Wetland Restoration

Can Wetland Restoration Help Reduce Carbon Emissions

The main goal of wetland restoration is to bring it back the original ecosystem. Like all restoration projects, there are steps involved. Planning and implementation often includes data or information gathering. And when making a concept plan, the type of native plants used and how they're maintained are also considered. The design is also a major factor, which has to be functional and pleasing at the same time.

But nowadays that’s no longer enough. The idea of doing wetland restoration to address the problem of carbon emissions is no longer just an option but a need for any serious developer.  Aside from these processes, land developers also consider the impact a restoration project can have on the environment.  It’s not enough for a restoration project to have little or no impact, it has to make a positive impact and actively fight the effects of climate change.

Most wetlands do release carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. However, with careful restoration, wetlands can go a long way in reducing the production and presence of greenhouse gases.

How Does Wetland Restoration Differ From Other Restoration Schemes in Mitigating Carbon Emissions

Permaculture, reforestation and rural landscaping are more effective in reducing carbon emissions compared to wetland restoration.  The reason for this is that the three other methods have more planting and usually covers a much larger area.  More plants can absorb carbon emissions and a large forested area can absorb enough carbon which can be traded in the form for New Zealand Units under the Emissions Trading Scheme.

Wetlands naturally produce methane from the organic matter decomposition that takes place there. But planting native species can also help mitigate or even reduce emissions altogether. Wetland revegetation can also cover a wide area, from the waterline up to several meters away from the shore. And planting for wetland restoration would often involve a wide variety of species. Bushes and reeds like Manuka are planted to support aquatic species.  The trees serve as barriers to protect the wetland from stock while providing shade and shelter to the local fauna.

Restoration has other added benefits as well such as:

  •  Stabilization of Climate Conditions. Replanting helps protect the surrounding environment and helps reduce the impact of extreme weather.  The key is using native plants adapted to wetland condition to revitalize the local ecosystem.
  • Nutrients retention. The agri and aquaculture industries lose millions of dollars every year to soil erosion and eutrophication.  Proper wetland restoration helps control soil erosion and runoff; making farms productive and sustainable.
  • Improved water quality. Wetland restoration helps improve groundwater discharge and recharge. Groundwater discharge and recharge is the process in which groundwater moves above ground and vice versa. This helps filter the water, making it suitable for drinking and irrigation.

How Is Wetland Restoration a Viable Option for Combating Carbon Emissions?

Wetland restoration is a viable option for combating carbon emissions as this can be done on a much smaller scale compared to reforestation or rural landscaping. It also serves as a good starting point for larger ecological restoration projects as most would depend on the availability of natural water sources.

The impact of wetland restoration is also broader. When connected to river or estuary systems, restoration can help improve the health of these supporting systems by providing breeding grounds or feeding areas for fish and other aquatic animals. If the wetland is connected to a watershed, more vegetation, through restoration, can help ensure continued water supply and quality for the local community.

When planning a restoration project it’s important to look at how different wetland elements work together.  You also need to look out how the surrounding environment affect a wetland. This informationbecomes easier to create a workable restoration plan for a functional wetland that can reduce carbon emissions.

Since wetland restoration is a delicate process, seeking help from a restoration expert is essential. That’s where Rural Design comes in. Our experience and expertise has made us leaders in sustainable restoration. It’s not just creating visually appealing designs. It’s about creating designs that work for and with the environment.

With our experienced restoration team, our well stocked native plant nursery and relationships with government units, we can aid you in every step of the process. From planning and application to implementation and planting, we can help and guide you every step of the way.

The Value of Ecological Restoration and Assessment

The question of why we need to have ecological restoration in our property is moot and academic. Any land, especially those that have been neglected or in need of rehabilitation, needs ecological restoration for it to be viable again. 

Ecological restoration is the process of rehabilitating a damaged or unused property back to its original ecosystem. This process involves planning, planting, and the maintenance.  

There are many reasons as to why landowners and developers see the need to have ecological restoration in their property. Some of the benefits of doing ecological restoration include: 

● Climate change mitigation
● Restoring the inherent capital of the land
● Providing habitat for endemic wildlife
● For Aesthetic and Economic Reasons 

The Importance of Ecological Assessment in Restoration

Before restoration can be done, an ecological assessment has to be performed in order to determine the property’s current state and the expected impact of the restoration project. An ecological assessment takes into account physical, environmental, social, economic, as well as stakeholder participation in the event of planning the restoration. It also gives you an idea on how to deal with government policies regarding the proper conduct of doing restoration projects. 

But more than anything else, ecological assessment prepares you to plan the type of restoration services you need. It helps you project how extensive the project would have to be.  

Opinions vary as to how ecological restoration should be done. Others argue over its goals or even what constitutes a successful restoration. In fact, some people have even pointed out that restorations, if it’s possible, should be done with minimal human interference or doesn’t really require that much effort. 

