How is the Long Swamp Restoration Trial site holding up after a tough summer?

How is the Long Swamp Restoration Trial site holding up after a tough summer?

After an incredibly long, dry run over the last 6 months, the heavens finally opened last week, with Long Swamp receiving over 2 inches of welcome rain. Everyone is wondering of course: is this an early break to the season or a false start?

Given the heavy rain, it seemed like a good time to have a closer look at how the main trial structure at Nobles Rocks is faring, almost 12 months after we started constructing it (with amazing volunteer help) this time last year.

The good news is that the rain last week has translated into a 6 cm increase in water depth in the swamp from a couple of weeks ago, in the vicinity of the trial structure, and looks certain to keep a significant area of swamp underwater right through until next winter. Given that we are trying to recreate aquatic habitats for nationally threatened species of fish, frogs and waterbirds at the site – this is a great outcome which meets a key objective of the trial. The result is even more significant when one considers that we have just come through the driest 2 years on record in this part of the world, after two failed springs and very dry summers in succession.

When people talk about taking proactive steps to improve the resilience of wetland ecosystems – this is precisely the type of outcome we are talking about. Based on these early indications and how few wetlands are holding water at the moment across the region, this part of Long Swamp (like nearby Pick Swamp), could become a critical drought refuge habitat for a wide variety of species in the future.

So there is the logic of wetland restoration in black and white – but what could be better than to illustrate the success the trial than by showing the results (from March 2015 – March 2016) ┬áin full colour…

Enjoy the view!

March 2015 – just before construction of the main trial structure got under way, and with adjacent parts of Long Swamp completely dry.

March 2016 – What a difference a year makes!
The same view, after another incredibly dry spring and summer, showing the impact of the trial structure for retaining water in Long Swamp. At present, a couple of hundred acres of swamp inland of the structure remain inundated with knee-deep water as a result of the trial’s success.

Mark Bachmann