Restoring Wetlands in Michigan

Provides Home for Wildlife

Restoring wetlands at Maankiki Marsh (Maankiki means “marsh” in Chippewa) in Michigan helped reduce flooding, improve water quality, and boost outdoor recreation opportunities.


The nearly 8,700 square miles of Saginaw Bay watershed in central Michigan is home to over one million Michigan residents who rely on its ecological services such as filtering pollutants to help provide clean drinking water and providing habitat for fishing, hunting and wildlife viewing. Major landscape alterations over the last century like cutting down the forest and draining wetlands have impacted Saginaw Bay severely, limiting water filtration and flood control. Thanks to vital federal grants, 1,250 acres of Maankiki Marsh have been restored. The connection to the complex river system allows fish and other aquatic life to pass between the river and wetlands. This opens areas for fish that have been unavailable for many decades. Wetland berms were constructed to create three large units allowing Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge to better manage the wetland types that would naturally occur. These wetland types are decreasing on a national level and conservation efforts are crucial as they provide a diverse ecosystem for fish, birds and other wetland-dependent plants and animals. The increased wildlife diversity adds many opportunities for people to enjoy things such as hunting, fishing and wildlife viewing as well.

Resource Challenges Addressed

  • Undesirable algae
  • Low oxygen levels in the water
  • Degradation of fish and wildlife populations
  • Loss of fish and wildlife habitat
  • Poor water quality


Grass tops poke up through the snow on a sunny day

Marshes, like the one pictured here, provide important habitat for native fish and wildlife. Credit: Courtney Celley U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

Results and Accomplishments

The restored Maankiki wetland now provides crucial breeding and migration habitat for endangered species such as the king rail (a rare marsh bird found in Michigan), common moorhens and least bitterns, and are foraging sites for bald eagles, waterfowl, and other migratory birds. The marsh will also help lessen flood impacts by slowing the flow of flood water. The marsh filters the pollutants from rainwater runoff, improving water quality downstream in the Saginaw River and within Saginaw Bay.