Staff had the pleasure last week of demonstrating our Bioreserve Project‘s field assessment methods to Elizabeth Steig, of the Carls Foundation, which has funded the Bioreserve Project over the last year. Our team visited two wetlands on a property in Northfield Township. The rain held off for a lovely visit as the team plant expert, Jacqueline Courteau, and HRWC staff member Kris Olsson rattled off dozens of wildflower, sedge, tree and shrub species, and made notes about the wetlands’ vegetation and hydrological conditions. The 6 or so acres of wetlands surveyed on this properties are part of a larger complex of about 200 acres of wetlands that flows into Davis Creek, a tributary of the Huron River. The wetlands filter runoff water, cooling it and removing pollutants before it reaches the creek and river.
Our work has resulted in partnerships with the seven land conservancies in the watershed. We have helped conservancies identify strategic conservation priorities, and we have provided field assessments on both existing easements and on properties they are considering pursuing for permanent protection. All of these activities are helping the conservancies secure accreditation. HRWC has also increased their organization capacity with GIS technical training and support and has identified potential high quality wetlands for protection.
Additionally, the bioreserve assessments in the watershed are helping direct State of Michigan and regional and local government efforts to protect land. The Bioreserve Project has assessed more than 150 properties throughout the watershed so far, and we hope to survey another 70 this year.
If you like hiking, identifying native plants, and learning about the watershed’s ecology, contact Kris Olsson, and you could be joining a team in a nearby wetland or forest!