Native Habitat Restoration Services Projects

    Project: Wet Prairie & Rain Garden Establishment
    Location: Brown County, Wisconsin
    Completed: 2009 
    Due to today’s interest in “low-maintenance” landscaping, native plantings have become a popular alternative for municipalities, recreational areas and individual landowners. Once established, native plants require no irrigation or fertilization and are more resistant to diseases and pests than horticultural varieties. Native plantings have a number of other advantages when compared to traditional landscaping. They save energy, reduce runoff, enrich soil, suppress exotic species, add biodiversity, as well as provide food and habitat for wildlife.For these reasons the Village of Howard contacted NES to design a planting plan for the Gordon Nauman Conservation Area in Brown County, Wisconsin. NES worked with agencies, including the Howard Parks, Recreation and Forestry Department, the Army Corps of Engineers and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to evaluate the goals for the area and comply with local regulations. NES assessed the site and developed a native planting plan that suited conditions within the area. NES restoration ecologists began implementation of a wet prairie native planting in the fall of 2006. Site preparation included herbicide applications and tilling. The rain garden construction and planting was conducted in the summer of 2007. NES will also provide monitoring and maintenance services until the native planting is established.

    Project: Stormwater Basin & Prairie Management
    Location: Dane County, Wisconsin
    Completed: Ongoing 

    University Research Park is an internationally recognized research and technology park located in Madison WI and established in 1984. At the time of establishment, some very progressive engineering techniques were employed to deal with site stormwater management for the facility. Large basins, planted with native prairie and wetland species, were constructed to collect runoff from the newly constructed buildings and hard surfaces. At the time, the regulations for stormwater management, infiltration, and sediment and nutrient loading from runoff weren’t the same or as stringent as they are today. As a result, and through expansion over the years, URP now has over 12 actively managed stormwater and prairie units in the park, encompassing approximately 25 acres. NES is the acting native landscape management contractor at the park.

    • NES conducts prescribed burns in 2-3 year cycles for all of the management units.
    • Open prairie green spaces are actively managed for invasive and woody species control.
    • Brushing is conducted in various basins in the park when Willows or other woody brush begins to encroach.
    • Prairie areas are restored through site prep and seeding, if necessary, when new construction or other man-made disturbance occurs.

    URP is in an urbanized area with roadways throughout, preschools, and tenant buildings with sensitive HVAC systems. Posting of road signage at key access points in the park is critical during burning times as well. For these reasons, NES is very proactive with residents, tenants, and municipal officials in communicating the tasks that are ongoing and the reason for them.

    Project: English Lake Management and Protection Plan
    Location: Manitowoc County, Wisconsin
    Completed: Current

    In 1996, NES began working with the English Lake Protection and Rehabilitation District to develop a Lake Management and Protection Plan for English Lake. Through water quality data monitoring conducted by NES, it was determined that the lake is phosphorus limited.

    Phosphorus loading analyses based on land use type were conducted to identify potential loading sources. After identification of phosphorus loading sources, steps were taken to develop alternative control measures.

    Alternatives for control include:

    • Wetland restoration
    • Rerouting and relocation of agricultural drain tiles
    • Development of detention basins, cattle relocation and buffer strip installation.

    The management alternatives were prioritized based on feasibility and cost-benefit analyses. NES has worked with the WDNR and NRCS to relocate cattle identified as the highest contributor to the annual phosphorus load to a location outside of the lake’s watershed. NES has also designed a wetland detention basin to treat agricultural runoff and tile discharge. The wetland detention basin was constructed in 1998-99.

    In 2007, the second priority alternative, installation of the approximately 10-acre northern buffer strip, was begun and a grant through the WDNR was applied for and received. The project will result in the protection of surface and ground water quality by removing nutrients, sediments, and animal-derived organic matter and other pollutants from surface water runoff, subsurface flow and near root zone ground water. This will be accomplished through natural processes provided by the vegetated buffer strip, such as deposition, absorption, adsorption, plant uptake and de-nitrification.

    The northern buffer strip establishment is designed to intercept surface water run-off from surrounding agricultural lands, increase the water quality of the lake, beautify the community, increase habitat for wildlife, and reduce long term maintenance costs.

    Two proposed lake protection activities that will take place within the northern buffer zone consist of:

    1. Berm an existing ditch that is draining a historical forested wetland
    2. Vegetate all areas currently under agricultural land practices with native plants

    Project: Living Snow Fence Planting – WI DOT R.O.W.
    Location: Monroe County, Wisconsin
    Completed: 2010

    NES’s erosion control and site restoration work in the utility sector led to this project.

    As a large Midwestern utility needed to upgrade their services in this region, NES was contracted to replace approximately one linear mile of existing living shrubs that needed to be removed during construction. Over 4,000 bare-root native shrubs were installed in the WI DOT right-of-way to act as a living snow fence protection for Interstate 94.

    NES assigned one of its ecologists as project manager early on in the process to maintain continuity throughout the project.

    1. Timing and coordination of operations were critical for this project.
    2. The plant and associated materials needed to be secured in advance.
    3. Equipment and crews needed to be mobilized
    4. On-site communication with all those involved in the project was necessary.
    5. Site-specific mapping were required to indicate locations of environmentally sensitive areas (e.g. wetlands) and site-specific training.
    6. Safety protocols were reviewed and in place throughout the course of the project.
    7. The NES team consistently communicated with impacted landowners to ensure they understood what and why operations were taking place.

