NOAA Funding Expands Middle Bass Island Wetlands Preserve

The Takeaway: Conservation partners are using NOAA funding to double the size of an Ohio island preserve and protect valuable habitat.

Conservation partners are saving threatened habitat and wildlife on Ohio’s rapidly developing Middle Bass Island by acquiring land for a forested wetlands preserve. This effort has now expanded thanks to NOAA funding to purchase an additional 20.8 acres, which will more than double the preserve’s size. One of the three parcels, 7.59 acres, was protected in late 2017—and project partners are in the process of acquiring the other two properties.

Middle Bass Island is one of the Western Lake Erie Islands, located about 55 miles east of Toledo, where a hot market in rental and vacation homes is eliminating many natural areas. The preserve features standing live and dead timber, small areas of permanent standing water, and hummocks. This habitat is ideal for many creatures, such as the state-threatened Lake Erie watersnake and migratory birds and songbirds stopping to rest and “refuel” on their flight toward Canada.

The Put-in-Bay Township Park District is making the purchases with $672,563 in funding from NOAA’s Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program. This program provides matching funds to state and local governments to purchase land important for ecological, historical, scenic, or recreational reasons. (Original story 2017/Updated 2018)

Partners: NOAA Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program, Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, Put-in-Bay Township Park District