The project I will be focusing on will consist of implementing a plan to restore a wetland. The wetland, known as Dosey Gap, is located off Schoolhouse Gap trail. Survey methods include utilizing a Trimble device in order to collect points along the perimeter towards the creation of a polygon that best represents the wetlands overall area. Points were also taken of a present ditch which has offset hydrology for a period of time now. Species present and cover per species were also taken into consideration. Soil cores will be taken in the near future as well.
Some background information: The wetland was previously restored in 1993 due to the impact that the ditch had on the natural hydrology. However, the methods used in the act of restoring hydrology were not permanent enough in the long run due to the use of logs being used to deter the natural watershed back into the Dosey Gap hydrological system, the logs faced degradation overtime. Thus, the wetland was decided to be revisited in order to implement a permanent tactic in order to direct it towards a more stable and long-term restoration.
Standing in a ditch
Working on this wetland restoration project will also be utilized as a model for other wetlands in the area with similar characteristics. Although there is a high likelihood of not being able to see through its final restoration stages due to this internship being of a short period of time, I find this to be an educational opportunity that will assist with implementing possible future wetland restorations.
*Featured Image: Dosey Gap ditch redirecting natural watershed away from wetland.
Katherine Castrillon graduated from Florida International University with a Bachelors degree in Environmental Studies, minor in Biology, certificate in Agroecology, and certificate in Biodiversity and Ecosystem Management. This summer she is working with the National Park Service stationed in the Great Smoky Mountains under Vegetation Monitoring contributing to projects such as Long-Term Vegetation Plots, Accuracy Assessment, Wetland Mapping and Monitoring, and Rare Species. After the internship, she plans on preparing towards graduate school while simultaneously working for an ecology research lab focused on vegetation communities and wetlands.
Chelsea Collins worked at Lava Beds National Monument implementing North American Bat Protocol to monitor cave roosting bats. Her work took her into caves, as well as to cave entrances to study populations of the park's common species, including Townsend's Big Eared Bat.