In 1912-15, 23 years before the refuge was established, an effort to drain wetlands for agriculture in the central portion of what was to become Seney National Wildlife Refuge was conducted. The largest of these drainage projects, the Walsh Ditch, continued to function until 2002 when a long-term restoration project began. This project plugged the ditch to restore wetland function. Native wetland ecosystems at the refuge are important habitat for species like American bittern, Le Conte's sparrow, northern harrier, sedge wren and yellow rail. Today, the wetlands are making a comeback, upland species are retreating and sedges, grasses, and other wetland plants are taking root.