Wetlands are very productive environments, providing a host of benefits whic include filtering pollutants from the water, providing protection from flooding, and providing critical habitat for many plants and animals of conservation concern. Delaware has 132,000 acres of freshwater wetlands and almost 90,000 acres of tidal wetlands, however, in the past 40 years approximately 40,000 acres of naturally occurring wetlands have been lost.
Restoration of previously converted wetlands (areas that were once wetlands that have been converted to agricultural practices) serves to benefit a number of Species of Greatest Conservation Need including migratory shorebirds, migrating waterfowl and other wading birds. Pied-billed grebes, Bog turtles, Eastern tiger salamanders, and Barking treefrogs are some of the species that may benefit from wetland enhancement. Enhancement practices may include the addition of nesting cavities, fencing, invasive species control, woody vegetation control (where herbaceous understory and open canopy are the desired natural condition) and water management.
How do I know if my land has the potential for wetland restoration and/or enhancement? What should I look for?
Areas that flood periodically or have been ditched or tiled, areas adjacent to ditches or streams, and areas that contain invasive species such as Phragmites, yellow iris and purple loosestrife may be ideal areas for wetland restoration and/or enhancement.