This proposed sanctuary presents an exciting opportunity to protect unspoiled habitat, safeguard water quality and build on critical land protection efforts in the Grand Traverse Bay watershed.
The 26-acre parcel is situated near the heavily developed US-31 corridor in East Bay Township. It offers an opportunity to protect undeveloped land in a rapidly growing urban area that is critical for water quality and healthy habitats. A stone’s throw from the George & Ada Reffitt Nature Preserve and a short distance from Mitchell Creek Meadows: The Don and Jerry Oleson Nature Preserve, the property would also support previous and ongoing conservation work in the Acme Creek and Mitchell Creek watersheds.
The land’s protection has far-reaching benefits for the region’s water quality. Part of the Acme Creek watershed, a sub-watershed of Grand Traverse Bay, the property contains nearly 1,400 feet of frontage on an unnamed creek. The creek flows directly into East Bay—the source of Traverse City’s drinking water. The property also encompasses high-quality wetlands and forests that serve the crucial role of filtering runoff before entering the region’s precious waterways.
The vast majority of the property comprises high-quality rich conifer swamp. Approximately three acres of mesic northern forest are perched atop a steep slope in the southeast corner. These habitats are listed as vulnerable by the State of Michigan and are critical to the survival of many sensitive flora and fauna species. The parcel is believed to have originally been part of the globally rare, wooded dune and swale complex habitat found on adjacent properties. However, nearby development likely disturbed the land, which has transitioned to its current state. Today, the property provides many ecosystem services and hosts a variety of native plants and animals like the Northern White Cedar (Thuja occidentalis) and Tamarack (Eastern larch).