Spring Peeper Meadow The Restoration Process Julia Bohnen and Susan Galatowitsch



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Spring Peeper Meadow The Restoration Process

  • Julia Bohnen and Susan Galatowitsch

  • Minnesota Landscape Arboretum


History of Wetland Drainage in Minnesota

  • More than 75% of wetlands in the Midwest have been drained

  • Most drainage occurred 25-75 years ago

  • In areas of intense agriculture, less than 5% of wetlands remain



Wetland Mitigation

  • Federal and state laws require that losses of existing wetlands must be avoided or mitigated

  • For every 1 acre of lost wetland,

  • 2 acres must be restored

  • Wetland losses primarily occur in urban areas now



Although much wetland restoration is happening, typically…

  • Only hydrology is restored

  • Little management occurs after initial construction

  • Natural colonization is relied upon to

  • re-populate the plant community

  • The full complement of wetland types

  • is not restored



Restored wetlands do not resemble the native wetlands they are replacing.



Even planted wetlands can have low diversity because

  • Planting density is too low

  • There is a lack of aftercare

  • Plants are placed inappropriately



Why Restore or Preserve Wetlands?

  • Maintain hydrologic function

  • Flood control

  • Improve water quality

  • Habitat

  • Preserve our natural heritage

  • Recreation



Spring Peeper Meadow



Spring Peeper Meadow was Funded to Demonstrate Successful Mitigation Practices



Spring Peeper Meadow Landscape Context

  • Located west of Chanhassen in Carver County

  • Community context was a mosaic of Big Woods forest and savanna with prairie openings and depressional wetlands

  • Rolling landscape

  • Historically the area was a shallow wetland surrounded by Big Woods



A 30-acre purchase on the east edge of the Arboretum provided an opportunity to restore a shallow marsh with an extensive sedge meadow zone

  • The name “Spring Peeper Meadow” reflects our aspirations to restore a shallow depressional wetland and the full complement of species that would thrive in such a wetland.



The Restoration Team



Spring Peeper Meadow Restoration Goals



Spring Peeper Meadow – Pre-Restoration

  • The land was acquired in 1995

  • It had been drained and farmed for more than 80 years

  • The basin was a monoculture of reed canary grass and corn grew on the uplands



Planning & Information Gathering



Steps in the Restoration Process



Site Preparation



Seed Collection & Plant Production 1995 and 1996



Experimental Design



Planting the Wetland



Weed Management



Restoration Inputs are Carefully Documented



Ongoing Research At Spring Peeper Meadow



Wetland Community in Transition



Lessons Learned at Spring Peeper Meadow



Upland Management



Invasive Species Management



Prairie and Savanna Restoration



Forest Restoration



Forest Understory Restoration





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