Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Restored WetlandFeaturedin The Nature Conservancy’s News
Northeast Region, November 1, 2008
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Restored Jackson Lane Wetland, courtesy of Doug Samson TNC
Restored Jackson Lane Wetland, courtesy of Doug Samson TNC - Photo Credit: n/a
pied-billed grebe, Lee Karney USFWS
pied-billed grebe, Lee Karney USFWS - Photo Credit: n/a

The cover story for the Nature Conservancy's Maryland/DC News brings readers to Jackson Lane Preserve, in Caroline County, Maryland where scientists from the Chesapeake Bay Field Office, Maryland Department of the Environment, and Natural Resource Conservation Service, joined The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and restored farmland to its natural state, in this case a unique wetland type called Coastal Plain Ponds or Delmarva Bays.


In 1999, TNC acquired the 330-acre farm adjacent to the Jackson Lane Preserve. The land had an extensive network of ditches and subsurface tiles that drained the land making it suitable for farming.

In 2003, the partnership began restoring the agricultural fields and woodlands 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. In two years the project has created or restored some 30 seasonal wetlands.

Several hundred red maples trees were removed, 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. The success of this restoration quickly appeared with arrival of six state-rare wetland plant species. And more than 50 varieties of wetland plants now grow in the ponds which in the spring and summer teem with aquatic invertebrates. Within one of year of restoration, biologists recorded 23 of 27 native amphibians and reptiles and 55 dragonfly and damsel fly species. Within two years, migratory tundra swans and state-rare pied-billed grebes were among the 70 bird species taking advantage of this unique Delmarva Bay habitat.

Contact Info: Kathryn Reshetiloff, 410-573-4582, kathryn_reshetiloff@fws.gov
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