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Hoy Program: Cliffside Park Wetland/Upland Habitat Recreation/Restoration Project
October 5, 2023 @ 7:00 PM - 8:30 PM
“Filling the Void by Digging New Wetlands”
Guest speaker: Dave Giordano, Executive Director, Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network
With less than 10% of wetlands in the Wind Point watershed remaining, “potentially restorable wetlands” within Cliffside Park are one of the last areas available of hope for sustaining coastal endangered species in Racine County. Currently, Cliffside Park has no remnant, open water wetlands due to drain tiles installed for farming practices beginning in the mid 1800’s. Migratory birds rely on these open water wetland “stopovers” for food, rest, and mating. Without their basic needs at these stopovers, imperiled birds and waterfowl are further stressed and strained, which perpetuates their decline. To fill this habitat void, an area is being excavated to create open water wetlands for diverse native vegetation – the ideal habitat for waterfowl, pollinators, and amphibians. The Cliffside Park wetland and upland restoration project addresses the need to restore five acres of “highly critical” wetlands, known as “#ID22” in the EPA/DNR-approved Nine-Key Element Wind Point Watershed Restoration Plan (2017). With support from Racine County and funded by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and managed by Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network, this project is one of many planned to optimize the natural diversity of the park. Dave Giordano, Executive Director at Root-Pike Watershed Initiative Network, will discuss the history of the project, current restoration activities, and future improvements at Cliffside Park.
Image caption: Wetland recreation in progress at Cliffside Park. Image courtesy of Racine County’s Conservation Department