I am interested in turning a soggy area of my property into a permanent wetland for wildlife habitat. The area already has a boisterous community of frogs which has been attracting herons and I would like to encourage them and other animals to stay. My property had originally been a marshland before large-scale drainage for agriculture took place at the turn of the last century. I would like to restore at least this one fragment back to its original state. I'm looking for information on how to establish and maintain a healthy wetland community.
Midland County Michigan
Hello and thank you for using eXtension for your wetland question. My apologies for the untimely response, your query was apparently sent to a person on vacation. As to your question, yes it is quite easy to convert a drained farm field back to a wetland. The hard part is to determine how big that wetland is going to get! I strongly suggest getting a wetland delineation done first mapping the size of of the wetland. then determine where all the drain tiles are laid and beginning in the center break or remove the tiles working outward to achieve the size of wetland you want.
A word of caution. if your newly constructed wetland connects to a larger body of water or becomes larger than 5 acres your wetland will fall under EGLE (DEQ) regulations. Also take note that once you restore it you cant really "unrestore" it without permits. I suggest contacting your local conservation district office and your local EGLE (DEQ) water quality representative for their input before you begin. Make sure you dont require permits first. Also consider talking to your local zoning administrator in your township to make sure that they don't have any ordinances covering this activity on your property.
If you email me personally with your home mailing address, I will send you a book on how to construct a pond at email@example.com.