Rep. Dingell Recognized for Work to Protect Vital Habitat
Congress approved a resolution today commemorating the 50th anniversary of the designation of Dyke Marsh in Fairfax County as a protected ecosystem and part of the National Park Service system by a vote 325-93. Spanning 485-acres, the Dyke Marsh Wildlife Preserve is the last substantial freshwater tidal marsh in the Washington, D.C. area. The resolution, spearhead by Congressman Jim Moran and cosponsored by 36 members of Congress, honors Congressman John Dingell (D-MI) for authoring the original legislation and for his role as a stalwart champion of the nation’s wetlands.
Representative Moran gave the following remarks on the House floor (as prepared):
“Dyke Marsh was formed over 5,000 years ago. Today, it remains a critical habitat for a diverse array of more than 6,500 species of plants and animals, including some that are threatened or endangered. Yet by the1950′s, the marsh had been significantly depleted and was in danger of being virtually erased as the result of decades of commercial dredging operations in the Potomac River.
“While we can’t turn back the clock, we can and should work to preserve the remaining characteristics of landscapes like Dyke Marsh, the species they sustain, and the gene pools they possess- for our own sake and for the sake of future generations.
“That is why I authored language in the Water Resources Development Act last year allowing the National Park Service to partner with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to restore lost sections of the wetland. The National Park Service is currently in the process of completing its review charting the way forward for the joint restoration project in the most practical and environmentally feasible way possible.
“I would like to recognize and thank Congressman John Dingell for authoring the legislation that designated Dyke Marsh a protected habitat fifty years ago. Were it not for his leadership, Dyke Marsh would probably not be here today. I would also like to thank the Friends of Dyke Marsh for its enduring commitment to preserving Northern Virginia’s precious wetland.”