Grant to restore orchids in dunes

The Sheboygan County Planning & Conservation Department was recently awarded a Wisconsin Coastal Management (WCM) Grant in the amount of $31,500.

The WCM grant, funded through the state of Wisconsin Department of Administration, will help restore native orchids at the recently established Amsterdam Dunes Preservation Area in southeastern Sheboygan County.

In addition to the Planning & Conservation Department, partners include Stantec Consulting, the Chicago Botanic Garden, the Smithsonian Institute, and Riveredge Nature Center.

Melissa Curran of Stantec Consulting, the program manager for the project, stated, “Preservation of natural habitats with high orchid diversity is of foremost importance to conservation, but when loss of habitat and ecological function (through changes in hydrology, invasive species, pests and diseases and other disturbance regimes) has decimated native orchid populations; reintroduction or augmentation of native orchids is a useful tool.”

The orchid family is considered the most diverse of all flowering plants, with roughly 22,000-35,000 species worldwide (Flora of North America, 2003) but they are also at the front-line of extinction, with more species under threat globally than any other plant family.

Fran Damp, chairwoman of the Planning, Resources, Agriculture & Extension Committee of the Sheboygan County Board declared, “Amsterdam Dunes Preservation Area is already a special place. Reestablishing a critical species as this will only make the property even more exceptional.”

This is the second WCM grant Sheboygan County has been awarded for the Amsterdam Dunes property. The first, helped treat over 50 acres for various invasive species in 2017.

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