Crew Starts Mapping Greatest Threats to Globally Significant Wetlands
Grant funds invasive species removal in Door County Ramsar Wetlands
STURGEON BAY, WI | July 24, 2017
A four-person summer crew is mapping invasive species populations in the Door Peninsula Coastal Wetlands Ramsar site to prioritize the areas under greatest threat from Japanese knotweed, European marsh thistle, Phragmites, reed canary grass, glossy buckthorn and narrow-leaved cattail, all of which are known to be a threat to the health of these wetlands and the native plants and animals that depend on them.
The Nature Conservancy was awarded a $186,200 grant from the Sustain Our Great Lakes program to hire the seasonal crew for two years to control invasive species and restore and enhance coastal wetlands within the Door Peninsula Coastal Wetlands Ramsar Site, a 11,443-acre wetland complex in northern Door County designated as a Wetland of International Importance by the Ramsar Convention in 2015.
The grant is being matched with additional funding from the Conservancy and The Ridges Sanctuary, as well as volunteer hours donated to the project, to bring the total funding for the project to more than $413,600.
The crew will also map populations of any new invasive species they find and give native plants a boost by controlling these invaders.
“We’re very excited about the work this crew is doing,” said Kari Hagenow, Nature Conservancy land steward and coordinator of the Door County Invasive Species Team, “because it will allow us to make real progress in removing some of the worst populations of 6 non-native species that are invading the coastal wetlands in our Ramsar Wetlands area. It also gives us the flexibility to move quickly when we find a new invasive that requires immediate attention.”
“Many previous efforts to control invasive species on the Peninsula have taken place at small scales and have been opportunistic as staff or volunteer time allowed,” said Hagenow, “having a designated crew working across the Ramsar Wetlands Area, and across the multiple property ownerships within it, is taking a huge step toward reclaiming ground that we’ve lost to invasive species within these wetlands.”
Mink River Estuary, Three Springs, Mud Lake,North Bay, The Ridges, Toft Point, Spike Horn Bay and Cana Island natural areas are all part of the Ramsar Wetlands site and where the work will take place. The lands are owned by Door County, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay, The Nature Conservancy, Door County Land Trust, The Ridges Sanctuary and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Private landowners in Door County interested in learning how to identify and control invasive species on their land can contact the Door County Invasive Species Team hotline at 920-746-5955 for more information.
“Invasive species pose a huge threat to wetlands throughout Wisconsin, but particularly in globally-important wetlands like those in Door County,” said Katie Beilfuss, outreach programs director with the Wisconsin Wetlands Association. “Work done by The Nature Conservancy and other community partners to combat invasive species is critical to keeping these wetlands healthy not only for the rare species that live there but also for the many benefits these wetlands provide to the communities of Door County.”
The Sustain Our Great Lakes grant program is a public–private partnership that supports habitat restoration in the Great Lakes basin. Administered by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation, a significant portion of program funding is provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), a federal program designed to protect, restore and enhance the Great Lakes ecosystem.
“Sustain Our Great Lakes and GLRI have been critical partners in protecting the wetlands of Door County,” said Nicole Van Helden, who directs The Nature Conservancy’s work in northeast Wisconsin. “If we take care of these wetlands, people will be able to enjoy the showy lady’s slipper orchid, the rare Hine’s emerald dragonfly or osprey for generations to come. We will also ensure that wetlands continue to provide people with the benefits of clean water, flood control, ground water replenishment and more.”
The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 72 countries, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.