I. RESTORATION PRINCIPLES
A. CHOOSE FORMER WETLAND THAT IS DEGRADED
Do not choose an upland system that is functioning comparatively well and convert it to a wetland system that may not achieve successful functioning for decades.
B. SITE, IN CURRENT CONDITION, SHOULD BE OF LIMITED VALUE
C. PRESERVATION IS A BETTER OPTION FOR SOME WETLANDS
D. USE REFERENCE WETLANDS
II. SITE ASSESSMENT
Causes of initial degradation may still be around: sediment, invasives, changed hydrology
Look for disturbances in the wetland (fill, non-native soil)
Look for off-site disturbances:
Changes in other wetlands upstream
Nutrients in stream
Invasives: Why are they there? (continued disturbance, historical disturbance, canopy removal)
Toxic fill: wetlands have historically been filled
Grazers, tramplers, hiking trails, buffer clearing, buffer dumping
Is the hydrology still there, is it really a wetland?
Max-min water levels, frequency of fluctuation, how long floods?
C. WATER QUALITY
Nutrients (esp. for bogs)
pH (esp. for bogs)
Urban runoff: oil and grease, metals, solvents (plants might survive, but would you want to attract animals to such a habitat?)
Excessive waste flow (hobby farms, septic systems, dairies)
Nutrients, pathogens, OM
D. TOPOGRAPHY AND SOILS
Bathymetry is critical: you need to know the contours to less than 6 in shallows (where you plant)
Soils: will the wetland hold water?
E. ECOLOGICAL COMMUNITIES
Existing plant stock
Potential donor sites
Potentially damaging or undesirable animals
Vegetation: livestock, deer, elk, beaver, muskrat, nutria, geese
Wildlife: bullfrogs, starlings, carp, rats, domestic and feral dogs and cats
F. WETLAND FUNCTIONS
III. PRELIMINARY RESTORATION DESIGN
Hydrology, spatial relationships, substrate:
1. VOLUMES AND FLOW
To get enough water: dig deeper, impound it, pipe it in.
Levees, dikes, sills, sumps, etc.
To avoid flood damage pipe it around wetland (tightline it)
Design shallow, not steep, slopes.
If you have an underlying impermeable stratum, do not excavate through it.
Do you need a liner?
Plant community structure:
See Vegetation Requirements
Spacing, vertical complexity.
Salvage, on-site, seeds, nurseries, propagation, wetland soil.
3. SPECIAL HABITAT FEATURES
What do you want to attract?
What organisms have had their useful habitat reduced?
Snags, open water, boxes, logs, islands, perch trees, etc.
4. HUMAN USE
What is the most minimally intrusive way to get humans into a site?
IV. FINAL DESIGN AND IMPLEMENTATION
Do earthwork, grading and excavation when it is dry.
A. CONSTRUCTION CONSIDERATIONS
1. EROSION CONTROL
Downstream sediment during construction will determine if you get your permit revoked.
Erosion control is a growth industry.
2. STOCKPILED SOIL AND VEGETATION
Salvaged vegetation may be retained on site if it is kept in shade and is watered. Short shelf-life.
Dont use amendments. Mulching is becoming more and more accepted as a good way to retain soil moisture during the dry season while suppressing weed seedling growth.
4. YARDS, ROADS AND EQUIPMENT
Soil compaction, root damage.
Petroleum product pollution.
Plant when it is wet.
B. PLANTING CONSIDERATIONS
At best, a secondary method in wetlands. Seeds float off, rot, are eaten.
2. SPRIGS, PLUGS, RHIZOMES, TUBERS
Appropriate for many wetland plants. But they can float.
3. CUTTINGS, LIVE STAKES
Cheap, prolific, usually sources nearby, hard to miss.
4. CONTAINER, BALLED AND BURLAP, BARE ROOT
Container plants are the most flexible plant form, and can be planted all year long.
Ball and burlap seldom used
Bare root is cheap, and works well where the individuals will not be threatened by water stress.
You may have to irrigate, even in a wetland.
Plant specifications from Stevens and Vanbianchi.
Have a threshold set for replacing dead plants.
Likewise, have a threshold for the appearance of invasive species. It should specify each species, at what level of invasion to act, and what to do.