South Branch of the Suamico River Wetland Restoration

 

Goal

To restore the degraded headwater wetlands (hydrology and native vegetation) of the South Branch of the Little Suamico River.

Planting native plants in the wetlands.

Planting native wetland species in the Suamico Wetlands (Photo by Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin)

 

 Project Description

The wetlands at the headwaters of Little Suamico River, located on the Oneida Reservation, are being restored after degradation from agriculture, ditching, and invasive plants. Restoration activities included filling ditches, building berms, excavating soil, and installing a water elevation control structure. On a larger scale, pairing ponds and nesting islands, open water habitat, and adjacent grasslands were constructed or restored to provide improved habitat for migrating and nesting waterfowl in the region. The types of restored habitats include sedge meadow, grasslands, lowland hardwood swamp, and cedar-tamarack swamp. Construction began in the fall of 2006 and was completed in 2007.

Benefits

The restored wetlands provide increased native habitat for waterfowl and improve water quality in the river. Species that benefit from this project include Forster’s tern (Sterna forsteri), rails, bitterns, egrets, and other water and marsh birds. The area is open to tribal members for hunting, fishing, wildlife observation, hiking, environmental education, and cultural uses.

Invasive Reed Canary Grass that will be eradicated.

Visible in this photo is a stand of invasive reed canary grass (Phalaris arundinacea) that will be eradicated. (Photo by Oneida environmental staff)

Spatial Extent of Project

Approximately 200 acres are being restored. NRDA settlement funds account for 100% of the restored area.

Status and Funding

Restoration of wetlands and construction of native upland grasses was completed in the summer of 2007. Monitoring for plant community composition, bird and amphibian populations, and invasive species is ongoing at the site. The project received $240,000 in NRDA funding.

Project Accomplishments

Restoration of headwater wetlands in the Little Suamico River watershed will have far-reaching regional benefits. Overall habitat quality and water quality will be improved for native plant and wildlife species, and for humans dependent on the water supplied from this ecosystem. The wetland restoration will improve water quality in the river and ultimately Green Bay. Water quality will be monitored downstream from the restoration site by Oneida environmental staff.

Water plantain and soft stem bulrush in newly flooded area.

Restored wetland in the north basin, water plantain and soft stem bulrush are colonizing the newly flooded area. (Photo by Tony Kuchma, Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin)

Contact Information

Oneida Tribe of Indians of Wisconsin
Environmental Health and Safety Division
(920) 496-5330