Tue, Mar 24 2009 at 12:24 PM
By The Nature Conservancy
The Great Lakes state
We are all connected: We are people whose hearts have been captivated by our state's forest, water and shoreline, and our history has been shaped and dominated by them. We belong to a state that provides breathtaking beauty, working lands that sustain us, and a rich culture defined by our relationship with the land and water.
Together, we are responsible for Michigan’s future. Together, we must protect our natural heritage, our quality of life and ensure balance in our use of forest, water and shoreline. Understanding the deep interconnection between the natural world, our economy, our culture and our future in Michigan will help us leave a legacy for our children and their grandchildren.
In the last three years, The Nature Conservancy in Michigan has catapulted conservation action. One accomplishment is the establishment of the largest public/private conservation partnership in Michigan’s history in an initiative to protect 271,000 acres of forestland in the Upper Peninsula through working forest easement and acquisition.
Another accomlisment was the enrollment of the 2,217 acre Erie Marsh Preserve into the Detroit River Wildlife Refuge, thereby doubling the Refuge in size. An initiative was launched to protect the integrity of the Paw Paw River Watershed through traditional acquisitions and innovative conservation buyer strategies. The Nature Conservancy also secured the single largest Natural Resources Trust Fund grant in its history, totaling $12.5 million to protect more than 11,000 acres, including 14 miles of shoreline, at the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula with the state of Michigan.
Special features of Michigan
Michigan is a landscape of natural wonders. The last glacial epoch left an unparalleled legacy that defines the state: the Great Lakes, the largest freshwater system in the world. The glaciers reshaped the landscape to produce a stunning array of lakes, streams and uplands, including our renowned sand dunes and spectacular shorelines.
Today, Michigan is covered by lakes, forests, wetlands, rivers and grasslands as diverse and majestic as old-growth forests, jack-pine plains, kettle lakes, groundwater-fed streams, peatlands and stunted ridge-top forests reminiscent of alpine timberlines.
Within these places are species unique to or best exemplified in Michigan: dwarf lake iris hugging cool shorelines near the Straits of Mackinac, Kirtland’s warblers in jack-pine plains, and Hungerford’s crawling water beetle in cold stream riffles. Michigan is also graced with vast mosaics of forests, wetlands, 3,200 miles of Great Lakes shoreline and 36,000 miles of rivers, which provide home to a wide range of species, including wolves, moose, migratory birds and lake trout.
The Nature Conservancy in Michigan is committed to working with partners who share common conservation vision and values. We have to be, as our collective responsibility to achieve the protection of our natural legacy is profound. We cannot achieve this conservation vision alone — partners, communities, community leaders and other organizations will be essential. For many landscapes identified as conservation priorities, our partners are better positioned to carry conservation forward, and our best role may be to ensure that they have our support and the needed resources to take action.
MNN is working with The Nature Conservancy to bring you state-by-state environmental information.