Wisconsin Wetlands Association (WWA) held its first workshop on wetland restoration for 27 landowners during the weekend of May 4-5, 2001 at Riveredge Nature Center and in restorable sites near the Lake Michigan coast. The workshop was an intensive but enjoyable hands-on training program in techniques of “original” restoration, following the guidelines established in WWA’s Wetland Restoration Handbook for Wisconsin Landowners. (The Handbook has recently received the “Wisconsin Distinguished Document Award for 2000 from the Wisconsin Library Association.) WWA is trying to encourage private citizens and state and federal agencies to undertake restoration to approximate original conditions by removing upland sediments that have eroded into wetland sites, restoring original hydrology with ditch filling and tile-line breakage, and encouraging native plant recovery.
Handbook author, Alice Thompson, a wetland ecologist and educator, was the principal instructor. She was joined by restorationist Jeff Nania, program director for Wisconsin Waterfowl Association. Colleagues from the DNR and US Fish and Wildlife Service collaborated on the organization of the workshop and accompanied the participants to the field sites. The participants helped to assess a site for its restoration potential by discovering all of the impacts to the area and then discussing how to reverse the impacts.
WWA is planning additional restoration workshops for landowners and land managers in the coming months.