As extensive wetland restoration projects are completed in the Lower Columbia River and additional opportunities become less common, focus is shifting to other areas, primarily the Puget Sound region. Opportunities for restoration of floodplain and estuarine wetlands in the Puget Sound are significant, primarily in the Snohomish River watershed. A major estuary restoration project will also be completed at Nisqually NWR. Additional projects are being pursued in all of these regions. One of the most significant issues facing ongoing management of floodplain freshwater habitats is reed canarygrass. This species is very competitive and routinely becomes the dominant plant species in freshwater, seasonal wetlands. Reed canarygrass provides little value to waterfowl or other wildlife. If left unchecked, freshwater wetlands can become virtually worthless to waterfowl as reed canarygrass eliminates other plant species. The installation of appropriate water management facilities and on-going, intensive management of seasonal wetlands is essential to maintaining diverse, productive wetland habitats that provide the nutritional requirements of wintering and migrating waterfowl.
- Protect an additional 1,000 ha of existing waterbird habitat.
- Restore and protect 4,000 ha of wetlands.
- Enhance approximately 1,000 ha of existing wetlands each year by replacing dilapidated wetland management infrastructure and assisting with efforts to reduce reed canarygrass and promote early successional, diverse wetland plant communities in managed wetlands.
- Provide technical assistance to public and private land managers.
- Develop new partnerships, both public and private, to secure additional income sources to support DU’s conservation programs.
- Replicating a more natural hydrologic pattern favors native and diverse vegetation and viable habitat.
- The restoration and protection of wetland-dominated habitats is more likely to meet the long-term needs of waterfowl that continuing to rely primarily on the maintenance of agricultural lands.
- Wetland and riparian restoration and enhancement efforts will produce viable habitats for both waterbirds and salmonids.
- Protection or restoration actions should consider the risk posed by contaminants.
- Facilitate easement and fee acquisition efforts or land donations on key private lands.
- Restore floodplain and other freshwater wetlands primarily by utilizing techniques that attempt to replicate natural hydrological cycles through water control.
- Continue to investigate and refine wetland restoration and management strategies that successfully control reed canarygrass and promote diverse wetland plant communities.
- Assist in efforts to intensively manage seasonal wetland habitats where appropriate, primarily on publicly managed areas and certain privately owned parcels managed primarily for waterfowl.
- Restore estuarine habitats throughout the Pacific Coast region.
- Prioritize projects that provide benefits to both salmon and waterfowl because those types of projects are more easily funded and permitted.
- Provide technical assistance to private landowners, especially in the Puget Sound, Lower Columbia River and Willamette Valley regions.
- Continue to investigate and monitor salmonid use of restored and enhanced wetland habitats in order to: refine wetland restoration and management techniques, generate support and acceptance of these techniques, and assist in fundraising efforts.