A three-acre wetland near Cherokee Central Schools will get $25,000 worth of restoration work thanks to a grant that Great Smoky Mountains National Park received from the National Park Foundation to help the Ravensford floodplain wetland keep its natural character.
Invasive exotic plants have severely impaired the wetland, reducing habitat for native species. Park staff and youth volunteers will remove invasive plants and collect native seed from remnant wetland vegetation that will be used to propagate native species for future plantings.
Restored wetland vegetation will help create a buffer along the edge of the wetland to better filter sediments and potential contaminants from nearby roads. The restored site will not only improve natural habitat and wetland function, but also provide educational opportunities for park visitors and students.
“We are grateful to the National Park Foundation for providing us the opportunity to both restore this wetland community and provide a unique hands-on learning opportunity,” said Smokies Acting Superintendent Cindy MacLeod.
For more information on how Smokies biologists identify and map wetlands, see www.nps.gov/grsm/naturescience/dff7-focusnps2.htm.