An innovative hydrologic restoration design helps manage groundwater levels
To prepare and compensate for future transportation wetland impacts including the I-39 Highway Expansion, the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (WisDOT) purchased 200 acres of land with previously drained wetlands. Their plan? A wetland mitigation bank. WisDOT reached out to Stantec to collect data, design the wetland restoration, and assist with state and federal permitting requirements.
After baseline assessments, we confirmed that the site would serve as a successful wetland mitigation bank if we could manipulate the extensive network of tiles draining the soil for prior agricultural use. We also confirmed that the wetland and prairie restoration efforts could provide water quality and habitat benefits to the surrounding urban watershed. To minimize soil disturbance—typically associated with complete drain tile removal—our team incorporated an innovative valve system along the tile lines. This system allowed the team to manipulate groundwater levels to restore the site’s wetland hydrology. Following hydrologic restoration, Stantec’s ecosystem restoration crew installed seed mixes over 185 acres of the site to restore native wetland and prairie plant communities.
This project is ongoing, and we’re providing services including invasive species control, management mowing, prescribed burning, and performance monitoring to meet regulatory requirements. We’re working with WisDOT every step of the way to support their highway system goals while also improving water quality, managing stormwater, providing native plant and wildlife habitats, and creating an aesthetically pleasing natural area.
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