Dyke Marsh Restoration Project Completed

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With ASNV funding support, the Friends of Dyke Marsh have completed the purchase and planting of native flora in a 0.65-acre area along the Haul Road, the main trail through the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve, which lies along the Potomac River a mile south of Alexandria, Virginia. National Park Service staff had previously cleared the area of invasive exotic plants, allowing a restoration that increases diverse habitat for wildlife and provides a showcase to teach visitors about the beauty and value of native plants.

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The Friends of Dyke Marsh received funds from the National Audubon Society’s Collaborative Grant Program. The grant was obtained by ASNV and used to support the plant-restoration project, a collaborative effort by the Friends group and ASNV with the National Park Service and Earth Sangha.

The $1,903 grant helped pay for the purchase of native plants such as River Birch, Sassafras, Early Goldenrod, and Virginia Wild Rye Grass. The grant covered about 25 percent of the $7,700 needed to purchase the plants. The rest of the funding came from other grants, Friends member donations, and plant donations and discounts from Earth Sangha. To plant the flora, the Friends group and the National Park Service organized, supervised, and participated in three 3-hour planting sessions, staffed by volunteers, in May, June, and October. Altogether, about 45 volunteers and Park Service staffers helped plant about 3,500 native trees, grasses, and herbaceous plants.

Most of the plants are doing well. In addition to the new plantings, Park Service staff and Friends volunteers report that some native plants, such as the Yellow Passionflower, that had been suppressed by invasives are now returning on their own. The partners will reevaluate the project’s success next spring.

Photos in this story by Glenda Booth