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Let’s work together to ensure that life thrives on the Door Peninsula, its islands, and surrounding waters. Together, we will protect our lands and waters, and dare to leave a healthy environment for future generations. Your support for conservation from Washington Island to Southern Door is needed to make these conservation opportunities a reality!

Donate now to ensure that life thrives across the Door Peninsula, its islands, and surrounding waters.

GIBRALTAR-EPHRAIM SWAMP NATURAL AREA

Project Area Vision

Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp, extending from the shores of Eagle Harbor southwest toward Moonlight Bay, is part of the much larger corridor of forest, wetlands, and wildlife habitat that includes lands from North Bay south to Toft Point and Baileys Harbor. The Gibraltar-Ephraim Swamp Natural Area is one of the best remaining examples of coastal wetlands along the Green Bay shoreline—and truly, it is a place like no other.

This conservation priority area holds a lengthy list of titles; it is designated as a State Natural Area, as a Land Legacy Site, and as a globally significant Conservation Opportunity Area for Wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need in the Northern Lake Michigan Coastal Ecological Landscape.

Within this coastal wetlands complex the Wisconsin Natural Heritage Inventory has identified more than 36 rare animals, invertebrates, and plants, as well as five habitat types. These adjacent yet distinct habitats are what make this place so uniquely special—and so worthy of continued land protection.

Land and Water

The basin of the swamp parallels the shoreline of Eagle Harbor and is bound on the north, east, and south by lands at higher elevation consisting of limestone bluff. All along the swamp basin’s edges, seeps and springs bubble with fresh waters that flow into a wetland forest. The roots of these trees filter the water—and during heavy rains act as a sponge that releases water more slowly into Eagle Harbor and Green Bay.

Ephraim Creek and Hidden Springs Creek were historically known to attract suckers, smelt, and occasionally even rainbow trout; these fish may return with continued land protection, restoration, and improved access to their spawning habitat.

Plants and Animals

The swamp itself is a magical wonder of mosses and lichens rooted upon every shadowed surface and sedges and reeds forming tufted islands across the wetland. The rich, black humus soil offers fertile ground for black spruce, tamarack, and white cedar. On higher ground, following the ancient shoreline levels, upland hardwoods consist of maple, hemlock, and yellow birch.

Known breeding grounds for the endangered Hine’s emerald dragonfly are less than a mile from the edge of the swamp—a quick jaunt for an insect that jets along at 20 mph and has been found foraging here. Other rare and threatened species here include a number of birds that rely on boreal forest. For these boreal-reliant species, this area of Door County is along the southern range of suitable breeding habitat, making it the first opportunity for migrating Neotropical birds in the spring to find suitable boreal habitat for breeding.

Acreage---G-E-Swampweb
GE-blackburnian-warbler1
GE-red-shouldered-hawk2
GE-hines-emerald-dragonfly3
GE-wilsons-warbler4

How you can help…

Door County Land Trust has applied for grant funding for three current projects that may be completed before the year’s end. Previous grant funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program underscores the importance of this coastal resource. Donate now to help fund the purchase and protection of these lands, as well as the long-term stewardship and care of the extraordinary coastal wetlands found here.

Donate now to ensure that life thrives across the Door Peninsula, its islands, and surrounding waters.

WASHINGTON ISLAND COASTAL WETLAND COMPLEX

Project Area Vision

Washington Island is the largest of more than 30 islands that make up the Grand Traverse Island chain that runs from Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula to the Garden Peninsula in Michigan following the arc of the Niagara Escarpment. Washington Island’s coastal wetland areas support many rare plant and animal species including some that are not found anywhere except in these coastal wetland habitats, making preservation of these wetlands among the highest conservation priorities in the entire Great Lakes region. The Door County Land Trust works to protect these important coastal wetlands—from the boreal rich fen of Big and Little Marsh and Coffey Swamp to the freshwater estuary of Detroit Harbor to the undeveloped shoreline of Little Lake. Washington Island’s coastal wetland complex is an essential part of a larger conservation plan to protect the rare species, significant and rare habitats, and fisheries within the Grand Traverse Island chain.

Land and Water

Washington Island’s wetland complex holds many rare habitat types born of the unique interaction of the land and water: ridge and swale ecosystems, aquatic-emergent sedge meadows, boreal rich fens with floating sedge mats, ephemeral wetlands and streams, freshwater estuaries, and alkaline shorelines. Fens are an alkaline bog with plants specialized to grow in the high pH waters. Plants and roots intertwine to create fen mats of exceptionally rare plants. Both the fen and the plants within are considered rare.

