The Nahant Marsh
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The Nahant Marsh is a wetland, which is a home for many representatives of fauna and flora. Its area is about 265 acres. It is a part of the 513 acres complex. It borders the Mississippi River in the south, the West River Drive in the north, the Highway 22 in the west and the Railroad and the Mississippi River in the east. The wetland is a ground that permanently or seasonally imbued with water. Wetlands are very useful for the environment. Wetlands purify the water and act as pollution control, maintain the shoreline stable and control the water flood. In addition, wetlands are the home for many plants and animals. That is why the biological diversity in the wetlands is very rich. All processes mentioned about are very important to the nature and life. The Nahant Marsh is a place of nesting for ducks and geese. In addition, many birds during their migration feed there. Sometimes marshes are created naturally, but sometimes it is the result of human activities (Nahant Marsh - Natural History of an Urban Marsh, 2013).
The Nahant Marsh was created in the result of the human activity. People built the causeway to Credit Island and the river was blocked. It caused sedimentation, and, as a result, the Nahant Marsh was created. Nowadays the vegetation of the marsh varies from east to west. In the east of I-280, the area is fen and full of cattails, although in the west of I-280, the area is full of water, and mostly covered with flooded forests. As was mentioned above, the marsh is full of different animals and plants. There are about 130 species of birds, such as the waterfowls, the wading birds, the shorebirds, the perching birds and the raptors. There are about 56 species of mammals, such as the deer mouse, the white-footed deer mouse, the prairie vole and the short-tailed shrew. Such reptiles as the northern water snake, the common snapping turtle, the western painted turtle and the Blanding’s turtle live there. The flora of the Nahant Marsh is very rich. The cattails, the sedge, the rice cut grass, the smartweeds, theinland rush and tall nettle are the brightest representatives of the vegetable world (Nahant Marsh - Natural History of an Urban Marsh, 2013).
Such organizations as the Quad Cities Trap and Skeet Gun Club used the Nahant Marsh as a field for target practice from 1969 to 1995. This usage has done a great harm to the marsh. They left there about 240 000 kilograms of lead pellets. Many birds died because of lead poisoning. The level of contaminant was very high. In some places, the level of contamination exceeded the normal level five hundred times as much. The agency that took place in cleaning up the marsh called the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) (Restoring Our Resources Iowa’s Nahant Marsh, 2001). They counted that the cost of cleaning up would be about $2,000,000. They made a plan and showed that such sum of money would help them to remove the impacted soils from the marsh. They used pipes and pumps for draining the marsh and gathered the soil. They started in February 1, 1999 and ended in May 10, 1999. The Environmental Protection Agency got out the soil and decontaminated the marsh. After grading and smoothing of the ground, the EPA planted the grass. The agreement that was signed before the cleaning up requires maintaining the present effect and improving the condition of the marsh. That is why students and volunteers observe natural revegetation and plant new species (A Fresh Start for Nahant Marsh, 2013).
The Nahant Marsh does not have to be a natural setting. Sometimes nature cannot restore its resources itself, and that is why people must help it to do this. There were many changes at the marsh over the last two decades. Many species of fish, birds and plants were destroyed by human activities. Nowadays, people must protect and restore the marsh because without this, the marsh will be under threat in the future. The Nahant Marsh must be under the people’s control, and scientists have to enhance the marsh environment for the new and the current species.