Boone Constructed Stormwater Wetland Winter Update

— Written By Wendy Patoprsty and last updated by Kathy Lee

There is a natural area right in the middle of Boone that is home to a variety of native plants, birds and animals. This is a place where humans can explore and recognize that nature is protecting our water resources. The constructed stormwater wetland in Boone cleans the water coming off the roads, parking lots, and ball fields before flowing to the New River. The winter landscape offers many shades of yellows, browns, rusts, and greens, which are a visual treat with the beautiful North Carolina blue-sky background.

The town of Boone landscape division, specifically Doug Price and Jerry Lee Pennell have done an incredible job maintaining the banks of the wetland while allowing the natural vegetation to grow and provide habitat. Curtis Smalling of the Audubon has seen a wide array of species there including some good diversity of marsh birds including Virginia Rail, American Bittern, Sora, and a first county specimen for Clapper Rail from just down river at the covered bridge. Waterfowl, especially Wood Ducks, Mallards, Blue-winged Teal, and a few others use the wetland, as well as shorebirds including Solitary and Spotted Sandpipers, Wilson’s Snipe, and Killdeer.

On a recent January visit, I noticed eight dabbling mallard ducks (4 male and 4 female) foraging for food in one of the wetland pools, probably looking for snails, beetles, dragonfly larvae, aquatic worms, seeds, roots, and tubers. They should have no problem finding all of those in the wetland. Mallards life expectancy is about three years, so these fowl seem to have picked a great spot to enjoy their time.While walking around the wetland I retrieved 23 pieces of trash, mostly food wrappers and alcohol containers, but the most interesting was a little paratrooper complete with his shoot. The nastiest litter was a plastic bag full of dog poop. GROSS!