Eastern Pondhawk. Photo by Alex Galt/USFWS.
Waterfowl. Photo by USFWS.
In the Midwest our restoration projects generally occur in three habitat types: wetlands, prairies, and streams.
Wetlands provide critical nesting, feeding, resting and migration habitat for waterfowl and many other animals. Wetlands also filter contaminants and act as buffers against flooding.
Wetland projects usually involve restoring wetlands that have been drained, which requires heavy equipment to move dirt. Our typical wetland restorations involve plugging drainage ditches, removing drainage tiles or building berms to impound degraded wetlands.
Most of our native prairies have been converted to agricultural uses or development, only small remnants are left. Native prairie includes oak savannas, pine barrens, cedar glades and loess hills. Prairie restoration requires reseeding native grasses and wild flowers. Once grassland habitats are established, periodic mowing, burning or grazing is used to control invasive species and woody plants and to assist the growth of native prairie plants, which evolved with wildfire.
Stream restoration is more common as landowners are interested in protecting their small streams and river banks. Often these projects involve reshaping stream banks and fencing to protect banks from erosion. Fish habitat is enhanced by strategically placing rocks and large woody debris to scour pools favored by fish. Fish passage is improved by removing barriers such as dams and non-functioning culverts.
Our Strategic Plan addresses goals that guide our operations:
- Conserve Habitat
- Broaden and Strengthen Partnerships
- Improve Information Sharing and Communication
- Enhance Our Workforce
- Increase Accountability
The Strategic Plan also identifies geographic focus areas that offer great opportunities to benefit high priority fish and wildlife species through habitat improvement.