Tuesday, Jan 21, 2020

As part of a North American Wetlands Conservation Act grant, MNA recently completed the transfer of a 118+ acre parcel from The Nature Conservancy on the south and eastern side of MNA’s Swamp Lakes Moose Refuge Nature Sanctuary in the Upper Peninsula’s Luce County.

Photo by Andrew Bacon

The sanctuary is part of a landscape known as the Swamp Lakes which is of significant importance as a large block of wildlife habitat. The area is known to be frequented by moose, gray wolf, pine marten and numerous other species of wildlife requiring a landscape intermingled with forests and wetlands. 

The sanctuary and surrounding area contains a diversity of habitat types and is composed of a series of wetlands, beaver ponds, and fen which are interspersed with dry sand ridges. Natural community types located here include rich conifer swamp, dry northern forest, mesic northern forest, northern shrub thicket, and emergent wetlands. The additional parcel will continue and broaden MNA’s efforts to protect and restore wetlands and adjacent habitat in the area.

The Swamp Lakes Moose Refuge complex is known for providing excellent habitat for six species classified as species of special concern by the Department of Natural Resources. In the 2012 Duck Lake wildfire, approximately 40 acres of the sanctuary were burned. Most of the wetland areas had very rapid and diverse growth as a result of the fire, which was likely beneficial to the wetland as it helped thin out the shrubby canopy that had formed over the decades, consisting of species such as leatherleaf and labrador tea.

Photo: Aerial aftermath of the Duck Lake fire by The Nature Conservancy

With this acquisition, MNA continues to build on its history and mission of protecting and maintaining natural areas that contain examples of Michigan’s endangered and threatened flora, fauna, and other components of the natural environment.

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