Tuesday, December 23, 2008

DNR Announces $925,000 Federal Grant for Coastal Wetland Protection in Door County

MADISON -- Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Secretary Matt Frank today announced the agency will receive a $925,000 federal grant from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for the preservation of coastal wetlands on the Northern Door Peninsula as part of the 2009 National Coastal Wetlands Conservation Grant Program. DNR will match the amount through the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program and acquire 448 acres of State Natural Area lands in the Baileys Harbor area of Door County, including the habitat of the largest known breeding population of the federally endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly.

“We are happy to receive these important federal funds which will allow us to better protect an endangered species as well as Door County’s coastal wetlands,” Frank said. “Joint efforts such as this are a huge step forward in making sure we protect critical habitats in Wisconsin, not just for decades to come but for centuries to come.”

DNR will provide Stewardship Grants, along with these federal funds, to The Nature Conservancy, Ridges Sanctuary, and Door County Land Trust to acquire land within their natural area project boundaries. Acquiring the land will protect the area from development. In addition to protecting critical habitat, the lands purchased with grant funds will be open for public recreation including opportunities for scientific research and environmental education.

The federally endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly has been threatened from habitat loss as a result of urban and industrial development. The species lives in spring-fed marshes and sedge meadows on the Door Peninsula. The bays adjacent to Baileys Harbor also provide important feeding and spawning grounds for native and sport fish, including northern pike, yellow perch, small mouth bass and lake whitefish. More than 140 species of birds use the area for nesting and as a migration stopover. The Northern Door Peninsula also hosts a wide range of Great Lakes endemic plants, including 17 species that are threatened or endangered in the state of Wisconsin.

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