We love marshes. At first, we were traveling around, checking out existing marshes (check out particulars here). As our enjoyment of marshes grew, we realized we wanted one to call our very own. Eventually, we started looking at this space behind our pond. Why THIS space, you ask? Well, this space gets watershed from about ten acres. You can see the slight incline down into it from most directions. An extra bonus was that this watershed also creates a feeder creek, which means the marsh-to-be gets even more water when it rains.
The more we thought about it, the more excited we got! So, on to the next step…
Now, to be honest, this was difficult for us. We love trees. But, cattails need full sun (for at least six-eight hours per day). And, tree roots and dams do not peacefully coexist! So, we carefully determined which trees had to be removed, and proceeded.
More equipment, more technical details, all the while with excitement building HUGELY to see a marsh-like formation taking shape…
Then (little did I know…as always, I thank God Jeff knows all this stuff!) – spill tube. Yes, we want the marsh to hold water. But too much water too suddenly, and the dam could (essentially) go *poof*! So, Jeff and I took a day off work and did this:
For inquiring minds out there, that rubber square is called a “boot” or a “baffle,” and it makes sure that the water can’t seep through the dam around the spill tube pipe itself. Please note as well, the high tech material tucked around the corners of the boot – AKA clumping kitty litter. This, too, guards against seepage.
Then, after all the excitement and weeks of work, we had….
…a big hole of dirt.
We prayed for rain.
And then (ta DAH!!!):
You wouldn’t have believed the celebrating at this little tiny puddle. What WE saw, though, was the future!!
Then we moved on to one of our true loves, which will be a blog post at some point, to make sure our new marsh would have cattails (oh, we have learned SO much about cattails…).
We got some more rains, and then winter set in for real.
Then eventually spring came around…
It was AMAZING how quickly new life materialized around this new marsh. Water plants, marsh plants, new birds (golden-crowned kinglets, sandpipers, even a Blackburnian warbler, just to name a few), micro-toads by the thousands, tadpoles and frogs – it’s like all the wildlife got excited and told others and immediately they began moving in! And…get this…we have heard a thousand times about marshes bringing mosquito problems. The truth? In prior years, we couldn’t really spend much time outside in the evening without getting eaten alive. Post-marsh? We’ve seen two mosquitoes. Yes, you read that right – two. And we are outside every evening now (usually checking out the marsh, of course!). The marsh restored a missing piece, we believe, with the minnows (we stocked fat-heads), more birds, more dragonflies, flycatchers and phoebes galore, and SO many fewer mosquitoes we can’t stop talking about it!
Next spring, our cattails will house red-winged blackbirds, our dogwoods will bring more warblers, we plan to erect a wood-duck box…more habitat, more creatures, more creation, more appreciation for the way the world was designed to work.
We are so very blessed.