Four years after completing two exploration projects in the Sabine National Wildlife Refuge, Vastar Resources, Inc., recently conducted an evaluation of its wetlands restoration and enhancement efforts in the refuge. Close inspection of the project areas indicates that the company's restoration efforts were successful in promoting a healthy and vibrant wetland ecosystem, supporting a plant community composition and percent surficial coverage approximate to that of undisturbed marsh.

In this paper, the authors discuss the various techniques utilized in access road and drill site restoration that revitalized this sensitive wetland environment. Techniques discussed include:

  • Maintenance of pre-existing water flows;

  • Systematic selection and use of native soils to construct road dumps and ring levees;

  • Protection of existing vegetative root networks;

  • Improved indigenous seed bed preparation;

  • Creation and use of ecotones to promote habitat diversity and increased wildlife production; and

  • Conversion of roadbeds and ring levees to nesting and resting habitat.

These techniques were employed as part of an ecosystem approach to wetlands resource management, involving the restoration of the multiple values and functional attributes of this unique ecological system.

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