Bismark Meadows Restoration Project

Ducks Unlimited assisted the Natural Resources Conservation Service and several private landowners with the restoration  of Bismark Meadows in the northern panhandle of Idaho.  Slightly more than 1,000 acres of privately owned land have been enrolled in permanent conservation easements under the federal Wetlands Reseve Program, and in 2004, they were restored.

 

Bismark Meadows is located near Priest Lake, Idaho.

Bismark Meadows is a unique mosaic of "fen" type wetlands along the low-gradient Reeder Creek that meanders through the meadow.  Fen wetlands are dominated by sedges, pockets of sphagnum moss and peat and scattered pataches of woody plants such as aspen, alder,  birch, bog cranberry and willow.  The meadow was drained several decades ago to improve forage and hay production for livestock, but it still retains a rich diversity of plant life, including seven species of rare plants.  To restore the meadow, DU installed several hundred feet of earthen ditch plugs and placed them in Reeder Creek to help raise the water table in the meadow. 

The completed project.

Prior to the project's construction, botanists conducted an extensive survey to locate rare plant communities that were off-limits to equipment used to restore wetland characteristics of the meadow.  In addition to providing a home for numerous species of waterbirds and songbirds, the meadow provides critical habitat for moose and grizzzly bears, as well as for native cutthroat trout.  Habitat for all of these species will improve once native wetland plants recolonize the meadow in response to the meadow's restored hydrologic conditions.