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Posts Tagged ‘wetlands’

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Smiles from Jerry Dollinger of the Gulf Coast chapter, Chris Kneupper of the Cradle of Texas chapter, and Ray Rottman and Nancy Saint of the Galveston Bay Area chapter of Texas Master Naturalists light up a cloudy summer day.

The wetland plant nursery at Exploration Green conservation area is up and running! We held our first volunteer morning on Thursday, September 4, with the able assistance of the Texas Master Naturalists. We loved the cooler overcast weather, even if it meant waiting out a 20 minute tropical downpour. About a hundred sprigs each of Maidencane (Panicum hemitomon)and Marsh hay cordgrass (Spartina patens) were potted up and added to the nursery ponds you can see in the background here.

The nursery will provide plants for the stormwater-cleansing wetlands planned for Exploration Green. These stormwater wetlands will be a model for naturally managing water pollution in our region.
Thursday mornings in the nursery will be a regular event and will be open to all interested volunteers in October. Contact Mary Carol Edwards for more information.

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The stormwater wetland at Exploration Green in Clear Lake City will require about 30,000 native plants for the park’s first phase. Fortunately, we can grow our own! For that, we need a nursery. Here are some views of the wetland plant nursery as it is being built.

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Framing out the tanks. There are ten total, and each tank will have three compartments.

 

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A bed of sand in each tank keeps the bottoms level.

 

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The heavy duty pond liners are going in today.

Although excavation for the lake in Phase 1 hasn’t started yet, the planning has been in full swing for months.  We’ll be collecting and growing plants in the nursery so that all the plants have been propagated and grown by the time we need them.

Watch for an invitation to the Open House when the wetland nursery is complete in August!

For more on Exploration Green park, check out the website.

 

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Texas floating wetland planting

We’ve got a second video on the floating wetlands project, just released by the Communications Department at Texas A&M AgriLife Extension.

All our projects should get such great media coverage! Enjoy.

 

 

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A scene from Cup and Saucer wetlands in Canterbury, NSW, Australia. Source: Sydney Water

Many of us are visual learners, and video-sharing sites like YouTube come to the rescue when we want to gain an understanding of something new and uncommon. That goes for learning about stormwater wetlands too—although good videos portraying them are few and far between. Stormwater wetlands don’t do hilarious tricks or say cute things, and at least for now, they aren’t abundant subjects for filming. However, the key to familiarizing people with their benefits—water quality improvements, habitat, and flood control, among others—is having good examples to which we can refer. Until there are ample stormwater wetland demonstration projects in the Galveston Bay Area, we can rely on “distance learning” through articles, photos, and now, video.

I had a look and curated a few videos to give you the idea of how a stormwater wetland appears.

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Recently I have seen multiple articles on various wetland restoration projects from California to Florida and the consistent (and obvious) theme: return the land to the wetland habitat  that once existed.  Those stories just lend credibility to our wetland restoration project at Sheldon Lake State Park.  The restoration of the 136 acres of prairie wetlands to date, and the upcoming additional 52 acres, reflects a true (as true can be) restoration–taking the landscape back to what it once was—wide-open coastal prairie and pine/oak savanna dotted and crossed by circular and linear marsh basins.   

As we look forward to Phase 4 of the restoration, its amazing to look at the pictures from Phase 1 and see that what we attempted to do with our restoration model, and indeed, how well it established and flourished.  Phase 1 was the beginning of the whole restoration process and we weren’t sure all we planned would work out–would the excavations be right? would the soils support the plant community? would the plantings take?  By the end of Phase 2 and 3, we felt that our model was solid and the progression below offers the visual testimony (picture of Pond 2, Phase 1)

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Phase 4 will take us into somewhat new territory but the principles of the model will remain the same. Investigate the landscape to uncover the past and precisely restore the wetlands were they once thrived and follow by restoring the native plant community by the hands of invested volunteers.  (Follow our efforts on the Wetland Team blog)

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