Everyone knows by now that the man-made wetlands Van Metre has put in across from Harris Teeter is quite impressive.  Many families enjoy the boardwalk almost daily.  Designed by Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc., additional information about this habitat will be helpful as you enjoy the walk. Wetlands are often thought of as waste places or “swamps”, but in fact they are critical healthy systems that affect our quality of life.

These are just a few of the critical roles of wetlands: Wetlands reduce flooding and erosion.  By absorbing and holding water during rain events and slowly releasing it over time, wetlands protect downstream areas from receiving too much water too quickly. Wetlands filter pollutants and other impurities out of water.  Plants and soils in wetlands act like filters and slow water movement. Dangerous particles can settle out in the calm, slow moving waters of a wetland instead of washing downstream into larger bodies of water. Wetlands provide a diverse natural landscape that encourages a large variety of plants and animals to live in or visit the area.  Plants that are native to this area were chosen to provide the most benefit to the birds and animals that live in or migrate through the area.

Interesting facts: Wetlands are not wet all of the time!  To be considered a wetland, an area must have a certain amount of water for only a percentage of the year.  With this water comes a certain pallet of plants that likes these sporadically moist conditions.  Wetlands can be forested, shrubby, grassy, or have open water.  Broadlands wetlands are a combination of restored wetlands and man-made wetlands, built to offset wetlands lost during the construction of the Broadlands development and mediate stormwater run-off.  Wetland Studies and Solutions, Inc. has designed eight mitigation areas, totaling 11.02 acres of on-site wetlands creation and 3.45 acres of wetlands restoration. In this area Van Metre has taken extra steps to go beyond the level required.  Instead of building a traditional stormwater pond, the developer has created an attractive amenity for the community and a valuable asset for the environment.  Because of these extra efforts, this wetland now hosts a healthy community of plants and wildlife.  It provides a recreational area for residents and visitors and adds beauty to the landscape.

Partial list of native plants at this location: Trees: Red Sunset Maple Eastern Redbud American Holly Eastern Red Cedar American Sycamore Black Willow Bald Cypress River Birch

Shrubs: Smooth Alder Button Bush Silky Dogwood Winterberry Southern Arrowood

Perennials: Common Yarrow Marsh Marigold Wintercreeper Rose Mallow Blue Iris