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Wetlands Restoration on Working Farm

restored wetland in New JerseyThis farm’s dairy herd had been sold off in the 1990’s by the former owner. New owners, who were not dairy farmers, did not need to maintain the pasture created for the previous operation.

Through the Wetlands Reserve Program (WRP), the Natural Resources Conservation Service provided assistance to convert the out-of-use pasture to wetlands.

What was formerly pasture is now covered with water, wetland plants that have volunteered at the site, waterfowl, wading birds, reptiles and amphibians.

WRP-funded restored wetlands in New Jersey are helping to reduce flooding, filtering pollutants from water, providing critical wildlife habitat, protecting open space, and helping to keep our ecosystem healthy.

The Construction Process

Before restoration - little wildlife habitat Old dairy farm pasture features evenly-graded flat slopes, a uniform non-native grass stand and very little wetland hydrology. Little wildlife habitat is present.
After construction allows diversity Just after the WRP construction activities, the site shows varying water depths, several wetland regimes including shallow open water (6”-36” deep), emergent wetlands and saturated soil wetlands. Wetland plants will continue to volunteer and diversify the site.


pasture with 1950s drainage ditch A drainage ditch had been constructed in the 1950’s to improve the pasture for the farm’s dairy herd.
Former pasture restored to original wetland The ditch was plugged, a wooden water control structure was installed through WRP and the former pasture was restored to original wetland hydrology.