SWMLC Continues to Protect Gull Lake Water Quality

This spring, SWMLC worked with landowner Craig Shumaker to amend his 20-acre conservation easement (one of two he donated to SWMLC in 2010).  Craig added six more acres to his easement, protecting an additional 500 feet of frontage along the west side of Prairieville Creek.  Prairieville Creek is the primary surface water source for Gull Lake, providing 21% of Gull Lake’s total water supply.  This now provides continuous protection to Prairieville Creek from M43 to a quarter-mile upstream, with adjoining easements providing nearly complete coverage all the way upstream to Mud Lake.

"This land is important," said Mr. Shumaker. "It is incredible that it has been able to remain undeveloped and truly is a beautiful showcase of Mother Nature.  Prairieville Creek is a hidden gem that is important not only to me, but for wildlife habitat, fisheries, and the overall health of Gull Lake.  I am proud that my family has been been able to provide a legacy to protect Gull Lake, with deep roots of many generations having lived in the Gull Lake area and enjoyed its natural beauty.  I look forward to working with SWMLC and supporting their efforts for years to come."

Altogether, Craig has protected 46 acres of land along Prairieville Creek. This additional property adds to the 300 acres of land already conserved along the two-mile-long creek that flows into the north end of Gull Lake at Prairieville Township Park.  Keeping the stream corridor in forest and wetlands provides a natural buffer that protects water quality from nutrients and sediment.

Prairieville Creek is the only spawning tributary of the Gull Lake coldwater fishery, providing habitat for many species of native fish.  The land surrounding the creek provides significant groundwater recharge and is vital to aquatic and terrestrial wildlife as a year-round resource. 

The Prairieville Creek and Gull Lake watershed is one of SWMLC’s priority conservation areas which we work on with the Four Townships Waters Resources Council and the Gull Lake Quality Organization. During the past eight years, with funding from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality and Kalamazoo Community Foundation, SWMLC developed and implemented a comprehensive conservation approach of land protection and landowner participation to protect this watershed and ensure its long-term health.

[Photo by Peter D. Ter Louw]

Wednesday Workday Warriors Begin Season 13

Last Wednesday, the turtles at KEKA basked in the warm sun and watched seven Warriors clear the understory, making room for the nice oaks and hickories.

Wednesday, April 22, we will post boundary signs at our NEW preserve, Bakertown Fen, a gift from The Nature Conservancy. It will be interesting to see a new place, and Nate points out that this is a hot bird migration corridor. It will be a long drive; we will carpool and then stop somewhere for lunch, so plan your day accordingly. Meet at the Oakland Drive/I-94 carpool lot, ready to pull out at 8:30 a.m. Please RSVP if you are coming, and we will wait for you.

Here are directions to Bakertown Fen from I-94. 
I-94 to Exit #30, Napier Rd towards US-31.
Turn left onto US-31/E Napier Ave and go 1.7 miles and merge onto US-31 S.
Go 20.7 miles to Exit #3, US-12 toward Sturgis/New Buffalo.
Turn right onto US-12 W and go 3.7 miles to Bakertown Rd.
Turn right onto Bakertown Rd. and go 0.9 miles to Post Rd.

Turn right onto Post Rd. and go 0.3 miles. The preserve is on the right. Park along the shoulder of the road where Post Rd bends to the north.

— Kristi

[Photo by Kristi]

April Tike Hikes at Bow in the Clouds Preserve

Now that spring is here and the parking lot at Bow in the Clouds Preserve is snow-free, SWMLC board member Jen Lau will lead family hikes there during April. And since our first Sunday in April occurs on Easter Sunday, Jen will hide some eggs for the kids to find.

All hikes are on Sunday mornings at 10:30 a.m. and depend on weather conditions for that day. (Check our Facebook page for updates the morning of the hike in case of questionable weather.)  

Tike hikes last about 1 hour at typical toddler pace which includes lots of stops, wandering in the wrong direction, pausing to pick up sticks, etc.

April 5 at Bow in the Clouds Preserve — including an Easter egg hunt!

April 12 at Bow

April 19 at Bow

April 26 at Bow

If you have any questions, call our office at (269) 324-1600.

Spruce up Trails at Black River Preserve May 2

Bring your rakes, weed whackers and enthusiasm for the Spring clean-up at Black River Preserve.

Saturday, May 2, 9 a.m. to Noon, at Black River Preserve in South Haven.  

Meet at the preserve entrance on 8th Avenue west of the Black River bridge & 68th St.

Click here for a pdf of the announcement flyer.

Email Mitch at lettow@swmlc.org to let him know you're coming.

Mother's Day Bird Walk at Black River Preserve, May 9

Join us for our annual Mother's Day Bird Walk at Black River Preserve. We'll explore the unique, native flora and fauna on this beautiful preserve that features 120 acres of meadow, steeply rolling forest and wetlands, and 1 mile of frontage on the Black River.

Nate Fuller will again lead the walk during the peak of spring bird migration.

Saturday, May 9, from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.  

To attend this fun event, call our office at 269-324-1600 or email Miko at cmdargitz@swmlc.org.