Origins of the unique Camp Carroll wetland project
DAEGU GARRISON — Have you ever heard about the wetland reclamation project on Camp Carroll?
The idea of the wetland was conceived in 2008 by the U.S. Army Garrison Daegu Directorate of Public Works. Thomas Kunneke, Environmental Division, had designed the initial shape of the wetland which has recovered well enough now to attract seasonal birds and animals.
The concept and design were initiated to enhance the wetland system after many decades of use surrounding the wetland. There was invasive vegetation that overcrowded the stream channel, stream banks and choking out the native vegetation. Cleaning up the area enhanced the hydrology to function more naturally from storm water and increased biodiversity.
This project is like other environmental restoration projects, particularly in urban areas, where a habitat or a small wetland needs maintenance or improvement for ecological values and environmental education and community outreach.
Before the restoration of the wetland, the land had been used for various reasons such temporary equipment storage, space for military exercises, and space for adding additional soil cover for creating upland buffer along the wetland fringe. These activities were part of operations, but DPW and Material Support Command-Korea found a mutual solution to move the equipment and parking foundation away from the site to the adjacent land. Then they could start first part of the project, involving the stream channel work.
The most difficult aspect of wetland restoration is usually getting the initial process underway because of past use of the land and making sure the landowner had approved.
“Once the actual work begins then it all flows together in sequence,” Kunneke said.
At the beginning, the project corridor and stream channel reaches were mapped to produce four segments for restoration going from upstream to downstream. The Upper Reach was given buffer status and the stream and adjacent zones there were kept in their natural state to act as a buffer.
So, the invasive vegetation removal and stream bank design work began in the Upper Middle Reach and proceeded downstream across each ‘stream reach’ segment. They also created a pond adjacent to the stream for added benefits. After the completion of stream banks and pond, they began to install native vegetation plots across the stream areas and pond. The native vegetation included wetland habitat species and were planted in zones along the channels and banks above areas. They were also restoring and enhancing the Lower Reach by installing visitor structures and educational signs along the project corridor.
Soldiers, Civilians, units and the local community can all benefit. The wetlands help conserve natural resources and increased biodiversity on-post for future generations to benefit and enjoy. And there is a current Eagle Scout project for designing an environment-themed art mural along the security wall at the entrance of the wetland.
The project and status of the area is now in the maintenance and community outreach phase. Minor maintenance annually in the stream and stream banks and ponds will help sustain the habitat and system.
“It’s important for the community to understand the commitment by the USAG Daegu command and DPW Environmental to sustain this project,” Kunneke said. “During the past 8 years, I’ve had the privilege and opportunity to manage the wetland and enjoy with hundreds of people. The project continues to be a significant community gem of biodiversity and parkscape. As you can see, and as you’ve personally witnessed, there are a number of ways that visitors to the Wetland Greenway Corridor can enjoy: recreation; education; relaxation; use for community service projects; plan an outing with your club or school; boy scout service project.”