Properties add 47.6 acres to State Natural Area project in Door County
WASHINGTON ISLAND – Wisconsin’s Natural Resources Board voted 7-0 at its January meeting to accept the donation of 47.6 acres of land from the Door County Land Trust. The donation of three separate tracts include additions to the Big and Little Marsh Natural Areas on Washington Island and the addition of other property on Detroit Island at the northern tip of Door County.
The donated properties were acquired by the Land Trust in 2008 using 50% Wisconsin Stewardship Grant Funding and 50% U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Coastal Wetland Federal Funds.
In the late 1970’s. the Department of Natural Resources established project boundaries for a state natural area to include the islands off the tip of Door County. The project consists of five islands and a shoal. These islands include Rock Island State Park (state owned), Detroit, Plum, Pilot (federally owned), and Fish and Fisherman’s Shoal. The shoals are a rocky area just above the waterline with no vegetation. Over the years, the state has purchased a limited number of properties on Detroit Island.
The Land Trust donation includes a 2.6 acre tract on Detroit Island that is composed almost entirely of wetlands including a white cedar swamp and Great Lakes ridge and swale complex. It is an important resting place for migrating birds and nesting habitat for other birds and waterfowl.
The donation also includes two other parcels – a 20-acre tract and a 25-acre tract located in the Big and Little Marsh State Natural Area. These two properties are made up of 20-acres of forested wetlands including a white cedar swamp and 10-acres of northern hardwood forest. The forest provides critical habitat for the endangered Hine’s emerald dragonflies and is a resting and breeding place for a variety of migrating and resident waterfowl and songbirds.
These areas have very significant natural area qualities and endangered resources that the Land Trust has worked to preserve.
The Statewide Natural Area program was established in 1972 to protect the best remaining examples of Wisconsin’s native vegetation as well as habitat for endangered and threatened plants and animals. Natural Areas are used for study by elementary to college-age school groups and researchers as well as the general public.
Contact(s): Dick Steffes, DNR Real Estate Director, 608-266-0201