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The Ridges Sanctuary Restoration

Saving a threatened orchid community in Wisconsin

Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin

The Ridges Sanctuary (The Ridges), a 1,050-acre State Natural Area in Door County, Wisconsin, was once known to contain at least 25 species of native orchids. These historically abundant orchid populations have significantly declined in recent decades due to loss of habitat, habitat changes, unauthorized collection, and predation. This project—the first of its kind for Stantec and North America’s leading researchers—is dedicated to reintroducing native terrestrial orchid species to this unique eco-region.

The effort began with a two-year planning and germination period during which hundreds of rare orchid seeds were collected and grown under controlled laboratory conditions. In spring 2015, Stantec botanists led more than 30 volunteers and installed more than 1,100 delicate State-Threatened ram’s-head lady’s-slipper (Cypripedium arietinum) orchid seedlings. This research program has been recognized by the Smithsonian Institution’s Environmental Research Center as a regional leader in orchid conservation efforts.  

Stantec’s relationship with The Ridges has provided opportunities to complete a variety of biological studies, habitat restoration, engineering, stormwater management, permitting and landscape design services associated with a new state-of-the-art Interpretive Center. Partnering with The Ridges staff, Stantec is also administering a scenic byways grant for a 2,500 foot to interpretive boardwalk through this sensitive environment that allows the public to get a close-up view of these species and unique habitats.

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