The Thornberg project, a 54-acre restoration, was not the typical Eastern Shore of Virginia project. Located in Cashville, Virginia along the bank of the Chesapeake Bay, the landowner wanted to devote two entire fields to shallow water habitat for waterfowl and migrating shorebirds. The project entailed using the DU Malsam Terracer, a low-level dike-building machine developed in the Great Plains and adapted for wetland uses by DU throughout the Southern and Mid-Atlantic states to build dikes on three sides of the chosen farm fields.
Using the terracer and a local contractor with a tractor pulled pan, we were able to build a dike around the low sides of the two fields and tie into the higher ground along Matchotank Creek, capturing run-off and rainwater to make two wetland cells. Each cell has it’s own water control structure and can be managed independently. The sites will be managed for moist-soil plants like fall Panicum, foxtail, smartweed, and nut sedge--the main native waterfowl weeds on the Shore.
The Thornberg project was jointly cost-shared by the USFWS Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program, the Virginia Water Quality Improvement Act, and from Ducks Unlimited’s Habitat Stewardship Program. The total project restored 50 acres of wetlands and four acres of native upland buffer.