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Plants of the Nanticoke

The plants that dwell on this property are part of what makes it so sustainable. Many of the plants are native to the area and require little maintenance, creating less lawn area that must be mowed down, which reduces the amount of pollution being run down into the Nanticoke River.

The following documents include the plant species found on the NRC property as well as the living shoreline and kayak trail. Also included is the list of plants to be planted as part of the mitigation work and a list of trees currently existing on the property.

The Living Shoreline

Living shorelines are an alternative solution to prevent erosion in coastal and wetland areas. Instead of using hardened structures like concrete walls, which often times contribute to erosion, living shorelines incorporate native trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants, and grasses into the natural environment. Over time, these plants develop root systems which stabilize the ground, absorb wave energy, and protect the shore. The shade from the plant canopy keeps water temperatures cooler, and increases oxygen levels, making a healthy habitat for fish and other aquatic species. Other wetland creatures such as birds, reptiles, and insects also benefit from the ecosystem services living shorelines provide.

At the Nanticoke Center property, a portion of the shoreline is unprotected. It measures approximately 36 feet wide with a fluctuation of about 12-16 feet from high tide to low tide. Conditions at the site such as water salinity, water depth, light exposure, and the slope of the bank help to determine what type of design should be implemented. In this case, a nonstructural living shoreline would be the most appropriate, consisting of mainly vegetation and possibly biologs. Trees including red maple, black gum, and green ash, along with many other native options would be planted near the high tide elevation. Swamp rose, buttonbush, and fetterbush are some of the shrubs that would be planted closer to high tide. Various types of grasses, rushes, and sedges would be planted at the mid-tide elevation in the shallow waters. The low-tide elevation would be ideal for oyster reefs which help filter the water and make it more suitable for critical and diverse wildlife. With careful thought, planning, and design, this freshwater, tidal area has the potential to become a thriving ecosysetm. In the near future, we hope students will be able to use this landscaping project as an opportunity to learn about alternative shore protection and habitat sustainability, and gain hands on experience with local conservation.