We are ready to share one of our best kept secrets: The Saginaw Wetlands Nature Sanctuary
This 156-acre sanctuary is home to the rarest plant community in Michigan – the lake plain prairie. Saginaw Wetlands, protected since 1984 by Michigan Nature Association and located in Huron County, is considered one of the highest quality examples of this special type of prairie. Home to unique and rare plants, the landscape provides important breeding habitat for grassland birds, waterfowl and other migratory birds, and a diverse array of mammals, reptiles and rare insects. Of the nearly 160,000 acres of lake plain prairie estimated in the 1800’s in Michigan, less than 0.5% remain today. In fact, according to the Michigan Natural Features Inventory (MNFI), only 15 such prairies exist in Michigan, ranging in size from 8 to 265 acres. The culprits: conversion to agriculture, residential and industrial development, alterations of ground water hydrology and fire suppression. In the Saginaw Bay area, extensive drainage networks have been built lowering the water table. The combination of suppression of natural and cultural fires and the lower water table allows for the invasion of shrubs and trees.
This sanctuary can only be visited with a MNA guide because of the importance of protecting this precious habitat, however several volunteer opportunities are available in the upcoming months that would allow you to experience the wetland and help maintain it. Please visit www.michigannature.org and click on How You Can Help for more information.