For local Maryland landowners and hunters like Tom Murphy, a cleaner Choptank River is crucial. The river on the state’s Eastern Shore is a tributary of Chesapeake Bay and is the collection point for water runoff from a 675 -square mile area.
This year, Ducks Unlimited is expected to wrap up its Choptank Watershed Wetland Restoration Program by completing three additional projects. The program improves habitat and water quality on private land by restoring wetlands on land formerly used for agriculture.
Tom Murphy owns property in Talbot County. DU toured Murphy’s property, discussed goals for the site and restored 12 acres of wetlands across three impoundment areas.
"It’s moist soil habitat and was completed in August 2015. The results were unbelievable. This past year I’ve had about 1,000 ducks in my impoundments, including mallards, teal, pintail, gadwall, widgeon and black ducks," Murphy said.
DU’s restored wetlands are immediate habitat for wildlife and serve as buffers removing nutrients, sediments and toxins from water before it enters the Choptank River, improving the river’s health.
When completed, the Choptank Watershed Wetland Restoration Program will have impacted nearly 90 acres. The program is supported by Maryland Department of Natural Resources’ Chesapeake and Atlantic Coastal Bays Trust Fund. Ducks Unlimited has submitted proposals for funding to continue this private lands restoration effort in coming years.