Easement area prior to restoration inundated with Reed Canary grass. Photo taken from edge of road. Full screen view
Excavating the pothole early September 2013. DEC wetlands and cedar swamp is in background. Full screen view
Water already filling up the excavated pothole area while construction going on. Full screen view
While most people, including myself, would be skeptical about following through on the requirements and paperwork needed to close on a one acre WRP permanent easement, in the case of one site in Herkimer County, the ending photos demonstrate the success.
The easement site was located in a tricky place with a State Highway on one side, the participants lawn on another and a cedar swamp on the other two sides. The site was inundated with invasive Reed Canarygrass and provided no open water habitat. Additionally, the impacts of a culvert under the highway could be seen with sand deposition on the road side and the abundance of invasive plants. Part of a larger, adjacent Department of Conservation (DEC) regulated wetland, the site was originally planned in 2005 for a low berm. It was later determined that the site was best suited for development of a large pothole that would take up the majority of the easement area. Challenges to this site included placement of the excavated material (all the excavated material had to be removed from the easement), getting DEC to agree to the final Wetlands Reserve Plan of Operation (WRPO), and maneuvering equipment onto the site through the landowner’s yard and vegetable garden. Construction was finally underway in September 2013.
Monitoring of the site in June of 2014 proved that the diligence in planning and cooperation between the agencies and the participant resulted in successful re-establishment of desirable wetland habitat. The participant even installed wood duck boxes in the cedar swamp away from the pothole for nesting opportunities. The pothole is full and provides lovely open water habitat. The diversity of the vegetation has begun to change and supports a variety of plants including Showy Lady’s Slipper and False Solomon’s Seal.