Restored wetland helps wildlife, curbs water pollution

Project Summary: A wetland that was drained for agricultural purposes was restored into habitat for migratory birds and other wildlife.


Project name: Dusseau Tract restoration at the Erie State Game Area.

Location: Erie State Game Area, Monroe, Michigan.

Description: The Dusseau Tract project involved the restoration of 38 acres of coastal wetlands and 28 acres of lake plain prairie at the Erie State Game Area. In 2006, Ducks Unlimited and the Michigan Department of Natural Resources applied for a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant to incorporate the Dusseau Tract into the Erie State Game Area. They then received a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 to restore the coastal wetland. Through these partnerships, critical wetland habitat was restored on land that was previously drained for agricultural purposes. The project involved the reshaping of a degraded berm, excavating shallow wetland areas to enhance diversity within the newly created wetland, and adding control structures and a portable pump to facilitate water-level management. These improvements will allow the Michigan DNR to manage the wetland and control the growth of invasive plant species such as Phragmites. The restored wetland also filters nutrients out of agricultural runoff, which reduces the volume of polluted runoff entering Lake Erie and provides habitat for ducks and other wildlife.

Approximate cost of project: $284,477 to restore 66 acres of coastal wetlands and lake plain prairie. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative provided most of the money.

The restored Dusseau Tract wetland. (Ducks Unlimited photo)

The restored Dusseau Tract wetland. (Ducks Unlimited photo)

Resource challenges addressed: Loss of coastal wetlands and wildlife habitat, invasive species and water quality. The restored wetland filters agricultural drainage before it reaches Lake Erie, thereby improving water quality.

Key partners (public and private): Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Ducks Unlimited, Michigan Department of Natural Resources, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Types of jobs created: For this project, jobs were created through the project planning, design and delivery aspects. Some examples of jobs include: excavator operator, excavator spotter, gate and frame manufacturer, gate and frame deliverer, engineers, biologists and many others.

Results and accomplishments: Partnerships between groups like the Michigan DNR and Ducks Unlimited, in conjunction with funding opportunities such as the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, are critical for the continued success in protecting, enhancing and restoring vital lake plain prairie and coastal wetland habitats. Through these efforts, a wetland area previously drained for agricultural purposes was restored and now enhances water quality flowing to Lake Erie, provides habitat for ducks and other wildlife and allows for public recreation activities including bird watching, hunting and hiking.

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Originally Published: November 5, 2013