Barkhausen Preserve Coastal Fish and Wildlife
Habitat Restoration-Phase I
BY TED KOEHLER, ASHLAND FWCO
Most of the west shore of Green Bay, Wisconsin has been significantly altered by post-European settlement activities. Significant attempts to drain historic wetlands and convert the land to support farming activities were successful, with an estimated 70% of historic wetlands having been lost in the area. Current pressure to develop this landscape into subdivisions and commercial building development further threaten remaining wetlands. In addition, many native remnant emergent wetland plant communities have been replaced with expansive stands of invasive species, including non-native phragmites and reed canary grass. Despite these staggering losses, the west shore of Green Bay remains a critical and significant wetland resource that makes up approximately 50% of all remaining wetlands in Wisconsin’s Lake Michigan basin.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Coastal Program – Great Lakes and Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program provided funding and professional assistance to Ducks Unlimited and worked with many other partners including Brown County and Wisconsin DNR to restore and enhance degraded wetlands and waterways within and near the Barkhausen Preserve on the west shore of Green Bay. This first portion of an overall three phase multi-year project improved habitat and restored access to critical spawning areas for northern pike which annually migrate from Lake Michigan into coastal and inland wetlands. Phase 1 of the project also enhanced 40 acres of wet meadow; hemi-marsh and open-water habitats to benefit breeding and migratory waterfowl such as mallards and blue-winged teal as well as Coastal Program priority species such as black terns.
Implementation of Phase 2 of this project is currently underway and planning for Phase 3 is taking place. Both the Service’s Coastal and Partners for Fish and Wildlife Programs are again providing key funding and professional assistance roles to both remaining project phases, and these will result in over 150 acres of additional wetlands restored and enhanced to benefit Green Bay west shore migratory birds and fish.