ducks unlimited, illinois

Climate Change Challenge: less water, worse droughts

Grant Award: $250,000; Year Awarded: 2015

This project will facilitate transitions of wetland conditions that alternate between severe flooding and prolonged dry periods by implementing science-based adaptation strategies to increase bottomland hardwood forest resilience to predicted changes in regional climate regimes. It is projected that flooding will be more severe, and that ideal conditions for floodplain forests will be higher in elevation than they are currently. New stands of bottomland hardwoods will be planted on higher elevation lands that are subject to less frequent flooding. Low lying areas within existing stands of bottomland hardwoods will be converted to vernal pools/shallow herbaceous wetlands in order to continue to provide ecological functions as alternative food sources for waterfowl and other wetland wildlife whose populations and/or occurrences are projected to increase or remain stable under future climate conditions. The water management capabilities of bottomland hardwood stands will be upgraded via water management structures to allow them to better drain after flood events and store water in interior wetlands to offset the impacts of projected winter and fall drought.