Expanding and improving wetlands for horticulture

Asked February 29, 2020, 3:32 PM EST

I live in Lenawee county in southern michigan where I own 5 acres of land, 3 of which are wetland swamp. I love my wetlands and avoid disturbing it virtually at all costs. However recently I have become interested in improving its ability to support local wildlife by digging out a small 10'x10' pond just outside the wetland area so as not to disturb the wetland itself. So my question is can I cycle the pond water into the swamp area and then back onto the pond again via a sump pump and a shallow well? Will the new influx of water from a few feet underground damage the existing ecosystem in any way? My goal is to improve on the natural environment to provide more opportunities for food and shelter for the local wildlife.

Lenawee County Michigan

1 Response


I'm glad you enjoy wetlands!

1st question: Cycling water from a natural wetland into your pond and then back into the wetland may need a permit. You will need to talk to the Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy's wetland staff: https://www.michigan.gov/egle/0,9429,7-135-3313_3687-10813--,00.html

2nd Question: This is a tough question to answer without a few more details. In short, you will likely not be changing the local hydrology for such a small pond, however, if you are planning on discharging pond water into the wetland, there may be impacts, which will depend on the quality of the pond water. The discharge water may contain high enough nutrients that could facilitate invasive species to move in. Also, the discharge water may contain sediments from the newly constructed pond (sediment is a major pollution to wetlands).

Concluding thought: Digging a pond may be unnecessary for local wildlife. You are already providing wonderful habitat if your wetland is in good shape and does not contain many invasive plant species.

I would be happy to talk with you more to discuss details: elgineri@msu.edu