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Wetland Symposium

The Chase Lake Prairie Project - Four Years of Wetland Restoration, Creation, and Enhancement


STEVEN J. KRESL AND THOMAS M. PABIAN

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Chase Lake Prairie Project and Wetland Management District, Route 1, Box 144, Woodworth, ND 58496

The Chase Lake Prairie Project (CLPP), is a National Flagship Project of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan (NAWMP). The project covers 5.5 million acres (2.2 million ha) of Missouri Coteau of 11 counties in south-central North Dakota. The Missouri Coteau is a scenic area of sharply rolling hills dotted with thousands of various-sized wetlands (up 38.6/km2 in many areas) formed by the last continental glacier about 10,000 years ago.

The abundance and diversity of wetlands and associated uplands makes the Coteau the most productive waterfowl breeding area in the lower 48 states. It is also a key migration area, providing food and rest areas for birds heading south for the winter and those migrating to breeding grounds farther north each spring. Avian productivity of the Coteau has been severely limited in recent years due in part to the loss and degradation of much of its wetland habitat. Action items in the CLPP Plan of Action are aimed at reaching project goals concerned with wetland restoration, creation, and enhancement and improving associated upland habitat.

Since September 1989, when the project was dedicated, through September 1992, 915 wetland basins have been restored on Conservation Reserve Program (CRP) acres on private land. These restored wetland basins cover 1,647 surface acres (667 ha). The average cost per wetland acre restored in CRP was $130.00. A total of 40 wetland basins have been restored on non-CRP private lands and cover 112 surface acres (45 ha). The average cost per wetland acre restored on non-CRP land was $138.00. In addition, 62 wetlands have been created covering 207 surface acres (84 ha) at a cost of $308.00 per wetland acre created. Finally, 132 wetland basins covering 3,451 acres (1,397 ha) have been enhanced through cattail control projects, at a cost of $18.00 per enhanced acre.

The Joint Venture concept of the NAWMP has met the ground at the CLPP. The hundreds of "wildlife projects" implemented to date have involved unprecedented partnerships among private landowners, wildlife clubs, private conservation organizations, wildlife agencies, and others. Working together and forming partnerships has provided the funding and manpower to complete many beneficial wildlife practices that could not have been accomplished by any one entity.


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