Why Is This Preserve Significant?
The Paw Paw Prairie Fen site was originally slated for a housing development. The development company had removed all the topsoil, laid out a road route, and began landscaping for a neighborhood. TNC was alerted to rare wetland communities at the site and began negotiations for acquiring the land.
A fen is a unique type of wetland found in glaciated landscapes, fed by alkaline, mineral-rich groundwater that supports highly diverse and rare plant life. Bogs by contrast, which are not found at this preserve, are acidic and fed by precipitation. There are several types of fens, but prairie fens, like Paw Paw Prairie Fen, provide habitat for both wetland and prairie plants, making them especially diverse and important to the preserve.
What Can I See Here?
It's no coincidence that the Paw Paw River watershed is also known as Michigan's "Wine Country." The temperate climate, fertile soil, and nearby river not only create idyllic conditions for vineyards, but also for land rich in biodiversity.
Fall migration of songbirds is quite immense. You are most likely to catch them on their way south during August and September. Those with patience might spot species such as the eastern box turtle or an eastern massasauga rattlesnake. Anglers have been attracted to the river for years after hearing stories of trout as big as 27 inches.