In 2010 BRLC was approached by Bio-West, a local environmental consulting firm, with a need for a wetland mitigation site for one of their clients. The client turned out to be the Utah Department of Transportation, which needed to mitigate for 2.5 acres of wetlands lost along 1000 West (SR252) in Logan when they rebuilt that highway. Working with Bio-West, UDOT, and PacifiCorp, the legal owner, as well as landowners around the site, a mitigation plan was developed and approved to create 7.5 acres of new wetlands near an existing wetland complex at the Bear River Bottoms.
The plan was basically simple: Find floodplains next to the Bear River, dig down to the water table and haul away the excess material, plant wetland plants, and “bingo,” you have a wetland that is part of a larger wetland complex, which should help it to become established, and adjacent to a permanent river, which should ensure a stable water table.
A local construction firm did the excavation and UDOT arranged for both wetland and upland seed mixes. PacifiCorp fine-tuned the relevant legal documents and offered technical advice based on their own wetland creation experiences. Since it was within an existing conservation easement, BRLC made sure the project was consistent with the easement documents and management plan.
Construction was completed in late fall, 2013, and by spring, 2014, the wetlands were green with new growth. A “pre-dedication” was held in June 2014 to showcase the project. Weed control remains one of the biggest challenges, and BRLC volunteers have put in hundreds of hours conducting manual weed removal, avoiding herbicides that might compromise the wetland plants.
It will take 3-5 years for the wetland to become fully established, and when it does, it will demonstrate another win-win-win project, for nature, transportation needs, and the many partners involved. In the meantime, the public is welcome to visit the site by walking in from the north.