Land Trust Protects Headwaters, Springs within Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp

The Door County Land Trust has announced a newly protected property containing wetlands, springs and streams within the Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp State Natural Area. The 80-acre property is the second in the area to be protected this year and brings the total protection of these headwaters and springs to 277 acres.

These lands are a core piece of a larger wildlife corridor that includes the headwaters of several creeks that drain westward into Ephraim’s Eagle Harbor and the bay of Green Bay. This purchase also protects a mature white-cedar swamp forest: a fragile and vital ecosystem that supports many plant and animal species such as migrating birds and spawning fish.

The Door County Land Trust purchased the property from Dennis and Sue Bhirdo, who wanted to conserve it and chose the Door County Land Trust to ensure that their property remained in its natural state. It holds many memories for the couple: Dennis recalls hunting and exploring the land with his father, and Sue planted trees on it after she married Dennis in 1962.

Conservation partners recognize that the Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp contains some of the best remaining coastal wetland habitat in northern Door County. Coastal wetlands absorb water that would otherwise create flooding and help prevent sedimentation in the bay.

According to Julie Schartner, the land trust’s director of land programs, “The cedar swamp naturally filters water before flowing into Eagle Harbor and the bay of Green Bay. Protecting wetlands is important to maintain the diversity of natural communities, but it also plays a vital role in providing benefits to our human communities, such as filtering water and flood control.”

The land trust is working to expand land protection within the Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp, which serves as a protected breeding habitat for numerous bird species, including black-throated green warblers and black and white warblers.

The Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program provided funding for this purchase.

The Door County Land Trust seeks to raise $19,000 toward endowment contributions for the long-term care of this and another nearby property, as well as additional funding for other costs of permanently protecting the property.

To help protect and care for these places, the Door County Land Trust encourages the community to contribute at

For more information about giving to protect what you love, contact Cinnamon Rossman, Door County Land Trust development director, at 920.746.1359 or [email protected].

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