1999 EPA Wetland Program Development Grant

"Enhancing the Role of Millbrook Marsh Nature Center
in the Spring Creek Watershed"

QUALITY ASSURANCE PROJECT PLAN (QAPP)

A formal QAPP is included, following the format needed by the EPA as outlined in "EPA Requirements for Quality Assurance Project Plans for Environmental Data Operations - EPA QA/R-5" of October 1998. The following is a basic overview organized by task of the project components that are not addressed in the QAPP since they do not involve raw environmental data generation.

The staff of Centre Region Parks and Recreation and members of the Millbrook Marsh Nature Center Advisory Committee are vitally tied to the success of this wetlands protection project. We have consulted and cooperated with various established agencies and environmental organizations, including ClearWater Conservancy and The Penn State Cooperative Wetlands Center, in order to gain advice and practical guidelines for the "Enhancing the Role of Millbrook Marsh Nature Center in the Spring Creek Watershed" project.

Shallow Pond Fringe Marsh Creation

The creation of a shallow pond and fringing marsh would provide an intense aquatic study site relatively free from the constraints evident in the more dispersed natural wetlands beyond. Pond studies would be accommodated structurally by a small deck, limestone slabs, or geotextile-underlined gravel. Native plantings will mimic a range of plant associations including floating and emergent hydrophytes, shrub-scrub and, along the north side, overhanging trees. An existing wet depression suggests a mid- point between two fence lines as the pond site. Pond size and morphology will reflect objectives of high biodiversity and water quality and low maintenance. Approximately 0.1 ha (0.25 ac) in surface area will accommodate a suitable range of breeding macroinvertebrates, selected fish species, herptofauna and several species of migratory waterfowl. Water budget calculations will need to consider infiltration, evaporation, transpiration and storm flows (in and out) to ensure adequate turnover and good water quality. In general, 25 to 50 percent of the water surface area should be between 0.5 - 1 m deep (2-3 feet). Shallowly sloping edges for amphibian and reptile access and shorebird feeding, subsurface shelves to support aquatic plants, a deeper hole for overwintering fish and a waterfowl nesting island and nesting structures will all be incorporated into the overall pond design.

Replacement of Native and Removal of Non-native Plant Species

Several species of invasive non-native plants in Millbrook Marsh will require direct management. This will involve application of physical, chemical and biological intervention to the stand of invasive plants. Simple physical removal is one solution. Some will require the application of a non-persistent systemic herbicide to the cut stems to effect a complete kill. In some cases a biological intervention such as the introduction of an herbivorous insect origination from the same source as the invasive host plant will be necessary, depending upon the scope of the infestation. Directing ecological succession is the secondary management effort, entailing the inter- or under-planting of robust, early successional native woody and herbaceous species in order to out-compete the invasive plant. Continuous monitoring will be necessary to check for the spread of non-natives after implementation of control measures. The non-native invasive species currently requiring control are Tatarian Honeysuckle, Multiflora Rose, Garlic mustard, Autumn Olive, Common Buckthorn, Purple Loosestrife. The specific method of removal will be dependent upon the species being removed and the size of the stand.

Landscape Linkage and Riparian Corridor Re-establishment

Initial inventories will determine the areas in which remediation is necessary. Revegetation will improve wildlife passages and provide connectivity. This will be enhanced by removal or remediation of physical and spatial barriers that impede wildlife movement.

Riparian Habitat Restoration

This will include bank stabilization and revegetation as described in the Project Tasks. It will be directed and overseen by professionals including ecologists, wetland scientist, landscape architect.

Wetland Website Implementation

This will include hiring staff to produce and maintain an up to date wetland and riparian informational website. The development of a wetlands web site, highlighting the Millbrook Marsh Nature Center, will be developed in accordance with the standards of the current Environmental Protection Agency web sites. Scientific data, generated by scientists, and students, as well as general information on Millbrook Marsh Nature Center (trails, site maps, wetlands programs, etc.) will be readily available to users at the touch of a few keystrokes. Therefore, the data must be both accurate and up-to-date.

To ensure the high quality standards set by the Environmental Protection Agency, a professional "webmaster" will be employed to develop an interesting and interactive web site, and the staff of Centre Region Parks and Recreation will provide accurate updates and on-going maintenance of the wetlands web site.

On to the Formal QAPP