SWMLC receives grant to create public access at Sora Meadows Preserve in Paw Paw Twp.

Sora Meadows Wetland in Paw Paw Township will be improved for better public access. Photo courtesy of Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy

   PAW PAW - Southwest Michigan Land Conservancy (SWMLC) announced this week that it has been awarded a grant from Entergy-Palisades’ Environmental Initiatives Fund to create public access amenities at its Sora Meadows Preserve in Paw Paw Township.
   “This generous grant from Entergy-Palisades will allow us to construct a 10-car gravel parking lot, a birders’ viewing platform, boardwalk, and a trailhead,” stated SWMLC Pete Ter Louw, President and Executive Director.
   “These public access amenities will enable us to better share this spectacular nature preserve with the community and the general public.”
   In the past 20 years, SWMLC has conserved over three-and-a-half square miles of wetlands, forested floodplains and woodlands in the Paw Paw River watershed, with a focus of protecting Great Lakes waters and wildlife habitat. The 65-acre Sora Meadows Preserve,  acquired in 2008 through donation from landowner Phyllis Webb, is a critical component of protecting water quality and water quantity in the watershed.
   As part of a larger EPA - Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) nonpoint source pollution project, SWMLC undertook an MDEQ-funded restoration project with Ducks Unlimited, which created several water impoundments on the site for water storage, and also created critical waterfowl habitat. Today, the preserve supports a broad diversity of birds, including 65 nesting species, and over 100 migrating species.
   “Our ongoing restoration work on this preserve, including removal of invasive species and reforestation efforts, has served to create additional habitat for popular but elusive bird species such as Eastern bluebirds and indigo buntings,” said SWMLC’s Stewardship Director Mitch Lettow. “We are really excited for birdwatching groups, schoolchildren, and others to be able to visit this preserve and have a place from which they can comfortably experience the tremendous variety of bird species present at this special preserve.”
   SWMLC staff will be working with SWMLC board member and Western Michigan University professor Dr. Sharon Gill, volunteers and members of the Audubon Society of Kalamazoo to coordinate the design of the viewing platform to optimize the birdwatching experience at Sora Meadows Preserve.

The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes

The Courier-Leader & Paw Paw Flashes
32280 E. Red Arrow Hwy. • P.O. Box 129
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