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Environment Matters Audio Podcast

Environment Matters
EPA Region 3
Topic: American Wetlands Month - May 2012
Size: : 3,327k
Time: 03:33

Date: May 21, 2012

[Opening music]

Maryann Helferty:  Hello and welcome to Environment Matters, our series of environmental podcasts.  I’m  Maryann Helferty, an environmental scientist at EPA’s Mid-Atlantic Office.

May is American Wetlands Month, a time designated to celebrate the vital importance of wetlands to our nation’s ecological, economic, and social health as well as to highlight the values of wetlands as a natural resource.  The theme of American Wetlands Month is Learn – Explore – Take Action. 

Wetlands are the vital link between land and water, where the flow of water, the cycling of nutrients, and the energy of the sun meet to produce highly productive ecosystems with unique plant and animal life. Wetlands have many important functions, including helping to absorb and slow floodwaters.  This ability can alleviate property damage and loss and can even save lives.  Wetlands also absorb excess nutrients, sediments and other pollutants before they reach rivers, lakes, and other water bodies.   

I’m here today with Tom Branigan, Executive Director of the Delaware River City Corporation, the non-profit which oversaw the design and construction of the Lardner’s Point wetland restoration here in Philadelphia.  Hello, Tom, and welcome. Can you tell us about Lardner’s Point restoration?   

Tom Branigan: Yes, hi, Maryann. Lardner’s Point Park is located in northeast Philadelphia just south of the Tacony Palmyra Bridge. It’s on the site of a former ferry dock that was closed when the bridge was built. Prior to restoration the 4 ½ acre parcel was overwhelmed with invasive species such as Japanese Knotweed and was used as an illegal dump for construction waste and trash. There was also a significant amount of concrete surface around the site. The restoration process included removing the invasives, concrete and debris, and regrading the site to create an upland forested interfit as well as constructing a freshwater tidal wetland. The park includes a restored fishing pier, picnic tables, benches, a water fountain, walking trails and a piece of a multi-use trail that will run through this trailhead park.

Maryann Helferty: What are some of the benefits of having natural sites like this in the city? 

Tom Branigan: I think there are tremendous benefits to the adjacent neighbors. The park’s provided a new opportunity for them to gain access to the Delaware River. They will be able to walk the trails, fish off the piers,eat at the picnic tables or just enjoy the serenity of the place. The multi-use trail passing through this trailhead park is a part of a larger effort known as the East Coast Greenway, which will eventually extend from Maine to Florida. So the recreational benefits for the community are numerous. And our mission at the Delaware City Corp is to connect adjacent communities to the river. And Lardner’s Point park is the start.

[Closing music]

Maryann Helferty:  Thank you, Tom, and thank you to our listeners. To learn more about wetlands and American Wetlands Month, visit the EPA website at www.epa.gov and then type “wetlands” in the search box.    

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