Wetlands play an important role in water quality and filtration, aquifer recharge, flood control, phytoremediation, and biodiversity. To demonstrate the benefits of wetlands, Lincoln University (LU) has restored a 12-acre wetland adjacent to the Moreau River at the LU’s George Washington Carver Farm. This project supports a myriad of aquatic, semi-aquatic, and terrestrial plants and animals while demonstrating an alternative use for marginally productive cropland. In addition to the environmental benefits, the wetland also functions as an outdoor classroom for both LU students and the surrounding community, with dozens of educational tours held every year.
A berm was constructed along the Moreau River to contain the water in the wetland, while any existing diversions were removed to allow water to drain from the adjacent uplands. Soil removed from areas of the wetland pool was reused to construct the berm. The wetland will play an important role in both soil conservation and water quality improvement. In addition to the traditional benefits of a wetland, this particular site also diverts effluent from an adjacent aquaculture facility into the wetland. This provides an excellent opportunity to both reuse the groundwater used by this facility, as well as filter the aquaculture runoff. A water control structure was installed to allow the LU farm manager to raise and lower the water level in the wetland to correspond with seasonal needs.
Results to Date:
Wetland construction is complete and the restoration was a success. In March 2016, LU students from the Department of Agriculture and the Wildlife Club assisted in planting 300 obligate wetland plants. A monitoring station has been installed on site. The parameters monitored include groundwater level, precipitation, air temperature, relative humidity, barometric pressure, wind speed/direction, and solar radiation.
This project was made possible through the collaboration of several entities. Partners assisting LU in the restoration include: the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Natural Resources Conservation Service, Ducks Unlimited, Hamilton Native Outpost, the Missouri Department of Conservation, and Three Rivers Electric Cooperative. U.S. EPA, through the Missouri Department of Natural Resources, has provided partial funding for this project under Section 319 of the Clean Water Act.
A project presentation is available at: https://dnr.mo.gov/env/wpp/cwforum/docs/051716-presentation-wetland.pdf.