Habitat Restoration Near Green Bay

Brings Back Waterfowl

Planting wild rice and other aquatic vegetation at the Duck Creek Delta in Green Bay, Wis., is restoring habitat for birds and other wildlife while improving water quality.

Description

Near Green Bay, Wis., rests a 1,400-acre wetland that was historically considered one of the largest and most diverse within the Great Lakes region. In the mid-1970s protective barrier islands were washed away and this caused the Duck Creek Delta to retreat almost completely to the mouth of the Duck Creek, eliminating the wetlands leaving birds and fish without a home. In the early 1990s, the area was identified as a Great Lakes and Upper Mississippi River conservation priority.

Thanks to a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant restoration efforts are helping to restore the Duck Creek Delta by re-establishing wild rice, wild celery, bulrush, and wildlife habitat in the area. Engineered log jams, which are clusters or pieces of wood, will be placed within the delta to create varied water movements, stabilize shoreline banks to prevent erosion, and enhance fish habitats. Strategically placed logs create riffles, pools and temperature variations, which give fish different areas to feed, spawn and rest. In addition, the re-establishment of wild rice, bulrush, and wild celery have a positive effect on the area. Wild rice is a large part of many migratory birds’ diets, as well as acting as roosting sites for many waterfowl. Approximately 20 acres of wild rice were seeded near Duck Creek in 2016. The new wild celery population acts as a food source for wildlife, especially waterfowl, and improves the water quality within the delta by filtering pollutants. A map of suitable habitats for wild rice and celery was created because of the project and can be used in the future for predicting re-establishment of the important vegetation.

Resource Challenges Addressed

  • Low populations of native wild rice, bulrush, and wild celery
  • Lack of tern nesting habitat
  • Poor water quality

 

DUCK CREEK DELTA RESTORATION

A person in a boat throws seeds into water

Workers plant wild rice and wild celery in the Duck Creek Delta in Green Bay, Wis. The wild rice is native to the ecosystem and will help restore the habitat of the delta. Credit: Ducks Unlimited.

Results and Accomplishments

Seeding and monitoring of submerged aquatic vegetation within Duck Creek Delta is improving the wildlife feeding grounds. There is an increase in water quality due to the vegetation’s uptake of pollutants, and enhanced water habitat for fish due to the implementation of log jams allowing for a diverse water flow.