Tuesday, Feb 22, 2022

The 2021 summer issue of Michigan Nature magazine included an exciting announcement of a multi-year grant award from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to aid in the conservation and recovery of priority Eastern massasauga rattlesnake populations in the state. The Eastern massasauga is Michigan’s only venomous snake, but its population decline led to a ‘threatened’ listing under the federal Endangered Species Act and identification as a species of greatest conservation need under Michigan’s Wildlife Action Plan.

MNA is coordinating and facilitating the project with the Michigan Natural Features Inventory and Grand Valley State University. In the summer of 2021, the project partners began population surveys and monitoring. MNA conducted habitat management and restoration at areas occupied by the Eastern massasauga, including at sites in addition to MNA Nature Sanctuaries.

“We were able to work with Springfield Township in Oakland County and the North Oakland Headwaters Land Conservancy to undertake prescribed burns and invasive species management on property adjacent to the township’s Long Lake Fen,” said Andrew Bacon, MNA’s Conservation Director. “These kinds of collaborations are key to the recovery of the massasauga and made possible by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife grant as we can address habitat restoration beyond our own property borders to benefit the rattlesnake.

Keep checking back at michigannature.org for updates to this important collaborative work.