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2013 Year in Review

Invasive Eurasian Ruffe DNA was discovered, with help from Nature Conservancy scientists, in Southern Lake Michigan. What does this mean? This invasive perch species from Europe could continue to spread throughout the Great Lakes and Mississippi River Basin due to its rapid reproduction rate and ability to reach maturity quickly.

In June, we broke ground at our Erie Marsh Preserve to begin restoration that will result in the reconnection of 258 acres of fish habitat that has been separated from Lake Erie for 60 years!

The Nature Conservancy in Michigan acquired a portable bridge that will be moved between three restored sites in our Two Hearted River Forest Reserve resulting in a reduction of sand, road debris and other sediment in the river which was negatively impacting water quality. The bridge will also promote better fish passage and natural stream flow.

Thanks to seven years of combating invasive baby’s breath at our Zetterberg Preserve at Point Betsie it has been effectively eliminated from over 90% of this preserve, ensuring that this freshwater dune system continues to provide quality habitat for vulnerable species like Pitcher’s thistle and the always adorable piping plover.

We partnered with Detroit Public Television for “Great Lakes Now Connect,” a series of four broadcasts that reached thousands throughout the Midwest and United States to educate viewers on various conservation issues facing the Great Lakes. Stay tuned for another series of broadcasts to begin in February 2014!

Approximately 4,700 feet of the West Branch of Two Hearted River frontage, associated floodplains and wetlands were protected by The Nature Conservancy in 2013. That length is equal to 293 cars lined up!

What’s so Great about the Great Lakes? A lot! We partnered with the Cranbrook Institute of Science to host a six-part lecture series featuring Nature Conservancy scientists exploring topics such as climate change and sustainable forestry. Look for our next exciting lecture series, “Science Talks,” starting in January 2014!

The Great Lakes Migratory Bird Stopover Portal was completed in 2013. This website provides users access to a wide range of information on stopover sites (great for you birders out there!) and the ability to download data of areas identified to be important to migratory birds.

DAM! Where are they? In May, The Nature Conservancy and partners developed a comprehensive map of barriers to fish passage across the Great Lakes basin that was published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment.

A Michigan staffer gathered with a group of forestry and fire professionals in New Mexico to practice how to set controlled burns. The training brought together participants from Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and other Latin American countries to exchange information in both Spanish and English about practices for fire management and land conservation.

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