    The project was completed in the summer of 2010 with great success. Ongoing maintenance is occurring to ensure maximum shrub survival. Maintenance includes watering, rodent protections, and weed control of species that can hinder shrub growth and spread. The project resulted in survivability goals being met, along with client and landowner satisfaction.

    Project: NWTC Stream Restoration
    Location: Outagamie County, WI
    Completed: 2009

    NES restoration specialists are in the process of restoring approximately 500 feet of eroded stream bank on an unnamed tributary to Duck Creek in Green Bay, Wisconsin. NES is working closely with Northeastern Wisconsin Technical College and the Green Bay Botanical Garden, while designing the restoration to address concerns and evaluate problem areas on the property. The project implementation, which began in the fall of 2006, involves slope stabilization, bioengineering and a planting of native trees, shrubs and wetland plants.

    NES, in conjunction with engineers of Robert E. Lee and Associates, assessed the site and developed bioengineering strategies. A combination of coconut coir log, Bio Sox, and cobble stone installation were used to secure the stream banks.

    The native riparian buffer is designed to prevent erosion of fine sediments into the stream and suppress exotic species that once dominated the area. The seed mix used within this area includes a number of grass, sedge and wild flower species that will provide an aesthetically pleasing area and stabilize the improved slopes. NES will continue to monitor the progress of the stream restoration project and maintain the native plantings until they become well established

    Project: Red Arrow Park – Beach Erosion Control
    Location: City of Manitowoc, WI
    Completed: 2010

    The Red Arrow Beach Erosion Control Project consists of 400 feet of shoreline that has been highly degraded by wind-blown sand loss. This beach is part of a large complex of Great Lakes beach communities that occur along the interface of water and land on Lake Superior and Lake Michigan. These communities are characterized by their dynamic features influenced by changing water levels and storm events; they are also often associated with sparsely vegetated semi-stabilized dune systems.

    NES identified potential threats to Red Arrow Beach including:

    • Off-road vehicle use
    • Pedestrian recreational overuse
    • Removal of native vegetation and woody debris
    • Use of herbicides in adjacent areas
    • Introduction of invasive species
    • Stormwater runoff

    NES professionals have worked closely with the City of Manitowoc to develop solutions to many of these issues and formulate an Erosion Control Management Plan for Red Arrow Park Beach.

    The plan was designed to decrease wind-blown sand loss, beautify the community, increase habitat for wildlife and reduce long term maintenance costs. The project in its final stages will result in the protection and stabilization of the beach through the creation of sand dunes and restoration of native dune vegetation. Native plantings will also provide food, water, shelter and nesting habitat for a diversity of wildlife species.

    Project: Golf Course Stormwater Facility
    Location: Brown County, WI
    Completed: 2010

    NES Ecological Services, A Division of Robert E. Lee & Associates, Inc., assembled a planting plan to naturally vegetate a newly constructed stormwater basin at a golf course located in Brown County, Wisconsin. The planting plan was designed to increase stormwater management capabilities, beautify the community, increase habitat for wildlife, and reduce long-term maintenance costs.

    The planting plan consists of three major areas:

    1. The aquatic live planting zones, those areas containing standing water.
    2. The wet meadow zone, located on the basin’s slope just within and above the waterline.
    3. The upland zone, which extends from the basin’s slopes to the extents of the project area.

    Each zone contains a specific list of species that were carefully selected based upon their suitability to the anticipated hydrologic, soil, and light conditions that will be created once the basin is constructed.

    The planting will need limited maintenance once it is fully established. However, careful maintenance during the first three to four years of growth is the key to a successful native planting. Mowing, spot treatment using herbicide, and hand cutting of invasive weeds will be necessary during this time period. By year four and beyond, native plants should be successfully established and require limited attention.

    NES will inspect and monitor the planting so that the suggested maintenance activities can be conducted to ensure optimum success of the site.

    Project: Cloverleaf Lakes Shoreland Restoration
    Location: Shawano County, Wisconsin
    Completed: Current

    NES prepared two Lake Planning Grants subsequently awarded to the Cloverleaf Lakes Protective Association (CLPA) by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR).

    The ultimate goal of these grants was the production of two publications that:

    1. Educate the residents around the Cloverleaf Lakes about the important interactions that occur between a lake and its shoreline.
    2. Provide shoreland restoration options to those individuals that want to undertake their own project.
    3. Supply descriptions and photographs of shoreland restoration projects implemented around the lake system.

    As part of the grants, a number of demonstration projects were undertaken to provide examples to Cloverleaf Lakes residents of successful shoreland restorations. NES designed shoreland restoration plans including native vegetation species lists for each project. NES also assisted many of the landowners with installation of the demonstration projects. NES will continue to assist the CLPA, its members and Shawano County residents with designing and implementing shoreland restorations.

    In addition to designing shoreland restorations, NES also conducted a shoreland vegetation survey of the Cloverleaf Lakes chain. Vegetation along the shoreline was inventoried and invasive species and emergent communities were mapped. Soil samples were taken in natural areas and Secchi Disk water depths were taken in emergent communities.