A newly-created 7.8-acre nature preserve on Middle Bass Island will protect a vital habitat to migratory birds as well as the Lake Erie water snake.
“This preserve’s position on the tip of the island and its wooded shores make it a great resting spot for migratory bird,” said Lisa Brohl, chairwoman of the Lake Erie Islands Chapter of Black Swamp Conservancy. “The rocky beachfront and shallow waters not only provide habitat for the Lake Erie water snake, a threatened species, but also protect an important potential habitat for rare plants and native mussels.”
Preservation of a natural habitat on the island is particularly vital to the Lake Erie water snake, as its only habitat is on the Lake Erie islands — meaning it has one of the smallest geographic reaches of any vertebrate in the world. Moreover, the water snake is both a federally threatened species as well as an endangered species in Ohio.
The preserve was established by a partnership of conservation organizations, including the Black Swamp Conservancy and its Lake Erie Islands Chapter, the Put-in-Bay Township Park District, and The Trust for Public Land.
The site of the preserve initially faced residential development, but the TPL collaborated closely with the conservancy group and the park to acquire the property instead. The land now belongs to the park district, which will manage it as a nature preserve as well as a kayak park. Additionally, the Black Swamp Conservancy will have a perpetual land conservation agreement for the property, which will prevent sub-division or development.
“Our residents and the members of the Put-in-Bay Township Park District board recognize the need to protect crucial, environmentally sensitive land in the islands. The Middle Bass Island Preserve will protect such land in perpetuity,” said Kelly Faris, chairman of the Put-in-Bay Township Park District board of commissioners.
The purchase of the property included funding from the following:
- Clean Ohio Fund: $844,000
- Ohio Land and Water Conservation Fund: $70,000
- The Ohio Department of Natural Resources Coastal Management Assistance Grant program: $70,000
- The Lake Erie Protection Fund
- Ohio Ornithological Society
- Frost-Parker Foundation of Sandusky
- Friends of Magee Marsh
- Private donors
Organizations create nature preserve [The Port Clinton News Herald] Lake Erie Water Snake [Ohio Division of Wildlife]
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