The Milford Wetlands Restoration Project provided for an estimated 2,300 acres of wetland habitat suitable for usage by waterfowl and shorebird populations as a migratory stopover and as a production area. In addition it provides additional fur-bearer, game and non-game wildlife species associated with wetland habitat type and restore a high-quality habitat suitable for game and non-game fish spawning and nursery areas.
Opportunities and experiences for all outdoor enthusiasts from hunters and anglers to birders and hikers will be greatly enhanced by this project. The potential for expanded economic impact will exist for the communities surrounding the lake as current and new businesses provide for the needs of anticipated increased visitors. The modification will restore wetlands in a chain of naturally occurring land cells currently dominated by the plant species such as cattails and annual and early succession stages of vegetation. A wetland cell in honor of State Representative Steve Lloyd of Clay Center, a strong supporter of the project who died of cancer in April, 2005, has been designated on the wetland project. The Steve Lloyd Refuge offers a viewing area where many shorebirds and waterfowl can be seen.
This restoration project will change marginal wetlands and poorly drained areas of croplands subject to flooding into dependable and manageable wetlands. Construction of these wetlands will restore fish and wildlife values that have been lost. Providing additional wetlands is important, since historically, wetland areas, as well as their functions and values, have been in decline. Kansas has lost over 50% of its wetlands. The project seizes on an opportunity to provide good quality habitat during periods of peak waterfowl and shorebird migration, increase local production of a wide range of wetland wildlife species, create the third largest wetland area in the State of Kansas, and enhance a wetland complex which is consistent with the goals of the North American Waterfowl Management Plan.
The completed project will increase water management capability within these areas, which allows the development of consistently high quality wetland habitat. Hydrologic control is the major factor in the establishment, enhancement, and long-term management of the wetland ecosystems. Rather than depending upon the variations of existing natural cycles ranging from annual flood to drought conditions, wetland areas having water control structures combined with a supplemental water source will allow for reliable and controlled ponding of water. Consequently, the creation and maintenance of a range of seasonal habitat types will be possible under a comprehensive management plan.
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