Two-Mile Section of the Paw Paw River Protected



Earlier this week, we completed the Nelson purchased conservation easement project, consisting of two adjacent conservation easements totaling 164 acres and protecting a two-mile stretch of the lower Paw Paw River just downstream of Coloma, Berrien County. The property is a mix of high-quality forested wetland, riparian oak-hickory forest, farmland, and clay bluffs. A plant community of ferns, mosses, and lichens -- unusual in that they are usually found much farther north -- grows on a rare limestone outcropping, part of a series of steep clay bluffs populated with mature hemlock and oak. Much of the region where the Paw Paw River flows is broad and flat, with significant areas of contiguous and healthy floodplain forest. The Nelson property is one of the few sites where the river drops in elevation, and where bands of floodplain forest are narrowed by the bluffs' constraint.

The Nelson property is the second of seven conservation easements in a project that will protect about 640 acres. In December, Geoff completed a conservation easement on Sarett Nature Center's 280-acre Brown Sanctuary, the first step of the larger project. 







2016 marks SWMLC's Silver Anniversary
and it's hard to believe that so much time has passed!

There have been many changes but one constant remains: 14,000 acres of Southwest Michigan’s distinctive dunes, wetlands, forests, savannas, prairies, farms, and vineyards are now conserved and protected forever. In 2016, we're celebrating our anniversary with 25 special events that highlight our public preserves and offer fun, new activities for the whole family.
Please check our events page for the most up-to-date announcements and details.

Join us in celebrating what we’ve achieved together in 25 years of local conservation. With your help, we’re just getting started!



The Wednesday Workday Warriors

Lucky Season 13!
Anyone is welcome to pitch in to help keep our preserves up to snuff. It's a wonderful way to experience the preserves with the folks who know them best, plus get acquainted with other active people who share the conservation spirit. RSVPs are always nice; just call the office at 269-324-1600 or email

Wednesday, August 24, 8:30am

We will be joined by the Summer Crew Pros to subdue the various aliens that besmirch Hidden Marsh Preserve. JohnC will be leading the charge, so behave.

If you want to rsvp or ask any questions, send him an email johnrchenault at 

Use your own judgement to decide if the weather is too surly to work that day.

WHERE: Hidden Marsh Preserve, Three Rivers, St. Joseph Co.

WHEN: 8:30 am - 12:00 pm
WORKDAY ACTIVITY: We will lop, mow, spray, saw, and who knows what else. 

BRING: Bring work gloves and water. 

Make your own carpool arrangements and meet at Hidden Marsh Preserve at 8:30 am. 
From Kalamazoo, go south on US-131 to Heimbach Road (just north of Three Rivers). Turn left (east) and go 0.8 miles to Buckhorn Road (four-way stop). Turn right and go south 2.5 miles. Buckhorn becomes Portage Road, and you will see a big preserve sign on the left (east) side, near 1501 Portage Road.

Coming up: Wednesday, August 31, we will tackle shrubbery at Consumers Power Preserve. Let's hope the closed gentian is in bloom! More info to come.


Recap of last week's adventure . . .

Continuing the spirit of the Olympics, Mitch and Kristi sparkled in the relay, handing the baton off to Nate to lead the Warriors. It sounded like a sterling day of steadfastly pushing the Black River project closer to completion . . . 
— Kristi