New Research Streamlines Wetland Restoration

By KBJR News 1

September 6, 2011 Updated Sep 6, 2011 at 6:18 PM CDT

About 45 miles north, northwest of Duluth, a chunk of land that you wouldn't look at twice if you drove past it has quite the history.

From being drained to grow vegetables for Jeno Paulucci's Chun King line of Chinese food, to peat energy experiments, now a streamlined process is being utilized to trick mother nature by thousands of years.

Near Cotton Minnesota, The University of Minnesota–Duluth's Natural Research Institute is manipulating mother nature.

These 325 acres have quite the history, but are now being converted back to their natural state by a process Tom Malterer envisioned and put into play.

Restoring this intensively drained wetland in just under a decade is now possible, thanks to new technology and research that has become a model for wetland restoration in the United States.

"I was instrumental in drawing the plans, seeking funding to have this work done then planting of the materials, construction, and subsequently as we're here now controlling invasive"

And by controlling, Tom means spraying each acre by hand for plants that aren't native to a "black spruce tamarack" bog.

It's important to establish the boundary's for the wetland area so they put up easement signs like this one so the public knows this bog is here to stay

And for good reason the vegetation transported to the wetland needs time to restore.

"Success has been good the regulatory agencies that are the watchdog have all endorsed and given approval how well it's been going"

So as time goes on and more sphagnum covers the spongy ground and leather leaf pops to the surface, the full restoration back to a wetland will soon be complete.

Written for the web by: Zach Vavricka