Shiawassee NWR Restoration

Case Name:


United States of America

Restoration Types:

Habitat Enhancement


Affected DOI Resources:

DOI Managed Lands; Migratory Birds





Project Description

Following approval of the Consent Decree, Dow will pay $3.25 million to DOI for the USFWS to restore habitat in the Shiawassee NWR as 3 subprojects: Ferguson Bayou, Moist Soil Unit #9, and Cass River Connectivity. The Restoration Plan and the CD's Appendix J describe the overall SNWR Restoration Project as well as the 3 subprojects. The USFWS will use this funding to restore and enhance multiple units of the Shiawassee NWR, including maintaining and monitoring the restoration as this funding allows. The USFWS will also be able to seek additional funding from the Trustees for long-term stewardship of this project once this $3.25 million in funding is committed. Preliminary plans for the restoration work were used to estimate costs for the work needed to improve hydrologic re-connection and water flow through the NWR units to restore and enhance habitat based on on-going planning and design work that the USFWS, Greenbrier Wetland Services, The Nature Conservancy, and Ducks Unlimited have been conducting over several years using funding from other sources. The preliminary plans include installing water control structures at key locations, reconfiguring dikes between NWR units, and installing additional water gauges to improve understanding of the relationship between river stage/discharge and water levels in the NWR units. In addition to this work, the proposed project will include establishing and maintaining native vegetation, monitoring the success of the project, and performing additional management as indicated by the monitoring results. The NWR units that will be expected to be restored or enhanced with this funding are shown in Figure 10. Major elements of the restoration project are described in the following paragraphs, although details, including the structures to be built, are subject to change during the planning and design in order to best meet the objectives of the project given the constraints of the complicated flow patterns and existing elevations and the possibility of combining this funding with funding from other sources.

Ferguson Bayou Restoration at Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge

A new connection channel and 4 water control structures have restored flow through the Ferguson Bayou area of the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge. This work was completed with funding from a settlement with Dow Chemical for damages to natural resources, building on design work funded by the Great Lakes Water Quality Initiative. Ferguson Bayou is a paleo-channel of the Flint River that had been disconnected from river flows for many decades. This project reconnected the Ferguson Bayou to the Flint River flow via Spaulding Drain and thus increase the hydrologic connection from the Flint River/Spaulding Drain system to thousands of acres of floodplain within the Refuge. This project allows more flow and connectivity for fish and other aquatic organisms through this system. Furthermore, the increased distribution of flow increases nutrient retention in the floodplain marshes and improve water quality for downstream communities.

Restoration Land Ownership

Fish and Wildlife Service

Parties Implementing Restoration


DOI Project Representatives

Fish and Wildlife Service

Ferguson Bayou Phase II, Credit: USFWS

Paleo Channel Completion at Ferguson Bayou, Credit: USFWS

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Map View

Additional Resources

USFWS Tittabwassee River Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge Restoration Projects


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