OHF funded project improves habitat

a

Washed out section of dike that was repaired.

Photo © Ducks Unlimited

With funding from North Dakota's Outdoor Heritage Fund (OHF) and the North American Wetlands Conservation Act, Ducks Unlimited completed its' portion of repairs to a dike on Long Lake National Wildlife Refuge. The dike is on the south shore of Long Lake and separates the lake from a 700-acre wetland area. During 2011, severe flooding significantly damaged the dike and left several sections completely breached.

DU repaired a section of the two-mile dike adding dirt and rip-rap. The repair also increased the elevation of the dike by one-and-a-half feet to reduce future impacts from flooding events.

"The dike serves as an access road for Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) staff to access a water-control structure on the dike and other portions of the refuge," said Chad Haschen, DU engineering technician and lead designer for this project. "Importantly, the dike is a nesting area for piping plovers. We used gravel that plovers prefer for nesting during the dike repair."

As part of the restoration DU worked with FWS to determine an appropriate native grass mix to reseed the dike and surrounding areas. The marsh on the opposite side of the dike from the lake has significant waterfowl use. Refuge staff manually operate the water-control structure to manage water levels in the marsh. The FWS will complete repairs to the remaining portion of the dike to ensure optimal water levels for beneficial wetland vegetation growth and water bird use.

The project will also serve as a dedication site for DU's Rescue Our Wetlands campaign aimed at raising more philanthropic dollars for the Prairie Pothole Region and the FWS wetland and grassland easement program.

See more photos of before and after construction.