Saturday, March 22, 2008

Restoring Dyke Marsh

Dyke Marsh, just south of Alexandria (VA), provides valuable habitat in a vulnerable location. Marsh wrens and least bitterns nest there during the summer; both species are rare that close to D.C. Because it is so small, the marsh is constantly threatened by human activity and natural forces. In 2003, it took a beating from Hurricane Isabel, which destroyed the boardwalk and dumped its remnants at various places around the marsh. According to a Post article today, the National Park Service is working on restoring the marsh's habitat.

The National Park Service is beginning a $500,000 environmental impact study of how to restore and preserve the 485-acre marsh just off the George Washington Memorial Parkway in Virginia. The wetlands, prized by birders, naturalists and bicyclists who pass by on the Mount Vernon Trail, are home to painted turtles, water snakes, orioles and tundra swans.

Congress authorized the study last year in an effort to halt erosion from natural and man-made causes. Details on the study's scope are still being determined, but it could look at the effect of heavier water taxi traffic and other activities such as boating, fishing and kayaking.
For more on the marsh and its habitat, visit the Friends of Dyke Marsh website.