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Liberty Park creating wetland enhancement

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Birders can enjoy a range of birds in Liberty Park in Salt Lake City, but in a few months there may be many more species to spot around Liberty Lake. A new enhancement project is in progress to create an emergent wetland around the popular lake, not only to provide better habitat for local wildlife, but also to keep the water cleaner through natural filtration and to create more educational opportunities for both residents and visitors.

The project has been in development since 2012, when public meetings and design consultations were arranged to maximize the project's potential. The actual landscaping adjustments began this spring, and the planting and other adjustments are expected to be complete by late summer. Not only are native plants being installed, but floating islands and graded banks will help improve the habitat. The new plants will be protected and monitored for at least one year, to ensure they will grow adequately, but neither the construction project nor the monitoring will affect public access to the park and its facilities, though some shoreline access along the lake is restricted.

Before the project, birders could expect a range of relatively common urban birds around Liberty Lake, including…

On rare occasions, bald eagles and belted kingfishers visit Liberty Lake, but other species tend to avoid the area because of the lack of natural habitat. Once the wetlands are complete, it may take several months for new species to discover the new suitability of the lake, but in time, additional birds are likely to take up residence at the lake, including…

There is no way to reliably predict when new species will begin to arrive at the wetlands; it can take several years for the plants to become strong and dense enough to adequately appeal to visiting birds. In the meantime, birders can still visit the lake for its common residents, and Tracy Aviary adjacent to the lake is a great option to see a wide range of amazing birds from around the world.

Liberty Park is a 100-acre urban park in Salt Lake City, located at 600 East 900 South. Additional park facilities include a splash pad, play fountain, flower gardens, playgrounds, picnic areas, jogging trails, a seasonal fair, a natural spring and more. Learn more about Liberty Park and how to plan a visit.

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