The Effect of Power Utility Rights-Of-Way on Wetlands
Norton H. Nickerson and Francis R. Thibodeau
Abstract: Effects of construction of power lines on wetlands in eastern Massachusetts were studied over a five-year period after two years of observation prior to construction. The study was done on a shrub swamp, a wooded swamp, a cattail (Typha) swamp, and as well, both above and below a gravel construction road which served as an impounding structure on an existing wetland. The cattail swamp was essentially unaffected by construction. The shrub swamp slowly returned to its former cover during the period of study; the wooded swamp rapidly became a shrub swamp with seedling and stump-sprout trees forming part of the cover. The impounded wetland areas decreased in vegetational cover; the concamitant drained wetland area below the impoundment rapidly became a dense shrub swamp. Bird populations rose at all woody and shrubby sites over the study period, apparently because of the "edge effect" and use of the cleared areas as corridors of movement.