But because ecological restoration is an intricate process involving multiple factors, landowners will eventually see the need to employ experts for the restoration. When restoration is done correctly, you increase your chances of success. When ecological restoration is done with a solid, viable plan, you minimize wasted time and resources. Proper implementation and planting based on a solid restoration plan also helps make maintenance easier and less tedious in the long run.

This is where Rural Design comes in. With our extensive experience in planning, implementation and management of ecological restoration project, and expert crew of ecologists, botanists, landscape designers and more, we can give you a comprehensive assessment and help create a solid, feasible, sustainable plan for your project.

Our strong partnerships with authorities, local and regional, will help usher a smooth application process, so you won’t be able to concern yourself anymore with dealing with the red tape of government policies pertaining to your restoration. 

We take pride in being leaders in our field and in our efforts to mitigate the impact of climate change with every project that we undertake. We are more than willing to help you with your project, because there’s nothing like restoring a once vibrant ecosystem. As a landowner, it is also like having a new lease on life. 

Wetland Restoration: From Planting to Maintenance

According to Bay of Plenty, a forum committed to the restoration of wetlands in the region, a restoration project can be summed up to two things: “careful planning and commitment to continued care.”

The same can be said about restoring your wetland. Wetlands are an important part of your property as they:

● provide wildlife habitat
● can be used as a recreational area
● help stabilize river banks
● help in sediment collection to prevent flooding
● serve as a suitable place for hunting game
● serve as nutrient filters for rivers and estuaries.

Restoring your wetland is an intricate process.  It requires careful and thorough planning and there are steps that you need to follow to do restoration correctly. 

1. Gather information - As much as possible, gather as much information about your property and the surrounding areas. This information would be useful in applying for, planning and implementing your restoration. 
2. Set a goal - You should have specific goals with defined timeframes on what you want to achieve with your restoration project. 
3. Create a general plan - Map out a general plan on how to go about your wetland restoration. 
4. Set milestones and specific tasks for your wetland restoration project- After going over the plan, you can now start implementing your wetland restoration plan, keeping in mind your goals and milestones. 

Planning For Planting

Planting is crucial in doing your wetland restoration and requires as much planning as the entire project. It’s during planning where you determine the type of native plants to be used, how to plant them, when and where to plant then during the project.

Also part of planning is to identify weed infested areas in your map. Weeds can easily overpower new plants and would compromise the entire endeavor. 

Fencing is another activity that you need to plan for before doing any planting. Plan your fencing in a way that would protect your wetland and the new plants as soon as you are into your restoration. As much as possible, include a buffer strip so you can control the activity in and out of your wetland. 

And to protect your new plants and the health of your wetland restoration project, include animal and pest control in your planning. You can determine this by keeping an eye on weeds infesting your wetland as this can become breeding grounds for pests. Also check for possible gaps on your fencing where animals get in and eat the newly planted native plants. 

Tips for wetland restoration planting

How is wetland restoration planting different from everything else? What can you do to make sure your plants survive? Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

- Make sure you soak your plants well and avoid exposing them to the sun. 
- Lay them out before planting, or you can lay them as a group.
- For wet areas, it’s advisable to do planting on a summer when the water is warm and at the low level. If your property is located beside coastal areas (with less frost), planting can be done during winter.
- Once there’s enough plant cover in your wetland, around one to two years after the first batch of planting has been done, you can start adding plants that need shade or shelter in your crop. 
- Plant in groups (clumps) rather than going for alternating species.
- Create straight lines when planting instead of scattering them. 
- Plant according to natural features and that they are planted according to right moisture zones. 

How to maintain your wetland after restoring it

It is almost impossible to do wetland restoration without maintenance. Maintaining the plants and performing regular monitoring is vital to the success of your project. 

● Keep track of those weeds - Weeds compete with other plants in your wetland, so it is important to contain them if not eradicate them completely. 
● Be cautious with applying chemicals - Be prudent in using herbicide when spraying. Use a spray cone to avoid commit spray drift and don’t spray on windy days. 
● Do mulching regularly - It helps control weed activity. But you still need to do monitoring as some weeds can still get through mulching. 
● Monitor infestation. - Apply the necessary measures as soon as infestation is detected.
● Maintain fencing throughout the project. - A good fence keeps out pests and stops plant or waste run off into your wetland.  

Plan Your Restoration With Professionals

As tempting as it is to just let nature run its course, wetland restoration doesn’t work that way. Careful planning, implementation and monitoring are essential to project success. Doing your restoration project haphazardly would only result in wasted time, money and resources. To do it effectively, working with a professional would be the best course of action.

We at Rural Designs can provide you with design solutions and cost effective measures in doing your wetland restoration. Not only that, we can provide you with an equally cost effective restoration management and monitoring scheme. 

Our team of competent ecological experts from surveyors to ecologists to engineers helps ensure a more successful and hassle free wetland restoration process. From planning to facilitating to implementing wetland procedures, Rural Design will take care of your wetland concerns.