Since the early 2000s, the Oneida Nation has restored nearly 3,000 acres of agricultural lands to native wetland, grassland, prairie, and forest, providing important habitat for wildlife and helping to reduce watershed runoff. To evaluate restoration success at three critical sites with respect to bird life, the Oneida Nation partnered with the Northeastern Wisconsin (NEW) Audubon Society, Audubon Great Lakes, and UW-Green Bay to launch a bird monitoring program. The deep, collaborative partnership involves nearly 30 volunteers who conducted ~300 standardized bird surveys, the data from which not only provide general information about the birds that use these sites but also guide preliminary land management decisions (e.g., water level manipulation, prescribed burns) to the restored lands. This partnership also serves as an opportunity for the bird monitors to learn about the Oneida Nation’s rich culture, history, and language, particularly in the context of the natural world.

Tony Kuchma, Oneida Nation, and Erin Giese, UW-Green Bay

Recorded January 14, 2022.

Tony Kuchma is a Project Manager for the Oneida Nation’s Environmental Quality Department and has been involved with restoring, protecting and preserving wetland habitats for the Oneida Nation since 2001.

Erin Giese is the Senior Research Specialist at UW-Green Bay and President of Northeastern Wisconsin Audubon. Over the past decade, she has been involved in research, conservation, education, and monitoring in the Great Lakes region.

A photo of Jessica Jacobson in field waders holding a clipboard and a drone photo of a beautiful stream and wetland in the Red Cliff reservation with ducks swimming.