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Blaine's Wetland Restoration Revives Endangered Species

August 23, 2019

Rebecca Haug and Jason Husveth

In the middle of the Blaine Wetland Sanctuary, a 10’ by 10’ meter plot of ankle-height vegetation is bursting with life. This small section of the 510-acre sanctuary is home to nearly 100 species of plants, including rare and state-endangered species such as lance leaf violets, sundews, and twisted yellow-eyed grass. Thanks to the foresight of Jason Husveth from Critical Connections Ecological Services, the City of Blaine has embarked on a long-term wetland restoration project that’s reviving a landscape nearly lost to time.

Wetlands are remarkable landscapes that regulate water-flow and support an incredibly diverse range of plants and wildlife. They help to manage water during wet and dry times by acting as a giant sponge. During floods, wetlands capture water, and during drought, they slowly release water back into the environment. While a wetland holds onto runoff, it acts like a mini water treatment facility. Long plant roots filter pollutants and absorb nutrients like phosphorus to help prevent algae blooms. 

Today, these landscapes are threatened by climate change, development, and invasive species. Efforts to drain wetlands, whether it’s to farm them or build over them, have had serious consequences for the environment. When wetlands are destroyed, the risk of flooding increases. The loss of habitat for plants and animals that depend upon wetlands has also challenged many species. 

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