Wetland Restoration and Enhancement
Although wetlands account for only a small percentage of the total land area in the southern Appalachians, the ecological services they provide are invaluable. Wetlands provide habitat for many rare and endemic species, and provide water filtration and retention. Unfortunately, many wetland areas have been drained or degraded due to development or conversion to agriculture. Brushy Fork has completed successful wetland restoration projects at varied sites. The largest wetland project Brushy Fork has completed to date is the restoration of 18.9 acres of prior converted wetlands as part of the Phase I Shady Valley Mitigation Bank. This project area had once been part of an extensive stream and wetland complex before being drained for agriculture in the mid 1900’s. Brushy Fork re-meandered formerly channelized streams at a higher elevation and installed log jams in a ditched seep to return wetland hydrology to the site. Diverse hydric vegetation, including tag alder, silky dogwood, jewel weed, deer tongue, swamp dewberry, and multiple species of sedges and rushes, is now present within the restored wetlands. These wetland areas are now classified as functioning wet sedge meadows. Brushy Fork has also completed smaller scale wetland enhancements with a focus on planting wetland adapted vegetation and excluding livestock to improve existing degraded wetlands.