Superior Coastal Plain Boreal Forest Restoration

Native Vegetation and Habitat Restoration Site

The client hired Cardno to design and implement a mitigation restoration plan for 120 acres of forested wetland in the Superior Coastal Plain in northwestern Wisconsin.

The purpose of the project was to mitigate for 118 acres of temporary and permanent wetland impacts from a transmission line project. The restoration project’s intent was to set in place a vegetation succession strategy that, within 10 years, would result in a boreal forest tree species populating the site.

In the project’s initial investigation phase, Cardno identified existing wetlands and plant communities, including rare plant species. Cardno completed full botanical inventories for the site's upland forest, sedge meadow, and shrub-scrub community types. As a result, Cardno initiated a three-fold restoration plan that included removing aggressive woody species, planting boreal forest tree species, and conducting ongoing monitoring to assess the plan’s success.

Initial restoration activities occurred over the first four years of the project, with management approaches implemented to ensure performance standards were met. Performance standards included meeting tree survival rates and invasive species cover goals, a dominance of hydrophytic vegetative species, and an increase in conifer species. Ongoing maintenance and monitoring activities continued through year 10 (2017), including the inventory and protection of state-listed plant species on the site. One plant species previously thought extirpated in the state was found on site during monitoring.

This project site was one of the first boreal forest mitigation sites released by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after 10 years of maintenance and monitoring.