Both of these salt marsh restoration projects, which involve active coordination with a variety of federal, state and local partners, restoration contractors and environmental consultants, are described below:
Nonesuch Salt Marsh Restoration
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/FishAmerica Foundation funds: $15,000 / Total cost: $126,000
This project will restore a 250-acre section of the Nonesuch River salt marsh, the largest sub-watershed within the 3,100 acres Scarborough Marsh Wildlife Management Area. Restoration work is designed to improve the hydrologic function and ecological vitality of the marsh by:
• Breaching an abandoned road in 15 locations. Breaching the road will eliminate a significant barrier to saltwater flow over the marsh and remove sections of the elevated berm that invite the establishment of Phragmites.
• Installing earthen ditch plugs in strategic locations to prevent excessive draining of the salt marsh through the ditches. The ditch plug material will be taken from breached sections of the berm that are free of Phragmites.
• Controlling Phragmites with herbicide, followed by mowing and mulching of dead remains.
Invasive Species Control and Native Saltmarsh Habitat Restoration Project
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/FishAmerica Foundation funds: $20,000 / Total cost: $100,000
This project will focus on the removal and reduction of non-native and invasive Phragmites in sections of the 3,100-acre Scarborough Marsh where sizeable patches pose the greatest threat of overtaking the Marsh -- such as Libby River, along Route 1, Prouts Neck and Stuart Brook. Specific distribution of funds will be based on highest priority needs and opportunities for positive impact. Partners propose to control Phragmites first and foremost, by addressing the causes of habitat degradation, which encouraged the establishment of the invasive plant in the first place. Therefore, prime control techniques will include replacing undersized culverts, breaching man-made berms and installing ditch plugs. In some cases, an approved herbicide will be selectively applied to Phragmites by a licensed applicator, dead Phragmites will be mowed and mulched, and excessive peat material or fill that unnaturally raises the surface of the marsh may be removed. Controlling the spread of Phragmites will help maintain native biodiversity of plants, fish and wildlife, and will help maintain the biological productivity of the marsh.
Partners involved in both of these important Scarborough Marsh restoration efforts include: Friends of Scarborough Marsh, Maine Dept. of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, Natural Resources Conservation Service, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Gulf of Maine Coastal Program, Ducks Unlimited, Maine Corporate Wetlands Restoration Partnership, National Fish and Wildlife Foundation and Maine Audubon Society, as well as environmental consulting firms and restoration contractors.
If you know of other potential opportunities to restore hydrology of salt marshes for the benefit of migratory birds, native fish, and native salt marsh vegetation, contact Sandra Lary at Gulf of Maine Coastal Program at 207-781-8364. Sandra and other USFWS staff biologists are available to review preliminary restoration concept or proposal, provide technical support and biological advice, suggest monitoring needs, and discuss outreach and potential funding opportunities.
The Friends of the Scarborough Marsh is a private nonprofit organization working in collaboration with federal and state agencies and other private and public organizations to conserve and restore the Scarborough Marsh. The Friends studies the challenges and potential for marsh restoration, and undertakes salt marsh restoration and monitoring projects, land conservation initiatives and public education.