Belmont – Tioga Marsh
188 acres of wetlands with frontage along the Tioga River
In 2004, the Town of Belmont stepped in to rescue Tioga Marsh. The owner had been filling in sections so he could develop the property, ignoring multiple wetlands protection rules. The area is one of the highest ranked wetlands in Belmont and as such is an invaluable habitat for many flora and fauna. When the town saw what was happening, it offered to buy the land and the owner agreed. Since then, with new growth in the damaged areas, you would be hard pressed to spot the where the harm was done.
Despite being safe from development the wetlands face another problem; an infestation of the invasive plant, glossy buckthorn. This woody shrub was brought here from Europe and Asia by landscapers about a hundred years ago who thought its dark berries and thick leaves made it a fine ornamental shrub. But it likes marshes, grows quickly and keeps its leaves late in the season, all of which combine to squeeze out local plants.
Rick Ball, Belmont’s Land Use Technician has led the conservation efforts from the beginning to remove the glossy buckthorn. The Aquatic Resource Mitigation Fund approved a grant for the town to combat the infestation under the condition that the land was placed under easement. Belmont chose Five Rivers as a third party to handle that easement. Rick has enlisted the help of local high school students to help pull out the plants but it is likely that they will need a more efficient, mechanized approach to get the problem under control.
Tioga Marsh can be seen while driving along Route 140 and if you want to explore the land further there is a designated parking area and a walking trail that loops around the uplands portion of the property. The trail is not regularly maintained and can be hard to follow because of overgrowth. Parts of the trail also become washed out during periods of heavy rain. The best views of the marsh are from the road.