in the winter. October is generally the driest month, and August the wettest. Soils are frozen 2- to 3-ft. for 4 to 5 months of the year.

Restoration Programs

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service is actively pursuing the restoration of wetlands on private, agricultural lands in both counties. The work is being done under a program developed by the service's Region 3. The program, called Stewardship 2000, was started in 1987 (U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, 1990).

Twelve restoration projects were visited in Meeker County and six in Rice County. Except for their means of financing, the projects are all very similar. Following is a list of general topics covered in the initial planning work:

  1. Land use

  2. Location

  3. Ownership

  4. Easements, rights of way, and reservations

  5. Wildlife use

  6. Soils and topography

  7. General habitat description

  8. History of land use under private ownership (including uplands, wetlands, buildings, and so on)

  9. Surrounding land use within 3 miles of the project (including private land, state land, federal waterfowl protection areas, and federal wetland easements)

  10. Objectives

  11. Past waterfowl protection activities

Financing played a significant role in defining the scope of the restoration activities. For example, the 160-acre Christenson project (named after the landowner) was financed with money from Ducks Unlimited as well as from the Conservation Reserve Program. Restoration of waterfowl habitat was the principal objective. Money from the Conservation Reserve Program was used to create a wildlife habitat buffer around the restoration area. On the other hand, money from the Luthens project was financed with money from Reinvest in Minnesota, a state program for habitat restoration. In this case, no buffer surrounds the restored pothole project.

In both cases, the restoration consisted of very simple changes to the drainage system. On the Christenson property, agricultural drainage structures in and around 10 farmed potholes were removed, blocked,



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