Saginaw Bay and River Natural Resource Damage Assessment
Wetland Restoration Projects
We completed the coastal wetland and lakeplain prairie restoration projects in the fall of 2001, with the exception of two footbridges which were installed in 2002. All of the projects were completed on lands acquired through the settlement and then transferred to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). Previous owners used drainage systems and dikes to make the land suitable for agriculture.
The goal of these projects was to restore naturally fluctuating water levels that are necessary for coastal wetland and lakeplain prairie habitats. We removed or plugged existing drainage systems, breached dikes to allow water levels to fluctuate with Saginaw Bay levels, and built up other dikes to protect neighbors from any changes in their drainage. We also removed structures and debris to provide as much habitat as possible and to remove hazards for people visiting the sites.
We are working with the MDNR, Ducks Unlimited, and other partners to enhance and restore native plant communities on these parcels now that the earthwork is completed. Parts of the Saginaw NRDA settlement were used as matching projects for a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant for this part of the work and for additional wetland restoration projects impacting 3,000 acres in the watershed.
To learn more about lakeplain prairie, one of the habitat types we are trying to restore, visit Michigan Natural Features Inventory and look at their Lakeplain Wet Prairie (link to pdf file) and Lakeplain Wet-Mesic Prairie (link to pdf file) Abstracts.