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Aug. 15, 2008

Contacts: Mary Dettloff (DNR) 517-335-3014 or Peg Kohring (The
Conservation Fund) 269-426-8825

DNR Director Authorizes Land Purchase to Add to Sterling State Park

Department of Natural Resources Director Rebecca Humphries authorized the department to move forward with a land acquisition at Thursday’s Natural Resources Commission meeting that will add 52 acres to Sterling State Park in Monroe.

Humphries authorized the department to spend $925,000 from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund and $640,445 from the DNR Land Exchange Facilitation Fund, a restricted land acquisition fund, for the property. The DNR is purchasing the property with assistance from The Conservation Fund of Alexandria, Virginia.

“This parcel represents the critical last piece to block in 1,300 acres of land that are already in the park,” said Humphries. “It also is adjacent to park property undergoing an ecological restoration of lakeplain prairie and Great Lakes marsh, which is rare and globally significant.”

Plans are to restore the lakeplain prairie and marsh and associated rare species, such as the king rail, which is on the state endangered list; and the eastern fox snake, which is on the state threatened list. The federally endangered white prairie-fringed orchid and the state threatened Sullivant’s milkweed may be re-establishing as part of therestoration process. Once this habitat is restored, Sterling State Park, including this parcel, will preserve the largest expanse of lakeplain prairie on the western shore of Lake Erie.

“The Conservation Fund played a key role in facilitating this purchase,” Humphries said. “We appreciate their partnership in obtaining this key parcel for Sterling State Park, which is a gateway park to Michigan’s state park system and close to the major population center of southeast Michigan.”

“The Conservation Fund is delighted to provide bridge funding to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources to protect the entrance to Sterling State Park for all to enjoy, and to help conserve the important plant and animal species located there,” said Peg Kohring, Midwest regional director of The Conservation Fund.

The DNR is committed to the conservation, protection, management, use and enjoyment of the state's natural resources for current and future generations.
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