The Edwards Wetland restoration was initiated in the fall of 1999 with USFWS funding support.  This 20-acre basin was part of, as know in the early 1900’s, the “lost bog”— an isolated extension of the historic post-glacial kettle lake that is now Bear Lake. A ditch plug was installed, along with an active water control structure, in the large surface ditch that drained this area into Bear Lake. This was a county-regulated ditch, so an official variance was received to have the portion in the project area vacated.

A dike was also constructed along the lowest elevation of the basin’s edge in order to preclude the impounded water from flowing onto adjacent landowners’ properties.  The water level is currently not managed—but could be if management objectives change or research opportunities arise.

North view into Edwards basin from location of future water control structure. (August 1999)

North view into Edwards basin after ditch dike plug and active water control structure installed. (Nov. 1999)

Dike on western edge of Edwards basin being constructed to maintain future increased water levels on Merry Lea’s property. (Nov. 1999)

Edwards wetland basin filling with water. (May 2000)

Lowland tree species mortality beginning due to soil saturation during first growing season (Sept. 2000)

Restored hydrology resulting in widespread tree mortality (“snags”) in basin. Habitat conditions shifted to favor aquatic species and birds dependent on snags for foraging and nesting. (March 2007)

Edwards wetland view from west side of basin, at Edwards Meadows (March 2007)