Acquisition of 2,001 Acres Protects Wisconsin’s Sand River Headwaters

The Takeaway: This significant acquisition is providing critical ecological benefits and promoting community resilience efforts.

The Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and local partners successfully completed the Sand River Headwaters acquisition at the northern portion of the Bayfield Peninsula. This secured 2,001 acres of ecologically significant land, including wetlands, tributaries, and feeder streams, all crucial to the health of Lake Superior’s coastal resources.

This acquisition, supported by a grant of over $1.96 million funded by the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law, came from National Coastal Zone Management Program Habitat Protection and Restoration awards administered by NOAA. The land provides numerous benefits, including habitat for migratory birds, spawning areas for Great Lakes fish, scenic views of Lake Superior, and recreational opportunities for the public. This achievement also fulfills an agreement with the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, whose land borders the northernmost part of this area, to reinvest proceeds from an earlier land sale that returned nearby land formerly owned by Bayfield County to the Red Cliff Band.

The completion of this acquisition stands as a major milestone and the first successful project completed under the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law. Protection of this property will complete the final and largest phase of a nearly decade-long land protection effort that has seen the addition of thousands of acres to Bayfield County Forest, part of The Trust for Public Land’s larger “Forever Northwoods Initiative,” which conserves priority lands like this one throughout the 64 million acre iconic Northwoods region that spans Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. (2023)

Partners: NOAA, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, Wisconsin Department of Administration, Bayfield County Forestry and Parks Department

Federal Funding: $1,965,000