Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp Natural Area is a large coastal wetland corridor in Ephraim that is the focus of a multi-year land protection effort by Door County Land Trust. In May 2019 key headwater wetlands, springs, and stream corridors of two creeks flowing into Eagle Harbor and Green Bay were protected with two purchases totaling 120 acres. Now, more than 275 acres are permanently protected at the heart of a larger wildlife corridor. An additional 600 acres in the wetland are key to the overall water quality and may be protected in the future.
The properties consist primarily of mature white cedar swamp—a complex and vital ecosystem that supports many rare or endangered plant and animal species, such as the dwarf-lake iris, red-shouldered hawk, and bald eagle. The headwaters of the Hidden Springs and Ephraim Creeks are within the wetlands found here. Protecting these coastal wetlands enhances the quality of water flowing into Green Bay and protects habitat for migrating birds and spawning fish.
According to Door County Land Trust Director of Land Program Julie Schartner, “These projects are an exciting addition in the heart of the Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp Natural Area. Because it is adjacent to other protected properties, it creates a corridor of wild habitat and is especially important for migratory and nesting birds. The cedar swamp naturally filters water before flowing into Eagle Harbor and the bay of Green Bay.”
Grant funding through the Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program supported the two purchases. Door County Land Trust seeks to raise funds for the Stewardship Endowment Fund which provides for the long-term care of the properties, as well as land acquisition costs to protect future properties. Contributions from members and individual donors make a difference. To help protect and care for these places, Door County Land Trust encourages community members to make a contribution of support at www.DoorCountyLandTrust.org.