Wetlands are some of our richest habitats yet they often go unnoticed or are regarded as something to get rid of.
Well, May is Wetlands Awareness Monthso this is our chance to appreciate them 🙂 It’s also a great time to put on your wetland eyes and start spotting them. Loudoun actually has quite a bit of wetlands – some are in the form of vernal pools while others are marshy fields and still others are permanent or semi-permanent bodies of water or streams.
During the earlier part of the 20th century, when farming was a major thrust, millions of acres of wetlands were drained. You can still see evidence of this here in Loudoun with drain tiles that occasionally show themselves from below the surface of a field.
The photos here show a field in the Lucketts area that has drainage tiles underneath it. We found the tiles at the head of a stream that actually runs from the edge of the field. Evidence of vernal pools (complete with wood frogs that breed in them each year) are present in the pasture as well. This was probably a wonderful wetland 50-60 years ago.
Take a look around the next time you’re at an open field, is it really a natural field or was it once a wetland that still has drainage tiles lurking below the soil?
Tom Biebighauser wrote a great book on this subject called Wetland Drainage, Restoration and Repair. It’s a fascinating history – and something worth being aware of.
Happy Wetlands Month