The 2014-2016 management goal was dual purposed to establish new wetland vegetation and provide good marsh bird breeding habitat. New vegetation communities were successfully established along the newly inundated perimeter of the wetland and in areas that were forested or more upland vegetation communities. The new areas of soft rush, sedges, etc. will provide additional marsh bird breeding habitat in the future even with higher water levels. Additionally, the past three year plan focused on slight variations of the “ideal” marsh bird breeding water levels. In the central wetland this is achieved by lowering water levels to a predetermined elevation in the spring and holding water levels as steady as Mother Nature allows for the breeding season. Although no breeding was confirmed the past three years, marsh bird sightings were much higher the past three years than in the 9 of the previous 10 years, indicating the wetland breeding habitat is getting more appealing to the marsh birds.
The current wetland conditions are indicating a slow trend towards mesic plants and early successional plant communities as a result of continued dry periods during the growing season. In three of the past four years the wetland has experienced significant droughts in the middle and late summer, including a completely dry summer in 2013 the year during the wetland restoration construction project. These conditions promote increases in annual vegetative and early successional growth. After several droughts over the past four years, a wet year will help completely hydrate the soils (required for hydric plant communities), promote wetland plant communities and reduce the early successional communities that are increasing in the wetland.