– Frani Taylor, Chair
In April 2013 the Gardeners committed to help finance the wetland restoration project. This site is approximately a 0.75 acre open space parcel south of Rowayton School Pond at the intersection of McKinley Street and Roton Avenue. It is where the pond drains forming a connection to Farm Creek. This seemed like a logical extension of the work the Gardeners had already done at Rowayton School Pond since wetlands have a significant place in the environment.
A healthy wetland provides a wonderful habitat for birds and wildlife. Unfortunately this one was being overtaken by a variety of invasive plant species, most significantly, Common Reed (Phragmites australis). There were also numerous invasive woody vines and shrub species throughout the site. Significant storms around that time damaged many of the trees and disturbed the closed canopy, creating large light gaps. This disturbance condition favors the invasive species and allows them take over which is exactly what happened.
In collaboration with the City of Norwalk and their Conservation Department, the Gardeners worked with All Habitat, LLC, a company well known for their expertise in restoring wetlands. The group signed a three year management contract with them and each year there was a significant decrease in the infestation of invasive plants. Now the level of invasive vines, shrubs and Phragmites is under control. Plus native species are returning to the area and enhance the overall quality of the habitat function.
Going forward with this restoration project, the Gardeners will be managing this project on a limited basis. It is a natural area and is meant to be just that. However monitoring the area with monthly walk throughs during the growing seasons and cutting any reoccurring invasive plants that try to come back will be key to keeping it under control. The Gardeners will also be looking at planting other native shrubs, plants or trees to help this habitat further.
Contact Frani Taylor for more information.