Land Donation Protects Water Quality on Washington Island

A long-time Washington Island naturalist has recently donated a 10-acre white cedar forest adjacent to the Coffey Swamp State Natural Area on Washington Island. The newly protected property is key to providing water quality protection for Coffey Swamp and Lake Michigan. With the forest ideally situated on the rim of the area’s wetland basin, it provides a buffer from future residential development and its inherent sediment and nutrient runoff—unhealthy additions that would find their way through the wetland to Lake Michigan.

Another important aspect of the forest is that it expands the protection of the migratory bird habitat of Coffey Swamp, which is in critical range of the shoreline route of the Great Lakes Migratory Bird Flyway. The area is also home to diverse flora that includes boreal and sedge meadow plants. The state-endangered tufted bulrush, state-threatened false asphodel, and two species of special concern—round-leaved orchid and showy lady’s slipper—are found here. Another endangered species, the Hine’s emerald dragonfly is safeguarded in this habitat.

A total of 200 acres of the wild Coffey Swamp landscape are protected by the Door County Land Trust/ Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) partnership.

Terrie Cooper, senior land protection manager, expresses gratitude for the gifts received from Door County Land Trust’s “partners in preservation.”

“I want to thank the generosity and vision of private landowners who donate ecologically significant lands to DCLT,” she said. “Their contributions protect not only Door County’s ecological future but its cherished rural heritage, scenic beauty, and open spaces—forever.”

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