Wetlands behave like the kidney of a river system by filtering, recycling and purifying the water of sediment, nutrients and pollutants. Wetlands also provide a variety of other key ecosystem services such as groundwater replenishment, flood control, shoreline stabilization, recreational opportunities, and high quality fish and wildlife habitat. Native wetland plants have a high ecological value since they provide food and habitat to many songbirds, waterfowl, mammals, fish and other wildlife.
How Wetlands are Being Threatened
The introduced population of resident (non-migratory) Canada Geese (Branta canadensis maxima) has greatly increased in the entire watershed in the last decade, causing the destruction of wetland vegetation therefore jeopardizing restoration efforts. As a result AWS has had to fence off every single wetland planting area in the tidal Anacostia.
AWS Accomplishments in Wetland Restoration Efforts
In the last 15 years AWS has revegetated more than 12 acres of tidal wetlands in the Anacostia River, with a big push as part of the first year of our Countdown to 2025 campaign. We have planted and helped recover populations of herbaceous emergent plants such as Wild Rice (Zizania aquatica), Arrow arum (Peltandra virginica), Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata), Softstem bulrush (Schoenoplectus validus) and spatterdock (Nuphar lutea). This could not have been accomplished without all the amazing help from our volunteers!
How Can I Help?
AWS wetland planting events usually take place during spring and/or fall each year, though special planting events may occur during other seasons. During the rest of the year—particularly in summer—we schedule maintenance events where volunteers can help us install and maintain goose exclosures in the tidal wetlands to prevent grazing from resident Canada Geese.
If you want to help out as an individual or in a group of volunteers, visit our events calendar to see when our next scheduled event will take place.
Interested in engaging your students in wetland restoration? Visit our Rice Rangers program page to learn more.