Monthly Meeting April 10th

posted Apr 2, 2014, 10:24 PM by Marty Nielsen

Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve:

Restoring a Primeval Wilderness in the D.C. Area



Thursday, April 10

7:30 - 9:00 pm


Green Spring Gardens

4603 Green Spring Road

Alexandria, VA  22312

703 642-5173


 VNPS programs are free and open to the public.  No reservations are necessary for   this presentation.



Naturalist Louis Halle called Dyke Marsh “the nearest thing to primeval wilderness in the immediate vicinity of the city.”  It is one of the last large tracts of freshwater tidal marsh along the Potomac River, and is one of the most biologically diverse habitats in the Washington, D.C. region.  The marsh is home to 300 known species of plants, 6,000 arthropods, 38 fish, 16 reptiles, 14 amphibians and over 270 species of birds.  It is the only site in the upper Potomac River zone with a breeding population of marsh wrens and has state-threatened breeding populations of least bitterns.  The state-threatened river bulrush is common in the marsh.


U.S. Geological Survey scientists have concluded that 1.5 to two acres of wetlands are vanishing every year, a rate so severe that Dyke Marsh will be gone in 10 to 20 years.  Dredging reduced what was once 200 acres of emergent marsh to 83 acres and destabilized the whole system, spurring the loss of another 23 acres.  Today fewer than 60 acres remain.  The National Park Service is proposing a restoration plan to stabilize and restore the marsh. 

Friends of Dyke Marsh President and VNPS member Glenda Booth will describe Dyke Marsh, its significance, the NPS restoration goals and the importance of wetlands and wetlands restoration.