Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Grand River Marsh Wildlife Area Marsh Experiencing a Partial Drawdown

Target: One foot below normal summer level this year will help wildlife.

BERLIN – The Department of Natural Resources will be lowering the water level of the Grand River Marsh Wildlife area in Green Lake for most of this summer as part of routine wildlife and wetland system management activities. This technique is commonly used by wetland managers to rejuvenate the ecological health and quality of the marsh. This year, the water level in the main impoundment at the Grand River Marsh Wildlife Area in Green Lake and Marquette Counties will be lowered about 1 foot below the normal summer level this year.

“The partial drawdown, or drying out, has several benefits that will provide long term habitat improvements to the marsh that many different species of wetland related wildlife will enjoy and utilize,” said Jim Holzwart, DNR Wildlife Biologist.

The lower water levels provide important habitat conditions that allow different species of plants to grow and re-colonize areas of the marsh that higher water has eliminated. Many of these plants provide critical food and cover for resident and migratory species of wildlife. In many cases these species depend on the lower water level to expose mud flats for the seeds to germinate and grow, and to prepare for both northward and southward migrations.

Holzwart added that by drawing down this marsh in late spring and early summer will also reduce the amount of shallow marsh that can be used by spawning carp. The spawning and feeding behavior of carp can be extremely detrimental to the health of any water body, and the lower water will prevent a large influx or hatch of young carp into the marsh.

The Grand River Marsh Wildlife area of Green Lake will be slowly re-filled, starting in late summer. With adequate rain fall, the marsh will have normal fall water levels for the waterfowl hunting season.

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