In 2005, the National Aquarium Conservation Team had the opportunity to restore 6 acres of wetland habitat on Poplar Island, a diminishing island in the Chesapeake Bay being rebuilt through a partnership between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Port of Baltimore, and Maryland Environmental Service. Since that inaugural planting in 2005, the Aquarium has returned twice to restore a total of 11 acres of tidal wetlands by planting 228,450 native grasses with 659 community volunteers.
Each fall, Aquarium Conservation staff returns to monitor the success of the plantings by taking photo stations, a time-lapse glimpse at the same location and direction. Below are photo station pictures taken from past plantings. It is very apparent our restoration sites on Poplar Island are doing well. The planted grasses have flourished by closing in the 18-inch spacing from the planting in June 2009. A variety of migratory birds can be observed utilizing the newly created habitat, while northern diamondback terrapins continue to hatch along the sandy beach nearby.
The Aquarium Conservation Team will continue to replant Poplar Island as space is available, as well as return to monitor in the fall of this year.
Above, picture taken just after the June 2009 planting followed by a second picture taken again in September 2011 during our monitoring trip.
Above, picture taken February 2011 (before our planting event in June 2011), followed by a second picture taken in September 2011 during our monitoring trip. This extreme change shows just three months of growth!