Fifteen wetlands have been restored on campus starting in 1992. They range in size from small ephemoral (temporary) ponds up to 9 acres of surface water. They were constructed through the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Wetland Restoration program. These wetland sites, drained years ago for agriculture, were identified by surveying and from topographic maps. Dikes were constructed and field drain tiles were destroyed if present. These wetlands now have many nesting waterfowl as well as chorusing populations of amphibians. All wetlands are surrounded by the other natural areas (prairie and woodlands) to buffer them from agriculture and development runoff. The wetlands are part of the Cannon River watershed and help with seasonal flood control, soil stability and ground water recharge as well as provide valuable wildlife habitat.
Drought is to a wetland as fire is to a prairie. Drought, although seemingly detrimental to wet areas, can stimulate new emergent plant growth because it allows them to get started in wet soil rather than trying to start under water. These drought cycles can also stimulate new invertebrate life cycles that are a very beneficial part of the food chain to waterfowl, amphibians, and other forms of aquatic life.
The pictures below show the large wetland near Skoglund. On the top, the wetland weir was removed to drain the water in the late summer, 2001 . The weir was replaced late that fall so the wetland filled in spring of 2002. The middle and bottom pictures show waterfowl coming to the wetland as it refilled.