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Little Manitowoc River Estuary Restoration

Ecological design to restore a riverbed and floodplain wetlands

  • Manitowoc, Wisconsin

    Manitowoc, Wisconsin

Restoring critical wildlife habitat

Following an extreme storm event, the Little Manitowoc River rose over four and a half feet (1.4 metres) in less than 24 hours. Rising waters degraded and drained what had been a critical estuary important for breeding marsh birds and seasonal migratory birds. Exposed mud quickly filled with invasive species, inhibiting native vegetation from growing back—reducing biological diversity once provided by the wetland.

Continuing successful relationships with the City of Manitowoc and the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership, we completed biological baseline studies, sediment characterization and disposal, and restoration design of this coastal wetland complex. Our ecological design team also restored the river channel’s morphology to re-establish coastal wetland functions and reconnect the riverbed’s natural course. With a minimal land disturbance approach, the design incorporated woody debris structures to stabilize channel banks and increase aquatic habitat.

This project is part of a larger initiative to create the Little Manitowoc River Conservancy, stretching from the shore of Lake Michigan to 1.5 miles (2.4 kilometres) inland, and ultimately connecting three public parks.

At a Glance

  • Lakeshore NRP
Meet Our Team

Aaron Volkening, Senior Associate, Water Resources

I work with communities and organizations large and small to help tap into water’s potential.
Aaron Volkening Senior Associate, Water Resources Read More

Aaron Volkening

Senior Associate, Water Resources

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