Woodduck nesting box at site just after draining of the ponds and before tree planting on this 310 acres of wetlands in Jackson County Alabama.
Egrets stop at EHWMA on their migration south in August 2001
|This area is home to many species of moist soil dependant wildlife. EHWMA is a valuable site for the neo-tropical migrants that stop over in the Tennessee River Valley to replenish their strength on their journey south to Mexico and Central America. Several hundred blue wing teal stage here every year. This is also a favorite habitat of the monarch butterfly.|
According to the February 1999, issue of the National Geographic Magazine cited the Cumberland and Tennessee Valley as the world's most diverse temperate freshwater ecosystems.
Alabama does need to protect all the open land we can, according to the American Farmers Trust nine of the Southeast states rank in the top 17 states that have lost the most farms and open space to development in the 1990's. Over 5.5 million acres of land were lost in the Southeast, representing 34 percent of the total 16 million acres of farms and open spaces lost nationally.
In 1997 Alabama loss of farms and open spaces totaled 445,300 acres according to the USDA and USA Today.
What is wetlands compensatory Mitigation?
As part of the fulfillment of the Clean Water Act and no net loss of wetlands, if fill is placed in a wetlands then this impact requires a Section 404 CWA permit. This permit will review application to see if the impact can be replaced or mitigated near the site of impact, or at a wetlands compensatory mitigation site. Many times mitigation is for 1 acre lost 3 credit acres will have to be restored at a manmade site.
Why would a non-profit conservation organization be involved in Mitigation?
Conservation organizations pushed for mitigation as an alternative to losing more of North America's wetlands. A conservation group is a stakeholder with an interest to create and maintain viable wetlands projects. Many in the conservation community have expressed concern that over 80 percent of the on-site wetlands mitigation fails to meet wetlands functions. These sites such as this was selected because of the location close to a large greenway that encompasses over 80,000 acres in the rapid developing North Alabama, with the greenway running from the Tennessee River to North of the Tennessee State Line. The revenue generated by offering mitigation opportunity will be put right back into conservation projects in the state. This is good public relations and more palatable with other environmental groups when a conservation organization are using profits to improve the environment and developing wildlife habitat.
How can you afford to offer credits so economical when cost of land and restoration cost is so high ?
This was an aquaculture operation converted first from wetlands to agriculture then to aquaculture. The past catfish operation left all the levees, control structures, piping, pumps and roads so the new owner can afford to offer this saving of not having to purchase and construct these components to customers needing mitigation opportunity.
Credits are currently available at this site for $14,500.
The restoration of Ed Hembree Wildlife Management Area
Alabama Waterfowl Association, Inc. (AWA)
1346 County Road # 11
Scottsboro, Alabama 35768
For more information please see these links:
Regulatory Program of the US Army Corps of Engineers
SECTION 404 OF THE CLEAN WATER ACT
The Subcommittee on Water Resources and Environment
American Wetlands Restoration Act
EPA Wetlands Division
EPA River Corridor and Wetland Restoration
Related to Restoration and Creation Sites
Wetlands Assistance Guide for Landowners
River Corridor and Wetland Restoration - Private Organizations