One vibrant wetland, coming right up
Where there was once a scruffy field at the Powell Preserve, you’ll soon see a wetland. We’re excited to watch it grow!
Protecting and restoring wetlands is one of Sycamore’s priorities because of the immense value this ecosystem provides: habitat for a diversity of plants and animals, flood control, water quality improvement, and beauty.
So we were pleased when Ryan Slack, a Sycamore member, and Beth Hillen contacted us to see if we had a property that would be a good site for a wetland. Ryan and Beth work for Civil & Environmental Consultants (CEC), a company in Indianapolis that manages wetland mitigation projects. Due to a bridge repair project, Monroe County needed to build wetland habitat within the same watershed as the bridge.
John Lawrence, our Assistant Director, thought Powell Preserve would be perfect. It’s in the same watershed and has low-lying fields along a creek that would do well as a wetland.
Over the summer, Eco Logic, a Bloomington-based ecological restoration company, helped create over an acre of wetland habitat. First, the scrubby field along the creek was dug out a little so that water can flow into the depression when the creek rises. Then Eco Logic planted a variety of wetland plants, including reeds and sedges, shrubs, and 450 wetland trees such as pin oak, river birch, sycamore, and shellbark hickory.
This high-quality wetland habitat will attract wildlife like frogs and dragonflies. Also, it is right along the mowed trail at the preserve, so it’s ideally situated for visitors to enjoy the view. Go check it out!
Sycamore is lucky to gain not only improvements to protected land, but also long-term expertise and data from people involved in the project. The site will be monitored annually for at least five years to ensure it progresses steadily toward the three requirements to be considered a wetland: wetland vegetation, wetland hydrology, and wetland soils. Companies like CEC use various techniques to monitor such as collecting data on the success of the plantings, measuring groundwater levels, and looking for signs of soil conditions that wetland plants like.
Thanks to Ryan Slack and Beth Hillen for thinking of Sycamore and to Eco Logic for their high-quality work. Photos courtesy of Eco Logic.