In the morning, we will take a wildlife and marsh ecology tour through marsh restoration sites and Delmarva fox squirrel woods. We will observe a dramatic example of tidal marsh erosion where several thousand acres of Schoenoplectus americanus marsh have eroded since the 1930s to create a lake four miles long and over a mile wide. Small scale marsh restoration plots in this lake can be viewed from the tour as well as a recent area of natural sediment deposition where new marsh is becoming established. In the afternoon, we will tour marsh migration sites and traverses a large expanse of eroding Spartina/Schoenoplectus marsh where salt marsh birds, including saltmarsh sparrow, seaside sparrow, and black rails, as well as diamondback terrapins can often be seen and heard. We’ll also traverse a tidal marsh-loblolly pine forest ecotone that is actively migrating due to sea level rise.
Biohabitats staff will lead a tour and an interactive examination of a mature floating wetland. Currently, ~2000 ft2 of floating wetlands are deployed in front of Baltimore’s World Trade Center in the Inner Harbor. This is an expansion of the original pilot project, which consisted of ~200 ft2. The floating wetlands are constructed on a float of bundled plastic water bottles collected from the Harbor. Local students and business volunteers helped assemble and place the wetlands, stimulating a lot of stewardship buzz among the local community and visitors to the Inner Harbor. This was an effort with strong local community involvement and support, including the Baltimore Harbor Waterkeeper, Living Classrooms Foundation, National Aquarium of Baltimore, Maryland Port Administration, Maryland Sea Grant, Baltimore City, and Biohabitats.
The tour will include a detailed discussion of the merits of floating wetlands and the retrieval and dissection of one of the floating wetlands. Previous efforts documented a large and diverse community using the floating wetlands, including wetland vegetation, waterfowl (nesting and feeding), wading birds, fish, eels, mussels, bryozoans, etc.
**Note** Field Trips 2 (Baltimore Harbor Program) 3 (Chincoteague & Wachapreague Tour) and 4 (In Rock Creek Park, DC) have been cancelled due to low attendance.