That’s right folks, we are talking about going green – only in a very different way! Recently, I became part of a unique-to-me method of recycling. We harvest wetland sod prior to mining operations. That sod is then used in restoration and reclamation sites replacing disturbed wetlands. What I find most exciting about all this – IT WORKS!!!
We recently laid some obligate (plants that ONLY grow in a wetland) filled sod in a reclamation site and it’s beautiful, green, wet, and filled with life! It’s as if the wetland was just lifted up with all it’s biota, microbes, plants, bugs, worms, and soil and placed back in the landscape. What’s even more exciting is that it is being colonized by higher life forms just weeks later. Wading birds, small mammals, reptiles….I wonder if they recognize their previous home.
I have heard a lot of negative talk about this practice. Some say you risk spreading invasive species and bacteria….I say PHOOEY….you run a much higher risk when you attempt restoration from scratch – opening disturbed soils to disease, nuisance species, and just plain erosion. What we have found is that if cleanly cut and rolled, NO opportunistic nuisance species seem to thrive! This is just the opposite with open disturbed soils.
I just wanted to share how exciting it is to be a part of saving something in the landscape! It’s nice to stand in the middle of something and know that years from now, someone will stand there and say “I hope they don’t mine this wetland”…it’s nice to smell mucky soil just after the backhoes and dozers leave.