- photo by MichaelFurmtan.com
Ducks Unlimited recently completed a project to restore the 66-acre Dusseau Tract on the Erie State Game Area in Monroe County, Michigan. Once drained for agriculture, the tract now comprises 38 acres of rare lake-plain wet prairie and 28 acres of coastal wetlands along southwestern Lake Erie, benefiting nesting, migrating, and wintering waterfowl.
Project construction consisted of reshaping a degraded berm that was originally designed to keep water off the property, excavating shallow wetlands to enhance habitat diversity, and adding water-control structures and a portable pump. These improvements will allow Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) wetland managers to mimic natural wet and dry cycles, which will help promote the growth of desired wetland plants while discouraging the growth of invasive plants species such as phragmites and reed canary grass.
In 2006, DU and the Michigan DNR applied for and received a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant to permanently protect the Dusseau Tract by incorporating it into the Erie State Game Area. The two partners received a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2010 to restore this coastal wetland.