Waterworks: Lessons Learned from Restoration at Multiple Scales, Ives Road Fen, Michigan, U.S.A.

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Christopher A. May

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The Nature Conservancy’s (TNC) Ives Road Fen Preserve in Michigan, U.S.A., was discovered in 1979. Past efforts to farm the land resulted in water being drained from the site and allowed invasive species (glossy buckthorn) to thrive, leaving only 2 ha (5 ac) of fen. Hydrologic restoration and research have been primary components of the long-term goal to restore over 40 hectares (100 acres) of healthy prairie fen. The removal of invasive plants and removal of agricultural drainage systems contributed to early success in re-establishing the water table for native plants. TNC used monitoring wells to document the recovery of the water table following restoration efforts. Recent modeling efforts have identified the source groundwater recharge areas for the fen; both local and regional recharge areas contribute water to the fen, and some water travels many kilometers over decades before reaching the fen. Current challenges include protecting distant, disjunct recharge areas to ensure an adequate fen groundwater supply and responding to impacts from land use changes decades ago that have yet to be expressed in fen groundwater conditions. Successful conservation and restoration of fen hydrology requires knowledge and action at multiple spatial and temporal scales.

Resource Type:
Conference Presentation, SER2021

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