pasture Pond, we removed several hundred red maples trees, which allowed a diverse herbaceous plant community to return, and constructed 2 major ditch plugs to restore the natural hydrology. We planted 95,000 tree seedlings in the uplands and wetland edges, installed 750 potted trees and shrubs, and transplanted 150 trees from the woodland edges to the middle of the fields.

The restored site is buzzing with life. You can encounter thousands of frogs and toads skittering about, large turtles basking on logs, birds singing from every corner, colorful butterflies, and an immense number of dragonflies patrolling the sky snatching mosquitoes.

For more information:

Rich Mason
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

Doug Samson
The Nature Conservancy

George Beston
Maryland Department of the Environment
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Link to the Chesapeake Bay Field Office