The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently finalized the purchase of 19.85 acres of land at Whitefish Point, Chippewa County, Mich. The acreage, which includes 1,200-feet of Lake Superior shoreline, is within designated critical habitat for the endangered Great Lakes piping plover and is adjacent to 33-acres that make up the Whitefish Point Unit of the Seney National Wildlife Refuge. The gravel beaches, sandy beach dunes and stunted jack-pine dominated forests once slated for development will now be protected as part of the National Wildlife Refuge System. Whitefish Point is renowned for its concentrations of birds during migration.
Each year thousands of raptors, passerines and waterbirds funnel up to the point to cross Lake Superior. They are followed by hundreds of birders. The bird list for Whitefish Point includes 273 species and the point has been designated as a globally important bird area. Piping plovers, after a 23-year absence, returned to the point in 2009 and successfully fledged young. Nesting has increased over the past three years and in 2012 four pairs fledged 11 chicks. Plovers have been observed using the newly acquired acres as recently as August 28, 2012. The signing of the deed in late August signaled the end of an effort that began with the Service and partners meeting in Newberry, Mich. more than two years earlier.
The purchase of the land was made possible with funding through the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, as well as a considerable amount of donated funds raised by the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory. The efforts of the Service and our partners exemplifies our mission of working with others to conserve, protect and enhance fish, wildlife and plants and their habitats for the continuing benefit of the American people.
Image U.S Fish and Wildlife Service