Cornell University, NY Wetlands Creation
Over three acres of wetland were created to mitigate for wetlands disturbed during the construction of the new Laboratory of Ornithology. Regulators prefer replacement-in-kind which would have meant wooded wetlands, however personnel at the Lab decided that they did not want simply more of the same habitat. They wanted to establish new habitat types to increase the diversity of wildlife that would be attracted. Fill was removed from an area where material had been side-cast when Brown Road Extension was built many years ago. A wetland-island mosaic was established there with large snags placed for raptor perches. The old square goose farm pond was redesigned to better fit into the aesthetics and to provide a more valued habitat. A boardwalk that is extended from sanctuary trails now provides an overlook to the wetland area.
Thousands of plants and hundreds of trees indigenous to the region were planted and measures have been taken to protect them from deer herbivory. Special efforts and expenses were undertaken to ensure existing ephemeral pools were protected and that amphibians that use the pools would be protected from local traffic. The Lab personnel will implement follow-up efforts to ensure the wetland develops as it was intended. This could require removal of invasive exotics, adjustment to the level of the water in the wetland, or other measures that might be required by the NYS DEC or the US Army Corps of Engineers.
These wetlands should enhance anyone's visit to the new lab and will provide a valuable local example of created wetlands to watch as they mature and to use as a benchmark for similar projects in the region.