Amelia Gomes  /   12/09/2022

How To Develop and Build On Wetlands

Wetlands are unique. When developing, you need a unique approach. Building on wetlands can also be challenging because of the restrictions involved. If you buy a property with wetlands for development or construction, you must avoid entering the process blindly. This post is here to guide and help you fully understand what comes with developing and building wetlands. We hope that with this article, you’ll be able to answer questions like, “What can I build on wetlands?” and “What can I use wetlands for other than building?”

At Community Lands, we take proper steps to ensure your property is well-used. We help you understand the best options for your property and lay out alternative plans if yours doesn’t work out. Dive into this article as we take you on an enlightening journey about developing and building on wetlands. 

What do I need to develop on wetlands?  

Wetlands and their vegetation are vital for a lot of purposes. Development strategies focus on restoring sediment supply, introducing plant species and habitats, and addressing soil and water conditions to support system function and interconnectivity. One way to develop wetlands is to incorporate them as natural features or recreational spaces.

A wetland professional or wetland map comes in handy in these situations. These resources can tell you what development is necessary on your property. 

How can I build on wetlands?

Wetlands have soft soils, which makes it practically impossible for heavy machinery to travel through them. They also have sensitive ecosystems that are subject to government laws. If you wish to build on wetlands, contractors must exercise caution.

But despite these difficulties, building on wetlands can be possible when contractors approach it with a clear plan for creating access. Here are some factors to consider when developing a construction strategy. 

Stable soil: In terms of soil stability, the state of the terrain may have a more significant influence on your preparations than anything else. It would be best if you first cleared the way when preparing to build an access road across abnormally soft terrain. To properly position the access mats, you must remove any stumps, rocks, logs, or other obstructions. 

One general tip is to select wide mats for wet circumstances. This can help to prevent sinking by distributing the weight of your equipment over a larger surface area.

Ecological obligations: While building work is only temporary, the impact of the giant cranes and trucks on the wetlands can be catastrophic and long-lasting. 

Because of this, laws and regulations are in place to give contractors a foundation for reducing their impact. Expensive fines and other penalties may be levied against contractors who break these laws. Teams should put access mats in place to make temporary roads to prevent a violation and lessen the impact of work.

While making a path, it’s important to avoid harming the taproots of the nearby vegetation. This will ensure that the plants recover much more quickly when you leave the worksite.

Simple assembly: If you have a problem with the ease of access, you would want the remedy to take up only a little bit of time or money. This is where access mats come in. They provide a quick and comparatively simple alternative to get to the job site while staying within your budget. 

What else can I do on wetlands?

While wetlands might not be the best land for construction, they serve other beneficial purposes. Here are a few you should know.  

Natural Water Purifiers: Wetlands sift silt and trap numerous pollutants in surface waters, acting as a natural water purifiers. This purifying effect contributes to the quality of groundwater sources in some wetland settings.

Mitigation of Coastal Storm Surge: Wetlands along the coast work to lessen the impact of intense storms. For instance, during severe storms, flooding, coastal erosion, and property damage are reduced by mangrove forests in south Florida and salt marshes throughout the Atlantic and Gulf Coasts.

Erosion management and streambank preservers: Wetland vegetation ties the soil on streambanks and riparian wetlands, limiting heavy erosion and the number of sediments that flows and collects downstream.

Flood mitigators and streamflow managers: Wetlands around rivers and streams soak up the energy and hold water during storms, significantly reducing downstream flood impacts and the danger of flash floods. During drought, the gradual discharge of this water that has been held can assist keep streams running.

Wildlife Habitat: You can find several species of amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals that are specially adapted to wet settings in wetlands. Wetlands are frequently used for food and refuge by upland animals, including deer, elk, and bears. For many migrating bird species, wetlands are significant.

Ecological Guides: Some of the lands that constitute one of the most productive ecosystems on the planet are wetlands. The only other agricultural crop, except for sugar cane, that can generate more plant material and conserve more energy per acre is a stand of cordgrass in a salt marsh. 

Outdoor recreation possibilities: You can also discover a variety of plants, animals, and ponds in several wetlands. This makes them lovely locations for tourism and other outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, hunting, boating, bird watching, and photography.

Education providers: Our country’s wetlands are home to a wealth of ecological, cultural, and historic resources that offer many chances for environmental education and public outreach.

It’s not impossible to develop and build on wetlands

Our planet has survived several environmental hurdles with wetlands as an effective tool. While wetlands are among the most difficult terrains to build on, building or developing on them isn’t impossible.

If your property contains wetlands and you intend to build, seek out experts who are knowledgeable about developing a construction strategy. Remember that when it comes to the success of building or developing wetlands, having the proper people on your side makes a world of difference. Trust us, you too can build on wetlands! All it takes is a little planning and consideration.

To learn more about how to be the most efficient and environmentally-friendly land owner you can be, visit the Community Lands’ Learn Center.

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