Wetlands & Habitat Restoration FAQ
Are the wetlands you create deep? Can they hold fish?
No. Shallow emergent wetlands are only 6-12 inches at full pool. They provide habitat for a variety of wetland-dependent wildlife such as dabbling ducks, insects, dragonflies amphibians, turtles and reptiles, but not fish. Restored wetlands also help filter nutrients and sediments from farm runoff before it reaches the Bay.
What type of vegetation should be planted in a wetland area?
This is dependent upon the hydrology, salinity, soil composition, tidal effect, shade and surrounding plant community in a wetland or marsh area. CWH will evaluate on a site-by-site basis the plants most likely to survive at your site.
What are the benefits of planting a warm season grass meadow?
Warm season grasses (WSG) provide essential food and cover for countless birds and small mammals. WSG are clumpy (not solid mats like fescue fields) which allows plenty of room on the ground for wildlife to move freely between the clumps. Native WSG provide excellent cover during all months of the year and grow well during our hot, dry mid-shore summers. They are lovely to look at and function to provide a nice visual screen for sensitive habitats like wetlands. Easy to maintain, WSG require little fertility and need only some managed mowing, spot spraying, or burning every 3 to 5 years. Most importantly, planting a WSG meadow will reduce the time spent on your lawn mower.
When is the best time to mow a warm season grass meadow? Are there any other ways to maintain a warm season grass meadow?
Areas should be mowed outside of nesting season, usually in March. We recommend mowing only 1/3 of a meadow every year. This creates a patchwork of habitat offering the right temporal and spatial distribution of food, breeding and escape cover. “Controlled burning” is actually the preferred method to manage and maintain WSG. Call CWH for help before attempting this.
What is CRP and CREP? Am I eligible for these programs?
The Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) and Conservation Reserve Enhancement Program (CREP) are the federal government’s largest and best environmental improvement program. Run by the USDA, this voluntary program pays landowners to restore wetlands, grasslands and forests on their properties. These restoration sites provide valuable habitat for wildlife and help filter surface and ground water of pollution before it reaches the Chesapeake Bay (or other watersheds). Your land must have been in agriculture for two of the last five years to be eligible for the program.