Conservancy has plans for S. Bass Island

Staff Writer

A three-part acquisition program is central to a major conservation project being undertaken by the Lake Erie Islands Conservancy and Put-in-Bay Township Park District on South Bass Island.
The partnership has a goal of acquiring a total of 30 acres.
The first phase of the project at Duff Woods Preserve has been completed and is open to the public. Nearly 14 acres of island forest comprise the preserve. A trail and small parking area allow visitors to walk among karst features, including a cave, sinkholes, and rock outcrops.
The partnership is also looking to purchase 6.5 acres close to downtown Put-in-Bay. The acreage includes the historic Duff Homestead with about 150 feet of natural bayfront property, a mature forest, and two acres of meadow that will be used for pollinator habitat.
The bayfront is a nursery area for yellow perch, sunfish, and minnows. It also hosts a submerged plant community that supports remnant populations of bowfin and gar.
The property is an environment for native resident and migratory species, including the Monarch butterfly, bats, and songbirds and a habitat for rare species such as the Lake Erie water snake, Eastern Fox snake, and the Eastern Garter snake.
White-tailed deer, red fox, and an occasional coyote are also found there.
The Duff home will be used as a visitor center and park district office.
A Clean Ohio grant of about $1.3 million has been awarded for the second phase of the project.
The park district has received an additional $500,000 in pledges from the Lake Erie Islands Conservancy, Julene M. Market Fund, and others.
About $200,000 is still needed to complete the purchase.
Under the third phase, a historic farm park will be created with the purchase of 11 acres of vineyards, outbuildings, an orchard, and garden. The park district goal is to maintain the vineyard as a working farm and hold classes, workshops, and special events.
The Lake Erie Islands Conservancy is working with the Port Clinton office of Edward Jones Financial to provide a process for the charitable donation of stocks, bonds, and other financial instruments to the LEIC.
Donations can be sent to the Put-in-Bay Township Park District, P.O. Box 177, Put-in-Bay, Ohio, 43456. For electronic donations, the conservancy has a donation button on its website.
The conservancy and park district have preserved more than 155 acres of natural areas on South and Middle Bass Islands.


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