A Win for Water Quality: Wetlands Protected at Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp

A Win for Water Quality:

Wetlands Protected at Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp


Ephraim, WI – Door County Land Trust is thrilled to announce the protection of two additional forested properties within the Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp State Natural Area. With these additions totaling 75 acres, Door County Land Trust now protects 383 acres within the swamp, which is a coastal wetland landscape that plays an important role for water quality and fish populations in Door County.  

The Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp Natural Area is one of three areas Door County Land Trust prioritized in their 2020 land protection efforts. The swamp is made up of a vast wetland basin bound on the north, east and south sides by the Niagara Escarpment and upland areas. These rare coastal wetlands filter water before flowing into the Bay of Green Bay and help prevent flooding for the village of Ephraim and the entire coastal community. The wetlands play a crucial role in preserving the quality of waters that flow into Ephraim’s Eagle Harbor. Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp’s wetlands make it attractive to migratory birds and other wildlife. Even Door County’s federally endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly has been found foraging for insects here.

The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) recognizes these coastal wetlands among the most important wildlife habitat and natural landscapes in Door County. Protection of coastal wetlands like those found at Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp rank as top priorities of conservation partners within the Great Lakes region. The Land Trust’s work here adds to the protection of high-quality forest and wetland habitat within this globally significant Northern Lake Michigan coastal landscape.

Door County Land Trust began protection efforts in Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp with a conservation easement agreement seventeen years ago and seeks to protect the broader landscape that contributes to the health of the wetland. Landscape-scale conservation projects like this one are an important step towards preserving the coastal wetlands, forests, and fisheries that support Great Lakes wildlife. Door County Land Trust’s land protection director Julie Schartner said “Our efforts at Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp are gaining momentum. We’re so pleased that our conservation funding partners and the landowners in this natural area recognize the significance of this conservation effort. These efforts will have a lasting impact on the water quality of Eagle Harbor, and we hope act as a model for further conservation efforts in Door County. Continuing our conservation efforts here will also strengthen the high quality habitat corridor between Peninsula State Park and Mud Lake State Natural Area.”

Door County Land Trust thanks members and supporters for their contributions towards these conservation efforts. The purchase of these properties is funded by Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, a Great Lakes Restoration Initiative Joint Venture grant administered by The Nature Conservancy, and Natural Resource Damage Assessment funds from the Lower Fox River and Green Bay Trustee Council. However, the long-term conservation costs are not yet funded. Door County Land Trust seeks to raise endowment funds to ensure permanent conservation and future care of the properties.

Contributions to Door County Land Trust support conservation efforts such as those at the Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp Natural Area and will help to fund the care of these properties and future land protection opportunities. Every contribution makes a difference. To donate and support the conservation work of the Door County Land Trust or watch stunning videos of Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp Natural Area from the air, please visit www.DoorCountyLandTrust.org/Vision.

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