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Dayton Wet Prairie Restoration

Dayton Wet Prairie, located on Curran Road in Bertrand Township, is a 40-acre mosaic of wetland communities, primarily wet prairie and scrub/shrub wetland. In 2011, Chikaming Open Lands acquired the property in a transfer from The Nature ConservancyChikaming Open Lands’ management of Dayton Wet Prairie focused on restoring the native wetland plant community through removal of invasive species and restoring the natural hydrology of the wetland.

McCoy Creek meanders through the property as well as several old man-made ditches. With grant funding from the Landowner Incentive Program of the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, Blue Heron Ministries (BHM) was retained to “plug” one of these ditches in an attempt to slow the flow of water from the wetland.

To do this, BHM installed four "plugs" which consist of cedar plank walls placed to block the water flow. These structures, supplemented by dirt piled in between, help reduce the water flow in the ditch, forcing the water to back up and saturate the land.This has resulted in slowing water drainage on the property and re-creating the natural hydrology of the area.

Management of the property is also focused on improving the native plant community through removal of invasive species such as buckthorn and phragmites and using prescribed burns to stimulate growth of the native grasses and wildflowers.

Check out this video of the installation of tongue and groove cedar boards in the ditch to help recreate a wetland habitat!