Wetland Restoration: From Planting to Maintenance

30 December, 2015

According to Bay of Plenty, a forum committed to the restoration of wetlands in the region, a restoration project can be summed up to two things: “careful planning and commitment to continued care.”

The same can be said about restoring your wetland. Wetlands are an important part of your property as they:

● provide wildlife habitat
● can be used as a recreational area
● help stabilize river banks
● help in sediment collection to prevent flooding
● serve as a suitable place for hunting game
● serve as nutrient filters for rivers and estuaries.

Restoring your wetland is an intricate process.

It requires careful and thorough planning and there are steps that you need to follow to do restoration correctly.

1. Gather information – As much as possible, gather as much information about your property and the surrounding areas. This information would be useful in applying for, planning and implementing your restoration.
2. Set a goal – You should have specific goals with defined timeframes on what you want to achieve with your restoration project.
3. Create a general plan – Map out a general plan on how to go about your wetland restoration.
4. Set milestones and specific tasks for your wetland restoration project- After going over the plan, you can now start implementing your wetland restoration plan, keeping in mind your goals and milestones.

Planning For Planting

Planting is crucial in doing your wetland restoration and requires as much planning as the entire project. It’s during planning where you determine the type of native plants to be used, how to plant them, when and where to plant then during the project.

Also part of planning is to identify weed infested areas in your map. Weeds can easily overpower new plants and would compromise the entire endeavor.

Fencing is another activity that you need to plan for before doing any planting. Plan your fencing in a way that would protect your wetland and the new plants as soon as you are into your restoration. As much as possible, include a buffer strip so you can control the activity in and out of your wetland.

And to protect your new plants and the health of your wetland restoration project, include animal and pest control in your planning. You can determine this by keeping an eye on weeds infesting your wetland as this can become breeding grounds for pests. Also check for possible gaps on your fencing where animals get in and eat the newly planted native plants.

Tips for wetland restoration planting

How is wetland restoration planting different from everything else? What can you do to make sure your plants survive? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

– Make sure you soak your plants well and avoid exposing them to the sun.
– Lay them out before planting, or you can lay them as a group.
– For wet areas, it’s advisable to do planting on a summer when the water is warm and at the low level. If your property is located beside coastal areas (with less frost), planting can be done during winter.
– Once there’s enough plant cover in your wetland, around one to two years after the first batch of planting has been done, you can start adding plants that need shade or shelter in your crop.
– Plant in groups (clumps) rather than going for alternating species.
– Create straight lines when planting instead of scattering them.
– Plant according to natural features and that they are planted according to right moisture zones.

How to maintain your wetland after restoring it

It is almost impossible to do wetland restoration without maintenance. Maintaining the plants and performing regular monitoring is vital to the success of your project.

● Keep track of those weeds – Weeds compete with other plants in your wetland, so it is important to contain them if not eradicate them completely.
● Be cautious with applying chemicals – Be prudent in using herbicide when spraying. Use a spray cone to avoid commit spray drift and don’t spray on windy days.
● Do mulching regularly – It helps control weed activity. But you still need to do monitoring as some weeds can still get through mulching.
● Monitor infestation. – Apply the necessary measures as soon as infestation is detected.
● Maintain fencing throughout the project. – A good fence keeps out pests and stops plant or waste run off into your wetland.

Plan Your Restoration With Professionals

As tempting as it is to just let nature run its course, wetland restoration doesn’t work that way. Careful planning, implementation and monitoring are essential to project success. Doing your restoration project haphazardly would only result in wasted time, money and resources. To do it effectively, working with a professional would be the best course of action.

We at Rural Designs can provide you with design solutions and cost effective measures in doing your wetland restoration. Not only that, we can provide you with an equally cost effective restoration management and monitoring scheme.

Our team of competent ecological experts from surveyors to ecologists to engineers helps ensure a more successful and hassle free wetland restoration process. From planning to facilitating to implementing wetland procedures, Rural Design will take care of your wetland concerns.

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