Wetland restoration is an essential tool in the campaign to protect, improve, and increase wetlands. Wetlands that have been filled and drained retain their characteristic soil and hydrology, allowing their natural functions to be reclaimed. Restoring our lost and degraded wetlands to their natural state is essential to the health of America’s watershed. For the developer, restoring wetland is an option for meeting the mitigation requirements of a Section 401/404 Permit. The term “wetland restoration” applies to natural wetland sites with hydric soils that have been subjected to degradation from anthropological activities. The purpose is to restore wetland function, value, habitat, diversity, and capacity to a close approximation of its original condition as it existed prior to the disturbance.
Components of the system incorporate:
- Conditions conductive to hydric soil maintenance.
- Wetland hydrology (water source and hydroperiod.
- Native hydrophytic vegetation (including removing undesired species and
- installing desired species).
- Original fish and wildlife habitats.
Detailed plans and specifications are prepared that clearly define the goals and objectives of the restoration and specify the soil, hydrology, vegetation and wildlife criteria that are to be met. These planning steps are implemented with the use of a Functional Value Assessment of the wetland prior to disturbance. They are based on those functions that can be supported by current site conditions. Data from historic and recent aerial photography, soil maps, stream gauge data, reference wetlands and historical records are assembled to determine the wetland boundaries and characteristics. As well, the soils, hydrology and vegetation conditions on the existing adjacent landscape
and contributing watershed are documented.