Door County Land Trust has announced the protection of 20 acres on Washington Island as part of the Big and Little Marsh State Natural Area – a property that’s home to a northern hardwood forest with mature maples and American beech.
This newly protected land connects other conservation land to the east and west, forming a protected corridor of high-quality forest and wetland habitat within this globally significant northern Lake Michigan coastal landscape. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources recognizes these coastal wetlands as being among the most important wildlife habitat and natural landscapes in Door County.
The additional acreage means the Land Trust now protects a total of 721 acres on Washington Island.
Wetlands are among the most complex, productive ecosystems in the world. They help mitigate climate change by absorbing greenhouse gases, and they protect water quality, reduce flooding and recharge drinking-water aquifers. Protection of coastal wetlands such as those found at Big and Little Marsh rank as top priorities of conservation partners within the Great Lakes region.
Coastal wetlands provide habitat for rare plants, animals and migratory birds, and they benefit fish by preventing pollution and runoff into the Great Lakes. Big and Little Marsh features critical breeding habitat for the federally endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly and supports the federally threatened dwarf lake iris and more than 30 bird species listed as rare, threatened or of special concern.
“Our work to protect these special places allows life to thrive far beyond the island,” said Terrie Cooper, Land Trust community conservation director. “The Great Lakes are all connected and serve as the
largest freshwater ecosystem in the world. Protecting Door County’s islands and coastal wetlands benefits not only the plants and animals that call this place home, but our entire community.”
Funding to protect these lands is provided by Wisconsin’s Knowles Nelson Stewardship Program, the Fox River and Green Bay Natural Resource Trustee Council, and significant support from individuals, families and Door County Land Trust members.
The Land Trust must raise an additional $200,000 before the end of this year to fund remaining conservation costs and long-term care of these properties. Every contribution makes a difference. To donate to conservation efforts or watch stunning videos of Washington Island from the air, visit DoorCountyLandTrust.org/Vision.