Along the lakeshores, wave-washed limestone shelves and a protected freshwater estuary provide spawning habitat for lake fish. Outlets from the wetlands flow as small streams and provide spawning habitat for lake fish.

Plants and Animals

Rare wildflowers and orchids found almost nowhere else on earth call these remarkable wetlands home, while butterflies, bats, and songbirds return yearly to visit. Lake fish require clean, clear, water to spawn, while aquatic plants thrive within the cool, damp Lake Michigan breeze.

Washington Island’s coastal wetlands are home to endangered plants and animals, including the dwarf lake iris and Hine’s emerald dragonfly, both of which are rare globally. In addition to the native wildlife, the wetlands are known to host a number of migratory birds, providing critical stop-over points. Studies have found twenty state and federally endangered or threatened species and forty-six species of special concern in Wisconsin, including animals, invertebrates, and plants, dependent upon these unique coastal wetlands.

Acreage---Wash-Islandweb
WI-english-sundew
WI-coffey-swamp
WI-caspian-terns
WI-dwarf-lake-iris

How you can help…

Door County Land Trust has three separate projects underway on Washington Island which will be completed this fall, and the potential for several more. The Land Trust must raise funds for the long-term care of these properties and for a portion of the purchase price of the land and related acquisition costs. Donate now to protect these lands and provide for the long-term care of these exceptional places.

Donate now to ensure that life thrives across the Door Peninsula, its islands, and surrounding waters.

SOUTHERN DOOR CREEK BEDS AND WATERSHEDS

Project Area Vision

Washington Island is the largest of more than 30 islands that make up the Grand Traverse Island chain that runs from Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula to the Garden Peninsula in Michigan following the arc of the Niagara Escarpment. Washington Island’s coastal wetland areas support many rare plant and animal species including some that are not found anywhere except in these coastal wetland habitats, making preservation of these wetlands among the highest conservation priorities in the entire Great Lakes region. The Door County Land Trust works to protect these important coastal wetlands—from the boreal rich fen of Big and Little Marsh and Coffey Swamp to the freshwater estuary of Detroit Harbor to the undeveloped shoreline of Little Lake. Washington Island’s coastal wetland complex is an essential part of a larger conservation plan to protect the rare species, significant and rare habitats, and fisheries within the Grand Traverse Island chain.

Land and Water

Washington Island’s wetland complex holds many rare habitat types born of the unique interaction of the land and water: ridge and swale ecosystems, aquatic-emergent sedge meadows, boreal rich fens with floating sedge mats, ephemeral wetlands and streams, freshwater estuaries, and alkaline shorelines. Fens are an alkaline bog with plants specialized to grow in the high pH waters. Plants and roots intertwine to create fen mats of exceptionally rare plants. Both the fen and the plants within are considered rare.

Along the lakeshores, wave-washed limestone shelves and a protected freshwater estuary provide spawning habitat for lake fish. Outlets from the wetlands flow as small streams and provide spawning habitat for lake fish.

Plants and Animals

Rare wildflowers and orchids found almost nowhere else on earth call these remarkable wetlands home, while butterflies, bats, and songbirds return yearly to visit. Lake fish require clean, clear, water to spawn, while aquatic plants thrive within the cool, damp Lake Michigan breeze.

Washington Island’s coastal wetlands are home to endangered plants and animals, including the dwarf lake iris and Hine’s emerald dragonfly, both of which are rare globally. In addition to the native wildlife, the wetlands are known to host a number of migratory birds, providing critical stop-over points. Studies have found twenty state and federally endangered or threatened species and forty-six species of special concern in Wisconsin, including animals, invertebrates, and plants, dependent upon these unique coastal wetlands.

Acreage---Southern-Doorweb
SD-palm-warbler1
SD-suckers2
SD-river-otter3
SD-common-marsh-bedstraw

How you can help…

Door County Land Trust has been selected by the Fox River/Green Bay Natural Resource Trustee Council to receive a pending grant award of $400,000 which may be applied towards up to 50% of the purchase of priority conservation lands focusing on the protection stream corridors, wetlands, and shoreline areas that contribute to the health of the waters and fisheries of Green Bay. This significant resource provides an opportunity for new land protection efforts in Southern Door—but matching funds must be raised in order to move forward with projects as conservation opportunities are identified. Donate now to support future land protection in this area.

Over the coming year, Door County Land Trust aims to build relationships with Southern Door families and develop new conservation strategies that truly benefit the Southern Door community and protect the resources found here. Some lands may best be protected in partnership with landowners through conservation easement agreements or other tools that allow working lands to remain in production.

Donate now to ensure that life thrives across the Door Peninsula, its islands, and surrounding waters.