SWMLC Receives $600,000 DEQ Grant to Protect Paw Paw River Watershed


SWMLC and a partnership of regional conservation organizations have been awarded a three-year $600,000 Michigan Department of Environmental Quality grant for its “Paw Paw Priority Wetland/Riparian Conservation Project". This award will enable SWMLC and partners to permanently conserve 700 acres of highest priority conservation areas in the Paw Paw River Watershed (PPRW), develop urban best management practices for a targeted non-point pollution sources in the PPRW’s Ox Creek sub-watershed, and work to initiate agricultural best management practices with agricultural landowners in the Ox Creek sub-watershed.

With the award, SWMLC will have the opportunity to protect over six miles of frontage along the Paw Paw River, two miles of additional frontage along tributary streams and lakes, and 300 acres of critical wetlands. The Paw Paw River Watershed is recognized by multiple State of Michigan departments as one of the most ecologically diverse areas in all of Southern Michigan. The watershed has been a high priority for SWMLC since its inception in 1991, and features at least 50 known state- listed plant and animal species as well as three Federally endangered species.

The project partnership includes SWMLC, Southwest Michigan Planning Commission, Sarett Nature Center, Two Rivers Coalition, Berrien Conservation District and several private landowners and “conservation investors”.

(Photo by Ivan LaBianca.)

Wednesday Workday Warriors Begin Season 13

Wednesday, July 1, we will give Hidden Marsh Sanctuary a good going over. It needs everything, so any time you can spare us next week will be much appreciated. We will clear trails, saw fallen trees, spray swallow-wort, mow the grass, pretty-up the sign, and maybe even pull some garlic mustard.

Bring: Gloves, drinking water, ong sleeves for the poison ivy (a good native plant), and a warrior spirit! 

To carpool from the Kalamazoo area: Meet at 8:30 a.m. at the Park 'n' Ride on Angling Rd. (US-131 and Centre St. - Exit 31) in Portage. RSVPs are always appreciated. 

Directions: From US-131 in St. Joseph County (just north of Three Rivers), turn east onto Heimbach Rd. and go 0.8 miles to Buckhorn Rd. (four-way stop). Turn right and go south 2.5 miles. Along the way, Buckhorn Rd. becomes Portage Rd. You will see a big preserve sign on the left (east) side, near 1501 Portage Rd.

[Photo by Kristi]


Upcoming Workdays: Make a Monarch Haven

Monarch butterfly populations have been facing tough times in recent years with marked population declines across their range. One of the most grueling times in a monarch’s life cycle is the fall migration from northern breeding grounds, following geographical features such as shorelines to guide them safely on their way to wintering areas in Mexico. We can help by making sure there are plenty of floral “pit stops” where they can refuel their energy reserves. Join us in creating a shoreline Monarch Waystation at Pilgrim Haven Natural Area, where we will prep the site and plant Michigan native plants that provide valuable nectar resources for migrating monarchs and local wildlife.

Saturday, July 11, 9 a.m. to Noon, at Pilgrim Haven Natural Area, near South Haven


Email Mitch at lettow@swmlc.org to let him know you're coming and to check for carpool options.

8th Annual Art Walk at Pilgrim Haven Natural Area

A beautiful new location for this very popular event!

Saturday, August 29, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pilgrim Haven Natural Area, on the lakeshore near South Haven

Come see the beauty of woods and water captured in paint as members of the Plein Air Artists of West Michigan, Ottawa Shores Plein Air and the Great Lakes Plein Air Painters Association create their works of art in real time during the 8th Annual Art Walk event. Walk the trails through woods and meadows, visit the beach, chat with artists as they work, and learn about our plans to create public access at this historic preserve. 

The 2016 Painted Sanctuary Calendar, featuring plein air paintings of many SWMLC preserves, will make its debut at this event. Purchase a 2016 Painted Sanctuary Calendar (just $10) and you will automatically be entered to win an original painting by Richard Jordan, of the Plein Air Artists of West Michigan! Raffle begins at 3:30 p.m.

Painting Demonstrations
Enjoy plein air painting demonstrations throughout the day by some of the area’s top landscape artists.

Kathleen Kalinowski – 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
Richard Jordan – 1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Artist TBD – 2:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Support the arts while supporting land protection!
Some of the best plein air artists in Michigan will have paintings on display and for sale. You can even purchase paintings that the artists are creating during the event. A portion of all painting sales will benefit SWMLC. 

Directions to Pilgrim Haven Natural Area, South Haven, MI
The preserve is located approximately 4 miles south of South Haven. From the intersection of M-43 and Blue Star Highway, travel south on Blue Star for 3.2 miles. Turn right onto 77th St. for about 1⁄4 mile, then left onto 18th Ave. The preserve is on the right. Please follow the posted signs for parking.