MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and Woodland Dunes Nature Center and Preserve welcome the public to attend a preview of the Woodland Dunes and Henry Wetland Restoration Project in Manitowoc, Wisconsin, located south of U.S. Highway 310 on Woodland Drive.
The project is restoring about 80 acres of wetlands to near pre-settlement conditions as part of a DNR grant program. The sneak peek will take place on Sept. 11, 2021, between 9 and 11 a.m. Experts will be on-site to explain the importance of this restoration project and share their knowledge of some of the new species of plants and birds present.
The Wisconsin Wetland Conservation Trust (WWCT) funded the restoration of the former agricultural field to its completion. The WWCT is a wetland mitigation program administered by the DNR. The WWCT funds wetland restoration projects to offset permitted wetland impacts resulting from development.
“The WWCT is a great example of private entities and the DNR working together,” said Josh Brown, DNR Wetland In-Lieu Fee Program Coordinator. “It’s a ‘win-win-win’ for developers, the environment and municipalities because development projects can be implemented while still protecting watersheds.”
Public and private partnerships were critical to transforming this former farm field, once proposed for industrial development, into a mosaic of diverse habitat types, including native grassland, shrub and forested swamp.
Site planning began in 2017, and restoration activities began in the fall of 2019. This project also requires a conservation easement on the 80-acre area to remain a protected wetland in perpetuity. The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin will fund long-term management through an endowment.
Nearly 3.5 miles of drain tiles were broken, shallow wetland pools were excavated and the site was planted with native grasses, wildflowers, trees and shrubs. This area is now home to over 65 different bird species. It provides both nesting and stopover habitat for netropical songbirds, raptors, shorebirds and waterfowl and pollinator habitat for insects.
The restoration is located directly across from other Woodland Dunes property. Expanding on existing protected natural areas will further improve the health and resiliency of the Manitowoc River watershed. The site will be open to the public for nature-based outdoor activities such as hiking and birdwatching.
Woodland Dunes Nature Center and Preserve. is a 501(c)3 non-profit that restores, protects and sustains Woodland Dunes habitat by building partnerships to advance projects that benefit Manitowoc County watersheds.