A bird’s eye view of conservation

IMG_5867Today you are hearing from Ben Roosa, AmeriCorps Outreach Coordinator for the New York Field Office.  Ben enjoys sharing his love of exploring science and nature with others.

 

Since 2010, the New York Field Office  has been hard at work improving habitat at the Rochester Embayment Area of Concern in Rochester, NY. With funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, we conducted wetland habitat assessments in the area and found a major lack of diversity, both biological and physical, in some of the wetlands. Cattails and a select few other plant species ran rampant, crowding out other plants, invading open areas, and nearly covering the entire wetland. The result was a simplified ecosystem with few species and limited diversity of physical habitat. By contrast, a complex, healthy wetland would generally have a mix of open water and vegetation with the plants being a variety of different types and heights. With the results of the assessments, NYFO identified several areas to focus on and developed plans to restore these areas to happy, healthy wetlands.

These great videos produced by Birds Eye View LLC provide an aerial fly-through of two of the restoration areas, Long Pond and Salmon Creek.

The Long Pond video starts on the east side of the pond, showing wetland potholes which were excavated within the cattail-dominated wetland and habitat mounds made from the excavated material. The wetland potholes and habitat mounds are specifically designed to be of varying size and depth/height so as to increase habitat diversity. The habitat mounds were seeded with a wetland plant mix and planted with native tree and shrub species. At the 36 second mark, the video then shows potholes and habitat mounds created along the west side of Long Pond, on both sides of Northrup Creek. In total, 9 acres of potholes were created in the once expansive cattail wetland in Long Pond.

The Salmon Creek video starts by moving towards a pothole created on the right and habitat islands created on the left (diamond shaped areas). The habitat islands were created to isolate the stands of cattail. The islands will be treated with herbicide after the bird nesting season and will then be seeded and planted with native species.  The video then continues past the first pothole and the habitat islands to show channels excavated in the wetland and the potholes and habitat mounds created on both sides of an embayment to Salmon Creek (the water surrounded by undisturbed cattails). The channels allow northern pike (Esox lucius) access to spawn in newly created wetland habitat. In total, 5 acres of potholes were created, approximately 2,200 feet of channel were excavated, and approximately 0.3 acres of cattail control islands were created.

 

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