THE NORTH CAMPUS WETLAND

 

Once upon a time, there was a little pond way up at what is now the north end of campus.

For a long time this was a farm run by the Chase Family. In this photo from 1937 you can see the construction going on across from the farm (to the left); this is now largely occupied by the Federal Job Corps Program but at that time was a brand-new residential hospital for people of all ages who where suffering from tuberculosis.

As the decades passed, there was less and less farming going on.

By 1970 the farm was less active and the pond at the top of the hill had become more of a wetland environment.

In the mid-90s the College had begun construction of athletic fields working up the hill.

The late nineties saw the new tennis courts and adjacent parking lot, and dirt roads coming up to the wetland area.

By the mid-2000s the wetland had started to be filled in after the construction of the upper athletic fields.

In 2011 the former pond basin was a huge heap of concrete, stone, dirt, tree stumps, brick and other kinds of clean fill. But it sure wasn't a wetland anymore.

In 2013 the College decided it was time to restore the site to its former identity - an environmentally sensitive wetland that would support an abundance of plants and wildlife.

In cooperation with the Army Corps of Engineers, the SUNY Construction Fund, the NYS Office of General Services, and design specialists in environmental engineering, the College started a two-year project to excavate and restore the site.

The Grading Plan. Click for the PDF.

 

The Planting Plan. Click for the PDF.

 

 

What it looks like now, with an inset to show what it looked like before. Click to enlarge and remove the overlay.

Sixteen hundred dump-truck loads later, 25,000 cubic yards of fill had been removed. That's a volume half as large again as all of Schumacher Hall.

 

This fully-restored wetland now has four major bays where water collects and has its quality improved by moving through different plant suites. It then follows an engineered course down the hillside where it empties into Silver Creek.

It is home to birds, insects, frogs, turtles and a host of visiting animals looking for a drink of water.

It will also be the subject of continued study and management by Environmental Studies and Biological Sciences Students and Faculty. Feel free to visit!

 

If you are interested in taking part in this project, contact us:

Phil Bidwell - Office of Facilities - phil.bidwell@oneonta.edu

Rachel Kornhauser - Office of Campus Sustainability - rachel.kornhauser@oneonta.edu