Thursday, October 30, 2008

Y'all Buildin' Another One of Them Skeeter Holes?

A recently completed "swampy mess" that we built in Maryland
  • Sorry for the bullet format - blogger is acting up lately, as you can see from my past few posts.

  • In my business (building wetlands), I get to work with all kinds of people. Birdwatchers, hunters, biologists, engineers, contractors, farmers, investment bankers. You name the career or background or outdoor hobby, I've worked with them.
For those of you who don't know how wetlands work, here's the bottom line. Wetlands are like nature's kidneys. They are natural systems that thrive on taking on enormous amounts of sediment, pollution, floodwaters, and overall environmental havoc, processing it all, and spitting out clean water as a result. In fact, nearly all sewage plants are replicated after wetlands' natural processes of water cleaning through filtration (push the dirty water through a physical filter) and detention (prevent the dirty water from running off until after some of the pollution falls out, or falls apart). And of course, wetlands support lots of outstanding wildlife, including many of our game species and endangered species.
  • So, obviously there's no down-side, right? People should be lining up, to take their flooded crop fields out of production, since they can't get a crop out of them 5 out of every 6 years, right?
  • Wrong. There are a lot of misconceptions about wetlands out there, even in areas of the country where wetland conservation has a strong presence. The title of this post, and the caption under the picture, reflect two actual questions I've received about wetland restoration in the last year alone. And I've received many more! Let's try to address the most common misconceptions about wetland restoration:
  • 1) All you're doing is building habitat for mosquitos
  • Why this is a common misconception: people encounter mosquitos in or near coastal marshes.
  • The truth: mosquitos spend very little time in wetlands, and tend to get hammered by predators in healthy wetlands - particularly predatory insects and insectivorous birds. Most of the mosquito species close to your home are resting in bushes and in your lawn, and most of them prefer to breed in spare tires and old buckets, not wetlands. In fact, the West Nile Virus was spread to North America on ships full of.....TIRES! If someone is really concerned about mosquitos on their property, they should clean their gutters, recycle/throw out old buckets and tires, and provide habitat for birds that eat mosquitos.

  • Next time: answers to some more common issues with restored wetlands:
2) I want a wetland, but I don't want a swampy mess with all of those weeds
3) The ducks like corn. They don't need all those weeds and bushes. The ducks need more flooded corn.
4) Wetland restoration will lower my property value
5) The wetland on my property is worthless, it doesn't have any standing water.


tugboatdude said...

Ok so besides cleaning up around the exterior of the house what can you do to prevent mosquitor and his buddies from claiming squatters rights to your lawn.Let's be real most of us don't have acres and acres to make good habitat to invite mosquito loving birds.What kind of habitat do they like?What can I do in my little backyard?

Kirk Mantay said...

What can you do for mosquitos or for birds? All wildlife need three things: food, cover, and water.

Most of the skeeter eatin' birds are grassland birds like swallows and purple martins. They like wide open space.

In your little yard, if you built a tiny little pond with a plastic liner, and planted sunflowers or wheat or wildflowers or corn or something around it, you would have tons of birds.

{nUtTyPrOfFeSsOr} said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
{nUtTyPrOfFeSsOr} said...

I will plant wheat biscuits to celebrate the coming of birds cuz I put bread crumbs all over my yard to keep the front yard spook-a-licous & to 'entice' my hallow eve's actors (da evil birdz) and it toally worked! Or once a week tip over your neighbor's kiddie pool/ tires.

Downeast Duck Hunter said...

To prevent mosquitos I would suggest doing what Dr. William Gorgas did with the construction of the Panama Canal... just a little oil and insecticide will do the trick... just do it at night and I hope that you have town water and not a well... All jokes aside, very interesting article... my friend does have one of those mosquito magnets running of off propane... it does the trick...

Anonymous said...

I love it ! Very creative ! That's actually really cool Thanks.

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