Bay Program partners established and/or reestablished nearly 1,000 acres of wetlands between 2005 and 2006, contributing to a cumulative total of more than 11,000 acres since 1998, according to recently compiled numbers.
“Established” wetlands refer to forming a wetland where there previously wasn't one, such as re-shaping an upland site to make it suitable for wetland plants. “Reestablished” wetlands are areas that were historically marshes or swamps, but have been converted to another land use, such as farming. By reestablishing the land's hydrology, a wetland can form once again.
In 2000, Bay Program signatories agreed to pursue a net gain of 25,000 acres of tidal and non-tidal wetlands in the Bay watershed by 2010. These wetland acres would be gained through voluntary projects. In 2005, Bay Program partners clarified this goal to track only wetland establishment and re-establishment projects, which represent true gains in wetland acreage.
One such wetland restoration project was undertaken this year by Bay Program partners Ducks Unlimited, Maryland DNR, the Maryland-DC Audubon Society, the Waterfowl Festival and U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service Partners for Fish & Wildlife Program. Learn more about this project, which is restoring 63 acres of wetland habitat in Bozman, Maryland.
While creating and restoring over 11,000 acres of wetlands in the Bay watershed is significant, there is still much work to be done to achieve the 25,000 acre goal by 2010.
Note: Not all of the wetlands counted are functional; they are present but not necessarily serving as a benefit to the bay.