​​Thompson & Associates Wetland Services

1514 Menomonee Ave, South Milwaukee, WI 53172

Phone: 414.571.8383

What is Restoration?

Wisconsin lost 50% of its original wetlands in the last 150 years of settlement. There are many agricultural fields which were former wetlands that were drained to create farmland. Draining was so pervasive that it is rare to find a wetland in southeast Wisconsin that has not had some alteration of its original hydrology though ditching, diversions, berms, drain tiles and other more subtle land alterations.

Another pervasive impact to wetlands is the erosion of upland soils and the deposition of these soils onto wetlands, because they are at the low point of the landscape. In the agricultural regions of Wisconsin it is common to find one foot or more of upland soil washed down onto wetlands, creating a change in hydrology, loading the wetland with nutrients, and increasing the elevation. This deposition of sediment usually leads to a change in the wetland plant community to more exotic invasive plants and even to upland plants.

Wetlands can be restored on farmland and pastureland that was formally wetland. Because the wetland soils persist, bringing the hydrology back on the land and re-wetting the soils may involve filling ditches, removing drain tiles, or removing sediment. In addition, many sites are controlled for invasive species, and planted with native seed. Upland un-mowed buffers are often created to protect the newly restored wetland from further degradation.

The Pike River Restoration Project is a multi-year restoration of over 5 miles of the Pike River in Mt. Pleasant, Wisconsin. Thompson and Associates participated in all phases of design, construction oversight, planting and management. The paths winding through the restored river corridor provide passive recreation while the wetland and prairie restoration in the newly constructed river floodplain filter the water, buffer floods, and provide wildlife and fish habitat.

More information:
Thompson co-authored with Charlie Luthin the award winning Wetland Restoration Handbook for Wisconsin Landowners, now in  its third printing. Contact WDNR for a copy or WWA