Habitat loss is one of the biggest threats facing wildlife within the Chesapeake Bay watershed. With more than 16 million people living here, wildlife must compete with urban and agricultural lands for space. Working with private landowners is critical in order to protect and restore fish and wildlife habitat.
Last year the Chesapeake Bay Field Office Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program worked with a variety of private and government partners to develop a comprehensive habitat restoration plan for the Trippe Creek watershed in Talbot County, MD. Wetlands were created on agricultural lands. The restoration site is attracting large concentrations of migratory waterfowl and a myriad of wading birds.
This year soil was excavated and placed to form a mosaic of moisture zones to support different habitat types including more wetlands. Upland warm season grass buffers were planted adjacent to the wetlands and woody debris, obtained from a nearby farm was placed throughout the wetlands for structure.
This spring 50 acres of riparian forest buffer (2 miles) will be planted along with 85 acres of grassland habitat, ultimately restoring 300 acres of wildlife habitat and permanently protecting 200 acres of forested wetlands occupied by the federally endangered Delmarva fox squirrel. The project will also reduce nitrogen, phosphorus and sediment loads, having a positive effect on the local water quality.
To find out more about restoring wildlife habitat on private land, see the Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program at http://www.fws.gov/partners.