Land buys protect rare ecosystems on Lake Erie island

Project Summary: The preservation of two parcels of land on Ohio’s Kelleys Island protected an imperiled Great Lakes alvar ecosystem and a rare red cedar forest.

 

Project name: Protecting Critical Habitat on Kelleys Island.

Location: Kelleys Island, Ohio, in western Lake Erie.

Description: Kelleys Island is the largest American island in Lake Erie and home to a rare Great Lakes alvar ecosystem. Alvars are globally imperiled ecosystems comprised of grasslands and sparsely vegetated rock barrens that develop on flat limestone of dolostone bedrock. Almost all of North America’s alvars are found in the Great Lakes. A $1 million grant from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative enabled the Western Reserve Land Conservancy to acquire 58 acres of land adjacent to Kelleys Island State Park. That acquisition, coupled with conservation easements on adjoining lands, provided permanent protection for 112 acres of land and contributed to an 825-acre interconnected system of protected lands. A second grant, for $332,500, was used to acquire 18 acres of rare, mature red cedar forest. The preservation of those area was significant because migratory birds use Kelleys Island as a rest area during spring and fall migrations.

Approximate cost of project: The total cost of the two projects was $1.3

The rare, globally imperiled alvar ecosystem on Kelleys Island, Ohio. Photo from Flickr/brittreints.

The rare, globally imperiled alvar ecosystem on Kelleys Island, Ohio. Photo from Flickr/brittreints.

million — $1 million to protect critical habitat and $332,500 to acquire the Monagan Road Preserve. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative provided funding for the projects.

Resource challenges addressed: Loss of fish and wildlife habitat, an imperiled Great Lakes alvar ecosystem, and a rare, mature red cedar forest.

Key partners (public and private): Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Western Reserve Land Conservancy, Chagrin River Land Conservancy, Kelleys Island Village Park District, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Coastal & Estuarine Land Conservation Program, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Erie MetroParks, Cleveland Museum of Natural History and Trumbull County MetroParks.

Types of jobs created: Ecologists, botanists, geologists and mortgage processors (to handle the land conservation easements).

Results and accomplishments: The two grants preserved 59 acres of an imperiled Great Lakes alvar ecosystem and 18 acres of mature red cedar forest. The parcels were added to a larger assemblage of protected lands that provide important habitat for migratory birds.

Web site: http://bit.ly/11LpcZz

Originally Published: June 18, 2013

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