Washtenaw County is continuing with its purchase of properties for its Natural Areas Preservation Program (NAPP). Some of the recent deals have resulted in contiguous tracts of 100 acres or more.
Last November, with a 151-acre purchase in Lima Township, the county established Trinkle Marsh at Easton Farm. The cost was $725,000, or $4,800 an acre. "The real key feature is a marsh that has some open water and it's really a very, very popular spot for birds, not only during summer but especially during spring and fall migration," says Tom Freeman, coordinator of Washtenaw County's Natural Areas Preservation Program
. The preserve will be opened later this year with trails and birder-style overlooks with blinds.
In December, the county bought 19 acres for $123,500, $6,500 an acre, in York Township just outside the city of Milan from the Schrock family. The areas will be called the Shrock Family Sanctuary and will be added to the 80-acre Draper-Houston Meadows Preserve. The parcel fronts along the Saline River, a tributary to the River Raisin, and will have trails.
And just last week, the county purchased a conservation easement on a 100-acre plot in Superior Township. This was done in partnership with Southeast Michigan Land Conservancy, which will own the land. The total cost was about $700,000, or $7,000 an acre. The Ann Arbor Greenbelt is contributing towards the conservancy's expense, according to Freeman.
"In that case it becomes part of a very, very large collection of property in Superior Township that is part of the Superior Greenway. We're well over 1,000 acres in terms of protected land in that area."
And in partnership with Ann Arbor Township and the Ann Arbor Greenbelt, the county is acquiring 23 acres from J.A. Bloch and Company for about $163,000, or $7,100 an acre. The plot is on the northern boundary of Ann Arbor Township, in close proximity to the Northfield Woods Preserve. "We're hoping through this acquisition and another that's also pending, but probably much later this year, that we'll have connected about 100 acres and be able to connect them all with trails," Freeman says.
As of the end of 2011, the NAPP program has protected just over 2,200 acres. The county has 19 nature preserves that are open to the public.
Source: Tom Freeman, coordinator of Washtenaw County's Natural Areas Preservation Program
Writer: Tanya Muzumdar