A big fix in northeast Indiana will keep a beloved wetland productive for future generations of waterfowl and nature lovers. Because of its natural beauty and ecological diversity, the 400-acre Cedar Swamp Wetland Conservation Area in Steuben County is a focal point on the landscape for a variety of outdoor enthusiasts. Whether they carry a camera, a kayak paddle or a shotgun, the marsh is an important recreational outlet.
This wetland basin also helps reduce flooding by temporarily storing water, improving water quality by filtering and collecting sediment from runoff and providing clean drinking water for all of us, all free of charge.
Cedar Swamp provides important habitat for breeding and migrating waterfowl and is home to hundreds of plant and animal species. Several of these species are threatened and endangered, and all benefit from the conservation of wetlands by sportsmen and women.
But the large water-control structure at Cedar Swamp WCA, situated at the head of the county drain, had reached and surpassed its usable lifespan after about 25 years of service. Enhancing and managing nearly 400 acres of wetlands for the next 25 years would require replacing this dilapidated structure before it failed.
Ducks Unlimited surveyed and engineered a new water-control structure to give the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (IDNR) the tools to manage this wetland. Several partners completed the installation in summer 2020, including the IDNR, Steuben County Surveyor’s Office, and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service – Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program.
Funding was provided through a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant, DU and partner funds.
“This enhancement is really the latest step in DU’s commitment to this area,” said Dane Cramer, Ducks Unlimited regional biologist in Indiana. “Back in 1989 we contributed $130,000 toward the acquisition of the site, which had been drained for pastureland. We have history at Cedar Swamp, and we’re happy to see the future of the wetland will remain viable for another 25 years.”