Wetlands restoration and management
It is possible to restore wetlands that have been drained or filled in the past, as well as to improve the health of existing wetlands. The DNR and other agencies and organizations can provide technical and financial assistance.
Restoring wetlands through vegetative or hydrologic improvements to formerly impacted or drained wetlands is a common practice in Wisconsin. There are multiple programs that fund a range of wetland restoration efforts, including the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s North America Wetlands Conservation Act, Natural Resources Conservation Service Wetlands Reserve Program and the DNR Wisconsin Wetlands Conservation Trust. Some restoration projects may require permits. Further information about wetland ecology and science is encouraged to effectively restore wetland communities.
Wetland restoration can be a great tool to increase your wetlands’ functional values from increasing wildlife habitat to improving local water quality. Landowners can take any level of steps to restore a wetland, including controlling wetland invasive species to conducting a large-scale hydrologic and vegetative restoration.
Global climate change complicates restoration targets and methods. To better understand how wetland restorations can be modified to account for Wisconsin-specific climate predictions, visit the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI) website or review the Climate Adaptation Strategies and Approaches for Conservation and Management of Non-Forested Wetlands Menu.
The DNR teamed up with The Nature Conservancy to create an online decision support tool to identify the best sites to restore and protect wetlands – and the most promising watersheds to work in. This tool and supporting documents can be found by visiting the Wetlands By Design webpage.
Wetland Restoration Handbook for Wisconsin Landowners
This handbook lists the steps necessary to get started on restoring wetlands, starting with how to assess if restoration makes sense for the land. Planning and executing the project, understanding the environmental regulations and the people and programs that can help are all covered.
Wetland Invasive Species
Wetland communities in Wisconsin have seen invasion from non-native species for decades. To learn more about wetland invasive species identification, invasive species management tactics or Wisconsin’s regulated and non-regulated plants and animals, you can visit the Wetland Invasive Species pages. The invasive species team has information about invasive species protocols, permits and best management practices (BMPs) to guide monitoring and management efforts. The public is encouraged to report new or spreading invasive species.
To learn more about some of Wisconsin’s most common wetland invasive species, visit the following webpages:
- Common Wetland Invasive Plants of Wisconsin
- Common Reed (Phragmites australis)
- Reed Canary Grass (Phalaris arundinacea)
- Narrow-leaf Cattail and Hybrid Cattail (Typha angustifolia & T. x glauca)
- Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)
A list of organizations that provide financial or technical help to restore, enhance and manage wetlands.
- Ducks Unlimited
- Natural Resources Conservation Service, Wetlands Reserve
- North American Wetlands Conservation Act Grants Program
- U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Conservation Reserve Program
- Wisconsin Waterfowl Association
- Wisconsin Wetlands Association
- WDNR/UWEX Purple Loosestrife Biocontrol Program