Restoring Little River Marsh in Georgetown

Impaired wetlands will be improved at KELT’s Lundstrom Marsh Preserve after years of careful planning and collaboration.

The goal of the Little River Habitat Restoration is to return natural tidal flow to the marsh. Tidal flow is impeded by an old and unused man-made causeway.

This property sits between Indian Point Road and Reid State Park and includes the upper reaches of the Little River salt marsh.  By removing the causeway, we want to increase salinity, decrease water temperature, restore healthy salt marsh vegetation, and eliminate the invasive plant, Phragmites australis.  KELT will be monitoring the site for the next five years to record the project impacts.

A Man-Made Problem & Its Consequences

In the salt marsh tidal channel, there is an area where logs and fill were used to construct a rough causeway across the wetland for a logging project 50+ years ago.  This causeway is restricting tidal flow and causing problems for the wetland upstream.

Consequences include higher water temperature, lower salinity, flooding, and friendly conditions for invasive species.

The warm temperatures prevent this wetland above the causeway from being a healthy place for fish and other salt marsh species to grow. The excess of fresh water is causing some of the saltwater loving plants in the wetland to die. Without the hardy root systems of these plants, the salt marsh peat is showing signs of decay.  This results in the surface of the marsh getting mushy and muddy, and it releases greenhouse gas emissions.

In addition, the wetland has become a hospitable environmental for the invasive plant, Phragmites australis. This common reed grows quickly, forms dense monocultures, and can take over habitat from native plants.

Removing unwanted visitors. KELT volunteers work with a professional to bundle, cut, bag, and treat Phragmites in the Little River marsh.
Understanding the problem. Water flow measuring sensors were setup in 2012 to understand how water moves (and couldn’t move) through the old causeway.

Taking Action for Improvement

In February, a contractor skilled in working in wetland habitats removed the old causeway. The contractor brought equipment out to the site on Monday, February 5th.  The project took five days.

This project was funded by a grant from the Maine Natural Resources Conservation Program, a program that uses state and federal mitigation funds to award competitive grants for projects that protect and restore natural resources across the state.

For a love of the land. Bob out in the marsh in 2012 working alongside KELT volunteers and professionals to remove the invasive Phragmites.

For the Love of the Land

The Lundstrom Marsh Preserve was donated by the Lundstrom family.  The former property owner, Bob Lundstrom, passed away in 2015.  He was adamant that the causeway be removed to help stop the spread of invasive Phragmites and to return the marsh to a healthier state.  KELT is proud to be fulfilling this vision that he had for the Little River saltmarsh.

If you have any questions about the restoration project, contact Ruth Indrick, Project Coordinator at KELT, at rindrick@kennebecestuary.org or 207-442-8400.