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Monday, January 25 • 1:20pm - 1:40pm
Collaborative Approaches To Coastal Marsh Restoration In The Upper St. Marys River

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AUTHORS: Joseph Lautenbach, Eric Clark, Shane Lishawa, and Nick Reo

ABSTRACT: The Sault Ste. Marie Tribe of Chippewa Indians is located in the Eastern Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Migratory bird hunting is an important subsistence activity for Sault Tribe members, with a large proportion of hunting activity taking place in and around the St. Marys River corridor. The islands, marshes, and shallow water bays of the upper St. Marys River are vital for migratory birds for breeding and stop-over sites in the Great Lakes Region. The coastal wetlands of the upper St. Mary’s have been impacted in a complex manner through water regulation, shipping traffic and invasive species introduction. Sault Tribe is collaborating with universities and colleges to improve migratory bird habitat by restoring native hardstem bulrushes Schoenoplectus acutus and removing invasive hybrid cattails Typha x glauca. In the northern Great Lakes, where native plant seed banks are intact, mechanical removal of invasive cattails promotes recovery of plant communities and effectively controls cattails. In 2015, we initiated an experiment where we removed cattails mechanically from 4 ha of a recently invaded St. Marys River marsh to evaluate the effectiveness of harvesting and bulrush planting to restore native biodiversity and wildlife habitat. In 2016, we plan to plant 15,000 bulrush plugs, plant bulrush seeds, conduct monitoring efforts, and continue mechanical removal of hybrid cattails in important migratory bird habitat. By monitoring bird use of St. Marys River wetlands and determining effective invasive plant control strategies, we can target restoration efforts in areas that are most important to migratory birds. These efforts will continue over the next several years with the goal of enhancing wetland quality and improving migratory bird habitat.

Monday January 25, 2016 1:20pm - 1:40pm EST