More than decade later, ITD wetland of flowers, animals and grasses
What was once a wind-blown wheat field near the small Idaho town of Genesee is now an environmental success story 12 years after ITD created a thriving, marshy wetlands area where one never existed before.
Genesee, a town of less than 1,000 people, is a quiet community resting in the rolling hills and prairie that dominate Idaho's Palouse country, midway between Moscow and Lewiston. When road construction on U.S. 95 in the spring of 2005 from the top of Lewiston Hill to Genesee required using some land designated as wetlands, ITD spearheaded a mitigation project to construct wetlands as compensation.
ITD eventually created almost 11.5 acres of wetland and riparian area to mitigate for area impacted by the highway project, at a cost of $1.5 million.
Then came the winter of 2005/2006, when roughly 90 percent of those wetland plugs were lost due to frost heaves. So, planners returned to the drawing board.
Spring of 2006, wetland areas were broadcast-seeded to compensate for the loss that first winter. In addition to seeding and planting, trees removed during the project were placed in the wetland as habitat snags, and in November of 2007 an additional 2,500 containerized plants were planted as warranty to replace trees and shrubs that had died.
The irrigation system, installed to provide watering as the vegetation got established, was turned off in 2008 to encourage plants to acclimate to their natural conditions.
By August of 2010, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers stamped the site as completed. Pictured above to right: The site in 2010.
Many Genesee residents, who also use it for bird watching, today use the Cow Creek Wetland as a walking trail
Most impressively, it is used as a wetland ecology classroom by the local high school.
Pictured below: The site during planting in 2005.