Prairie Habitat Revival Project

Final Project Report: Prairie Habitat Revival Project, 2012-2013

Goals and Objectives

This project will directly contribute to the restoration of approximately 160 acres of wetland and surrounding upland habitat. This reclaimed
habitat will provide a substantial increase in ecosystem benefits, including those that will accrue to waterfowl populations of North America.
Approximately 10 acres of habitat will be enhanced through the installation of nesting tunnels to increase waterfowl nest success rates. A
further 320 acres of habitat will be secured using conservation easements and used as a reference set of habitat (i.e. control) upon which
to compare the success of the habitat restoration. This project will serve to demonstrate field-scale habitat restoration and enhancement to
land managers, thereby further encouraging other long-term habitat protection and restoration.

The goals of this project are:

1) Create a biologically diverse natural habitat

2) Establish a demonstration mitigation bank
 

Activities

2013: Reclaim native mixed-grass prairie by preparing the seedbed, planting native grassland seeds and manage seeded upland. Restore
previously drained wetlands by surveying the parcel’s topography, creating a 3D surface map of the parcel, defining extent of on- and off-
field drains, and building small dams to retain water. Document the restoration process. Analyze habitat types and function, assign a monetary
value of the ecological services (i.e. recreation).  And define the habitat off-sets created by the project by conducting biological surveys and
defining net gain in habitat.

Benefits to Waterfowl, Wetlands-Associated Species, and/or Other Wildlife

The habitat protected through this project will be located in a high priority NAWMP Target Landscape with breeding pair usage greater than 40
pairs per square mile. Breeding pair densities will be enhanced through wetland restoration and nesting success will be enhanced by new
waterfowl nesting cover and the installation of nesting structures. This project will also support a wide variety of plant and animal species by
providing natural habitat conditions in a landscape that has undergone widespread and continued land cover change. Within this variety of species,
game bird families such as Rallidae, Gruidae, Charadriidae, and Scolopacidae will experience improved habitat conditions.

Relevance to Habitat Planning, Decision Making and/or Management

This project will directly provide wetland conservation through the restoration and enhancement of approximately 60 acres of wetlands within areas
defined by the Manitoba’s North American Waterfowl Management Plan implementation document as waterfowl production area hot-spots
(i.e. Target Landscapes). In addition, the surrounding upland habitat will be restored to native permanent cover (approximately 100 acres). This
upland habitat will serve to further enhance the wetlands and provide ancillary habitat for waterfowl and wetland associated birds. The restored
wetlands on the project parcel will be protected in perpetuity. In addition to this area, MHHC will secure an additional 320 acres of existing wetland
and upland habitat. Through this habitat protection, the accrual of benefits, both ecological and social, will continue for generations.

Some of the benefits that will accrue to society include improved water quality, enhanced control of water quantity including the reduction of flood
peaks and the increase of groundwater recharge, a net consumption of greenhouse gases, and increased resilience to changes in climate. Perhaps
most important, Prairie Habitat Revival will demonstrate to land use planners and managers that the cumulative loss of habitat can begin to be
compensated for through the strategic reclamation of habitat on the landscape. By proving the concept of field-scale restorations and being able to
quantitatively demonstrate habitat improvements, the project will encourage future restorations designed to off-set impacts from developments such
as oil and gas extraction.

Project Location

This project will be located within highly productive waterfowl habitats within the Upper Assiniboine River, West Souris or Whitemud conservation
districts, Manitoba.

Project Contact

For more information on this project, please contact Tim Sopuck, Chief Executive Officer, Manitoba Habitat Heritage Corporation, Winnipeg,
Manitoba.