Wetlands Research, Inc. HW

Neal Marsh

Neal Marsh has been restored in a somewhat unusual way. Rather than lowering the ground level to bring it closer to the water table, engineers built a riffle structure to raise the water table five feet, creating a marsh that is just over a foot deep and supports an array of aquatic plants. Neal Marsh was funded through mitigation banking, a system that allows developers who are looking to destroy wetlands to offset the loss by purchasing credits toward a compensatory wetland somewhere else. WRI had sufficient funds to undertake the Neal Marsh project, but the Army Corps of Engineers, the mitigation banking regulator, required a project guarantor. The Donnelley Foundation provided the financial guarantee, and the Village of Gurnee provided the administrative assurance, unlocking the door to a promising new phase in wetlands research. During the growing season of 2012, the aquatic plant communities at Neal Marsh are maturing and attracting an impressive array of wildlife.