Salisbury Airport

Salisbury Airport-Somerset County, MD

In March 2007, Restoration Systems completed a 30-acre wetland restoration project in Mt. Vernon, Maryland, located in Somerset County, in response to a Request for Proposal (RFP) for mitigation needed to offset runway expansions at the Salisbury-Ocean City Wicomico Regional Airport in Salisbury, MD (Wicomico County).  The Salisbury Airport is a regional airport that serves the Delmarva Peninsula (the Delmarva Peninsula comprises small parts of Delaware, Maryland and Virginia) with daily commercial flights, as well as private aircrafts.

The site was selected due to its proximity to the airport, excellent hydric soils and feasibility for restoration.  The landowner had been trying to sell this land for about a year due to the farmlands’ wet nature. Farming it was difficult, to say the least and he was more than happy to have the opportunity to return the site to its natural state.

The first task was to construct 2,400 linear feet of Super Silt Fence to define the perimeter of the wetland site.  Installation required digging a deep trench to receive the fence, followed by the installation of 6’ aluminum poles every 10’ within the trench.  After the poles were installed, a 4’ tall X 50’ long chain link fence was attached to the poles and a 4’ tall X 300’ long piece of geo-textile silt fence was strapped to the chain link. Finally, the trench was backfilled to ensure no silt laden water would breach the fence. The Maryland Department of Environment gave this sediment and erosion control measure a big thumbs-up and the site is now incapable of leaching any sediment into the adjacent Wicomico River marsh.

The next task was to stake out two shallow ponds, created with smooth river rock, which would be constructed to retain water that formerly filled the ditches at the top of site.  The idea behind these structures is to gather water out of unfilled portions of the ditches that run out of the project area and to “recharge” the site with water gathered in the ponds.  Simultaneously, roughly 1,000 feet of Super Silt Fence was completed and three ditches were backfilled.

The farmland in between the ditches had been “crowned” over the years to help expedite drainage into the ditches. Restoration Systems removed all “crowns” and made the site as flat as possible in the water-laden soils.

Next, sections of a historic berm that separated the site from the marsh were removed.  During this process, some borrow ponds throughout the site were also able to be constructed.  These ponds are shallow and small in size, and are an extremely welcoming habitat for waterfowl.  One day after construction of these ponds, ducks of all species and geese infiltrated the site.  These ponds are anticipated to be permanent havens for waterfowl.

The final completion of the site was put into place by planting roughly 1,000 stems per acre of the following varieties of trees:

American Elm (Ulmus americana)

Atlantic White Cedar (Chamaecyparis thyoides)

Baldcypress (Taxodium distichum)

Black Gum (Nyssa sylvatica)

Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis)

Cherrybark Oak (Quercus falcate var. pagodaefo)

Silky Dogwood (Cornus amonum)

Hackberry (Celtis occidentalis)

Loblolly Pine (Pinus taeda)

Persimmon (Diospyros virginiana)

Pin Oak (Quercus palustrus)

River Birch (Betula nigra)

Southern Waxmyrtle (Myrica cerifera)

Swamp Blackgum (Nyssa biflora var. biflora)

Swamp Black Oak (Quercus bicolor)

Sweet Bay (Magnolia virginiana)

Sweetgum (Liquidambar styraciflua)

Water Tupelo (Nyssa aquatica)

Willow Oak (Quercus phellos)

On-Site Construction Supervisor Worth Creech added a personal note regarding the completion of the site.

“The project fills me with pride, more so than any other I have built. It was hard work, and a long way from home, but you could see what we were doing in our design and in our construction was already working. The site was getting wetter and wetter, and in turn, the local waterfowl were coming in heavier and heavier. Like with so many of our projects, it was possible to sense we were doing the right thing for the environment.  I am certain this will be a successful wetland restoration project.  I look forward to visiting this beautiful place for a lifetime knowing that I had a hand in restoring it to its original condition.”