Collins Marsh being drained

COLLINS, Wis. (WBAY) – Northeastern Wisconsin is facing new records of high water levels.

The Collins Marsh Wildlife Area is Northern Manitowoc County is draining the marsh to help the wildlife thrive.

The 4200 acre Marsh is known as a premiere habitat for waterfowl. Steve Easterly, a DNR Wildlife Biologist is predicting a summer long drawn down of the marsh.

“We try to do it probably every 8-10 years just for the health of the ecosystem,” Easterly states. [We] want to flush out the bad stuff, if we get too much deep water you don’t allow the good vegetation, native aquatic vegetation to flourish.”

The marsh has been open since mid-May, and the water has dropped more than 3 feet so far.

“You can see the mud flats behind us. Pretty soon, couple weeks or so that’s going to really green up. A lot of that good arrowleaf, smartweed, the bidens, rushes are going to come in and that’s going to be great habitat for the waterfowl.”

Easterly hopes for the marsh to be drained by August. He says that’s when repairs are scheduled to be made to the dam that was originally constructed in the early 1960’s.

“And over those decades it’s shown a lot of wear, a lot of deterioration. We’re going to have some concrete repairs done, the dam gates themselves, all that metal is coming out, going to be cleaned up and re-painted.”

The goal is to keep the marsh dry over the winter months which would allow for the DNR crews to conduct prescribed burn. That way by spring the gates will be closed and then the marsh may start re-flooding for the spring migration.