The mission of The Lake Erie Islands Conservancy (formerly the Lake Erie Islands Chapter of the Black Swamp Conservancy) is to encourage conservation and protection of natural and agricultural lands in the Lake Erie Islands for the benefit of future generations. Visit- lakeerieislandsconservancy.org
Our History The Lake Erie Islands Conservancy (LEIC) is located on South Bass Island in the archipelago of the western basin of Lake Erie in Ohio.
The Conservancy was created in 2000 by a small group of dedicated individuals whose goal is to protect and conserve natural areas from rapidly encroaching commercial and private development. The Lake Erie Islands are a truly unique environment providing habitat for migrating birds and homes for a host of indigenous flora and fauna.
In conjunction with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources, Division of Wildlife, we work to secure habitat easements for the Lake Erie watersnake, migratory songbirds, and other wildlife.
We purchased Petersen’s Woods to preserve and protect an outstanding natural area on Middle Bass Island. We preserved the Ladd Carr Wildlife Woods, Jane Coates Wildflower Trail, Gump Woods and have assisted with the acquisition of the Scheeff East Point Preserve and the Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center on South Bass Island.
Talks on natural history, children’s nature camps, and Road Scholar programs are among the variety of the activities which the Lake Erie Islands Conservancy sponsors to bring heightened awareness of the unique environment of the Lake Erie Islands and the opportunity to preserve and protect our natural heritage, enhancing the quality of life.
The Conservancy works in partnership with the Put-in-Bay Township Park District to preserve land on the Bass Islands. The new Middle Bass Island East Point Preserve is our newest product of this partnership.
Land Conservation, Protected Properties and Ongoing Projects:
Lake Erie Water Snake – Ohio Division of Wildlife Conservation Easement Program We operate a program of conservation easements to provide habitat for the Lake Erie watersnake and other wildlife. Our first easement is located on Kelleys Island and is monitored annually. Contact us if you are interested in taking part in this program to preserve privately owned habitat with no public access.
Petersen Woods-Middle Bass Island – 1.5 acres-purchase Acquired in 2004 with a Clean Ohio Conservation Fund Grant with matching funds from LEIC, the Ohio Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, and the Division of Wildlife. The wet woods borders Lake Erie on the north and the Kuehnle State Wildlife Ara to the east.
Lawrence Evans Property-Middle Bass Island – .75 acres-purchase This property was acquired in 2006 with Ohio Division of Wildlife Diversity and LEIC funds. The emergent wetland is located between Kuehnle State Wildlife Area and Petersen Woods.
Prokesh Property – Middle Bass Island-Burgundy Bay-donation This wet woods of less than 1 acre was donated in 2006. It is adjacent to property owned by the Middle Bass Island State Park. It is hoped that more wet woods can be preserved by donation or purchase in this area. Deed Restrictions have been placed on the property with the Burgundy Bay Association so that no building can occur on site.
Ladd Carr Wildlife Woods-South Bass Island – 2.1 acres-purchase Acquired in 2006, with Clean Ohio Conservation Fund Grant, with matching funds from Georgia Ladd McVean, Mary Ladd Carr, and Richard Gump. The property is protected through deed restrictions from the Clean Ohio grant. The wild hyacinths and Dutchman’s breeches are beautiful in the spring!
Jane Coates Wildflower Trail – South Bass Island – 3 acres-purchase Adjacent to Ladd Carr Wildlife Woods, this property was acquired in 2007 from the La Plante and Woischke families with a Clean Ohio Conservation Fund grant with matching funds from donor Vince Cox in memory of Jane Coates. Trail construction in May 2008 by Corp Respond, Richard Gump and volunteers with funding raised by Julene Market. Jim Speck and John Jaeger of the Toledo MetroParks assisted with trail design. Deed Restrictions werE placed on the property through a Clean Ohio grant, A footpath and small parking area on Put-in-Bay Road near the Mapleleaf Cemetery. The Trail was dedicated July 9, 2008.
Jane Coates Wildflower Trail Addition – South Bass Island – 2 acre purchase Two additional wooded acres to the north of the Jane Coates Wilflower Trail was purchased with a Clean Ohio Conservation Fund Grant, Nature Works grant, and donations from foundations and individuals. It was dedicated on Earth Day, 2010 with a commemorative bench on the north end of the Wildflower Trail.
Gump Woods – South Bass Island – Victory Woods This wooded property is was donated by Richard Gump in 2008. Although the property is less than 1 acre, it is hoped that more donations or purchases can be made in the Victory Woods area. The beautiful wildflower display and proximity to Lake Erie shores provide habitat for migratory songbirds. A rare beetle was found nearby by Dr. Kip Will.
Lake Erie Islands Nature and Wildlife Center – South Bass Island The Center includes 1.2 acres of woods with two cave sites, .5 acre with North American Wildlife Museum. The former Alaskan Birdhouse Museum and contents was donated by Stan and Joey Wulkowicz with the purchase of woods with funds from Foundations and private individuals. It was dedicated October 18, 2008. This property has been operated by a joint committee under the Lake Erie Islands Historical Society’s 501 c 3. A frog pond, bald eagle’s nest exhibit, nature trail and phenology and butterfly gardens have been added. The Center is open weekends in May and September and every day from Memorial Day to Labor Day, 11-6.
Put-in-Bay Township Park District Our members petitioned and requested a Township Park District be set up to obtain grant fund for the East Point project. Judge Moon appointed Kelly Faris, Lisa Brohl, and Marv Booker as commissioners. Affirmed by a ballot initiative in November of 2007. Current commissioners are Kelly Faris, Lisa Brohl, and Kendra Koehler.
Scheeff East Point Nature Preserve – South Bass Island – 9 acres This was a joint project with Put-in-Bay Township Park District, Western Reserve Land Conservancy, the Conservancy. The purchase was secured with a Section 6, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Grant for $1.8 million. A Clean Ohio Conservation Fund Grant and donations from the Ohio Division of Natural Areas and Preserves, the Ohio Division of Wildlife, First Energy Foundation, Sandusky Eagles Foundation, and private individuals. It was named for major donor Rose Scheeff and was dedicated August 16, 2008. A footpath is maintained by neighbor Mark Barnhill, native trees donated by Brad and Zoe Titchener and Stan and Connie Wulkowicz, and fencing will be added next spring. A purple martin rig was purchased with a grant from the Columbus Zoo by Darlene Sillick. The boxes for a tree swallow grid were constructed by Wally Hall and were installed and maintained by Paula Ziebarth.
Middle Bass Island East Point Preserve – Middle Bass Island – 8 acres This kayak accessible shoreline preserve was dedicated in October of 2010. The property is owned by the Put-in-Bay Township Park District and was purchased with the assistance of the Trust for Public Lands. The property is protected with a conservation easement by the Black Swamp Conservancy. Funds for the purchase came from a Clean Ohio Conservation Fund Grant, Land and Water Conservation Fund, the Ohio Coastal Management Assistance Grant, the Sandusky Eagles Foundation, Friends of Magee Marsh, The Frost Parker Foundation, firelands Audubon, and private donations. The property’s home and garage was removed with a restoration grant from the Lake Erie Protection Fund and donations from the BSBO Young Birders. A walking trail is in place and maintained by Ron Helman.
Additional Acreage Sought: 4 acres on South Bass wooded, $210,000.
Help preserve the natural beauty of the Lake Erie Islands.