Wetland Restoration Projects Benefit
“Fish and Wildlife” in Ashland County Wisconsin
BY TED KOEHLER, ASHLAND FWCO
wetland plants in the foreground were left undisturbed but the rest of the impacted
and degraded basin was restored for wildlife habitat. Credit: USFWS Ted Koehler
Working through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Ashland Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office and the Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program (PFWP), wetland restoration projects were completed on the Clark, Lippo, C. Ylitalo, and T. Ylitalo properties. The four wildlife habitat projects are located in Ashland County, Wisconsin, within the Lake Superior Watershed Focus Area for the Midwest Region's PFWP. The project area was further focused this year due to grant funding received by the Bad River Watershed Association to target landowners in the Marengo River watershed to implement conservation practices to slow the flow of sediment into the areas of important trout streams. All four projects were in the Marengo River watershed and consisted of 10 wetland restoration acres as well as 21 acres enhanced for waterfowl and upland bird nesting habitat.
A PFWP Habitat Development Agreement was signed to protect the restored areas for a period of 10 years. These newly restored and protected wetlands will provide ideal resting and nesting conditions for many species of migratory waterfowl and songbirds. Species benefiting from the habitat restoration and protection projects include migratory waterfowl such as wood ducks, mallards and blue-winged teal, as well as other wetland associated migratory birds such as marsh wrens, American bitterns and sandhill cranes.
The restored wetlands will also work to slow the flow of sediment into the Marengo River. Excessive sediment smothers and degrades important fish spawning habitat. Therefore, reducing sediment delivery will benefit the many cold water fish species in the system, including brook trout.
The vast majority of fish and wildlife habitat restorations are accomplished only through the coordination and hard work of many willing partners. Partners on these projects include the landowners, Ashland County Land and Water Conservation Department, Bad River Watershed Association, Ducks Unlimited, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Service’s Ashland Fish and Wildlife Conservation Office.