Not Only Mother Nature Can Create a Wetland!

Reversing the Plight of Wetlands

Wetlands Lesson 2

Nearly half of all wetland habitats in the U.S. have been destroyed or substantially altered by flooding from dams, water diversion, or draining for human development. Today, we better understand and ppreciate the great value and important functions of wetlands, and strive to preserve and restore what little is left.

Recipe for a Created Wetland (Just Add Water!)

Panel2aSince we know what makes a wetland, one would think you could “mix” the water and soil “ingredients” together to create new wetlands. Well, we can and have, as you see before you! This wetland was “born” from dry grassland. We excavated a pond and piled the soil high to create a center nesting island.

Our water is supplied by a pipe extended into the retention basin. The basin’s irrigation water is  pumped with power from the solar panels behind you. After planting vegetation and flooding–presto, we have a wetland! Though small, it’s productive and adds diversity to the area, and is ideal for educational activities.

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Human-Created Wetlands on a Larger Scale

Panel2cAs they say, if a little’s good, a lot is better! That’s the case with three area communities that have created large wetland complexes to purify and dispose of  their treated sewage effluent in a cost-effective manner. And at the same time, they’ve created valuable wetland habitats – all state wildlife areas.

Some of  the highest nesting duck densities in North America have been recorded at Show Low’s Pintail Lake, one of their several effluent marshes totaling 200 acres. Pinetop-Lakeside Sanitary District’s Jacques Marsh complex (left) provides 92 acres of productive wetland habitat, right in the town limits! Springerville is the third town that has created wetlands with their treated effluent.