Washington County wetlands get habitat improvement

Two important coastal wetland areas with public recreational access will see habitat improvements in 2016.

Nearly 200 acres at Great Swamp Management Area and Woody Hill Management Area in Washington County are being restored. If all goes as planned, the areas will be ready for fall 2016 hunting season.

Ducks Unlimited is partnering with the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (RIDEM) - Division of Fish & Wildlife to replace two water control structures in these management areas. The project will be funded with federal and state funding, and Ducks Unlimited matching funds.

The water control structures are hampered by beaver dams and are blocked with mud and debris. Installing new structures will allow state land managers to raise and lower water levels to mimic natural water cycles, restoring healthy wetland habitat with diverse aquatic vegetation. These areas will become valuable waterfowl staging sites especially for black ducks and mallards within six miles of the coast.

The project sites are at state-owned wildlife management areas managed by the RIDEM's Division of Fish and Wildlife. These properties are open to the public year-round for passive recreation and are open to all forms of legal hunting when regulations permit.

February 2016