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South Ontonagon River Conservation Easement


Acres: 237 (277 total under protection)
Established: 2009
County: Ontonagon
Category: Private Conservation Easement

The South Branch of the Ontonagon River is a cold water trout stream of excellent water quality and clarity. This conservation easement will protect the scenic and ecological integrity of a half-mile forested stretch along the eastern bank of the river by substantially limiting development and human activities within the riparian corridor. The overhanging trees along the riverbanks provide shade for fish and wildlife and reduce sedimentation and nutrient loading that could affect water quality. A sand beach on the river bank provides wildlife access to the river and nesting habitat for a variety of turtles and invertebrates.

Central to the property a 40-acre area under a separate easement through the Wetlands Reserve Program on which a series of shallow floodings and ponds were created to further enhance the conservation values of the property. These aquatic and wetland habitats provide an essential ingredient in high quality wildlife habitat as well as support a number of species that serve as the basic foundation of the food chain. The created wetlands are surrounded by fields and meadows that provide nesting habitat for waterfowl attracted to the ponds. Over 50 species of birds and waterfowl were recorded here during a one-day survey several years ago, a testament to the diversity of species found here.

The high quality hardwood forests on the property are biologically rich ecosystems dominated by multiple age stands of aspen, as well as interspersed pockets of hemlock, balsam fir, spruce, and white cedar. Species native to the upper Great Lakes basin, including black bear, eastern timber wolf, bobcat, coyotes, beaver, otter, white tail deer, and others frequent the property as they travel along the river corridor to and from other undeveloped lands within the Ottawa National Forest and Mishwabic State Forest.

The landowners request that the property remain private and off limits to the public. However, paddlers on the South Branch of the Ontonagon River can enjoy the picturesque shoreline from the navigable public waterway.





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