Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Raising Cane in Region 3
Midwest Region, October 21, 2008
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Cane workshop attendees gather for a group photo at the Cache River Wetland Center.
- USFWS Photo by Carrie Walczak
Cane workshop attendees gather for a group photo at the Cache River Wetland Center.

- USFWS Photo by Carrie Walczak

- Photo Credit: n/a

Giant Cane (Arundinaria gigantea), North America's only native bamboo, is a critical and unique component of the bottomland forest ecosystem.  Canebrakes support diverse fauna including numerous species of conservation concern such as the Swainson's warbler, American woodcock, swamp rabbit, and canebrake rattlesnake, while simultaneously reducing sediment runoff.  

Giant Cane was once a dominant landscape feature throughout its range at the time of European settlement, but today it has been reduced by an estimated 98% and is nearly non-existent.  As a result, canebrakes are now classified as a critically endangered habitat and considered a top conservation priority of the Eastern Broadleaf Forest refuges within Region 3. 

In an effort to coordinate the cane restoration efforts currently underway in the southern portion of the midwest, Cypress Creek and Mingo National Wildlife Refuges partnered with Southern Illinois University at Carbondale to host a cane restoration workshop.  Fifty-two attendees representing 10 different natural resource agencies and one private conservation planning business participated in the one day workshop held at the Cache River Wetlands Center in Cypress, Illinois. 

Morning presentations consisted of updates on current giant cane research and restoration efforts underway; while in the afternoon, participants toured giant cane restoration sites managed by the Fish and Wildlife Service and The Nature Conservancy, as well as viewed demonstrations on giant cane restoration techniques.  The successful attendance and the level of enthusiasm expressed by workshop attendees demonstrate a high level of interest in cane restoration and propagation techniques, which makes the outlook brighter for cane and those species dependent on this rare and unique community.

Contact Info: Karen Mangan, 618-634-2231, Karen_Mangan@fws.gov
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