The State Lands Restoration and Enhancement category provides funding to two state agencies to help repair damaged plant and animal habitat. These grants focus on resource preservation and protection of public lands. Projects in this category help bring important natural areas and resources back to their original functions by improving the self sustaining and ecological functionality of sites.
This project, as originally proposed, was not funded. DNR made progress on the project using other funding; RCO funding subsequently became available, and the proposal was revised to complete all original elements, and to include additional work. Primary elements noted in the original project description included: 1) removal of 300 feet of tidal dike which has disrupted salt marsh habitat; 2) removal of fill behind the existing dike to allow for tidal inundation and the restoration of salt marsh habitat including several channels that provided critical habitat for migrating salmonids as well as marine birds and waterfowl. Additional original elements included: filling of irrigation ditches to restore ground water flow to freshwater ponds and wetlands; removal of two culverts; and Riparian Protection, wetland, and upland re-vegetation. The original project as originally proposed covered 28 acres within Secret Harbor. Availability of funding for the grant provided an opportunity to complete the project, and to enhance it in ways to better ensure long term success. As revised, the project included completion of all original work types, and expanded the scope of work to include additional work types both on the original project area footprint, and into an expanded project area footprint of 45 acres. The primary focus on new work types and the expanded project area was additional planting, including follow-up care, and plant removal/control targeted at invasive species. These activities enhanced re-establishment of native species in and around the areas where construction activities re-established salt marsh, wetland, and estuarine function, and helped to control invasive species, which was a primary goal of the restoration effort. As a result of lower than expected labor costs, DNR requested, and RCO approved a time extension beyond the original December 31, 2016 expiration date. The grant was extended to March 31, 2018, to allow work to continue in work types that helped enhance the project overall, and helped to ensure its long term success. The extension allowed for 15 months of additional time to maintain plantings to help ensure their survival, and to continue invasive species control. The additional time and remaining funding also allowed for additional planting not originally planned, within the existing project area.