Wetland project approaches final steps

Ashland, Ore. – Ten years ago, the city of Ashland decided to look into the effects of a gun club on a Lithia Springs property that included a wetland. The gun club has been leasing the property for about 50 years and used lead bullets for a period of time.

“We’ve gotten rid of a wetland that was potentially impacted by lead and we’re creating a wetland that will never be impacted by lead,” Project Manager, Kaylea Kathol said.

The city recently transported “clean” dirt to the site to begin the process of filling in the excavated investigation area.

“We’re getting ready to mitigate wetlands which means we’re filling in wetlands that had some potential contamination and constructing new wetlands,” Public Works Superintendent, Michael Morrison said.

That’s where Mark Taylor came in. He and his company were hired to help move soil to the wetland area. This stockpiled dirt as he calls it was left by a flood almost two decades ago.

“Currently it’s being used or most of it’s been used to transfer to the gun site down in a new wetland project, I can’t think of a better win-win project than we have taken something negative like a flood event and turn that soil into something good that we can use to reclaim land to reuse it in the form of a beautiful wetland,” Mark Taylor said.

Once it’s complete, the wetland will provide habitat for animals and plants, and the hope is that its maintained for many generations to come.

“It’s something that’s as important as doing the project itself is to make sure you’re good stewards and you leave the land in better shape than when you arrive,” Taylor said.

The new site for the wetlands almost doubles the size of the previous preserve. The city says while the project is technically coming to a close, the city will still have to monitor the site for up to five years to make sure the wetland area remains intact.

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