Bald eagles that have raised young at Arrowhead Marsh for the past two years have moved to a new nest nearby. The eagle pair that raised young at Eagle Marsh for the past three years have lost their nest in a dispute with a great horned owl, although they're still hanging out at the marsh--watch our Facebook page for the latest news.
More than 2,500 people visited LRWP’s Earth Day Fort Wayne at Eagle Marsh on April 24, setting a new record for attendance at any LRWP event. Moving through large tents and outdoor stations on the beautiful sunny day, they voted on the best decorated rain barrel, entered a drawing to win prizes, stopped at sponsors’ booths featuring conservation tips, heard expert presentations, and bought native plants or planted some at Eagle Marsh.
Children, who were about half of those attending, enjoyed many activities especially for them, such as building a “better bug” or dipping in the preserve’s shallow ponds to discover what creatures live there.
The rain barrel painted by Girl Scout Troop 00447 won first place as judged on appearance, theme, and the story the group provided. A picture of the troop and its barrel will be on display at next year’s event. The Minion barrel made by Croninger Elementary School grades 3-5 won the People’s Choice award.
Thanks to all who attended and the many volunteers at Earth Day Fort Wayne 2016.
Our thanks to these generous Earth Day Fort Wayne presenting sponsors:
The trails closed during last year’s construction at Eagle Marsh may look like they’re ready for visitors since a cover crop of native Virginia rye has begun to appear. But looks are deceptive—they’re still closed, probably until fall. That’s when permanent native plants, to be seeded this spring, will be well enough established to prevent erosion of the berm and provide habitat for native wildlife.
Still open are Trails 1 and 2 at the west end of the preserve; Trails 7, 8 and 9 east of the gravel road leading to the barn; and the southern part of Trail 6. We appreciate everyone’s consideration in staying off construction area trails until they reopen.
Walk or bike the Towpath Trail past the northeast corner of Engle Road and Smith Road in Fort Wayne, and you will see signs identifying the site as part of Eagle Marsh. It will soon be deeded to LRWP, but the government’s work of restoring the property to wetland continues, with the presence of heavy equipment, seeding, and planting expected until midsummer. This 38-acre addition, which is two acres larger than we were originally told, brings the size of our favorite preserve to a whopping 754 acres.
LRWP, the Fort Wayne Children’s Zoo, and IPFW’s Environmental Resources Center are partnering this year to offer Families4Nature, a year-long calendar of programs and events at all three organizations to encourage parents and kids to explore the outdoors, with a kickoff event at the zoo on April 30. Families who complete simple outdoor activities such as taking walks or collecting leaves, or who attend outdoor programs or events at any of the three partner locations, can fill out and turn in a Nature Passport for a free child's Zoo ticket. View upcoming Families4Nature events or download and print out the Nature Passport at kidszoo.org/conservation/you-can-help/. The Passport can also be picked up at the Kickoff Event.
Families can download and print the Nature Passport and see upcoming Families4Nature events at kidszoo.org/conservation/you-can-help/. Families4Nature is funded in part by the Association of Zoos & Aquariums’ Disney Conservation Fund and the Prophet Sisters Foundation.
The several-million-dollar federal construction project at Eagle Marsh, begun in 2014, is now complete except for the replanting and regrowth of native plants in impacted areas. During the work that ended in late 2015, federal contractors built a taller and much wider berm on the east side of the Graham-McCulloch Ditch all the way from Engle Road to the railroad tracks on the southwest side of the preserve. They also installed a small chain-link fence in the berm near the railroad tracks, took down the larger Asian carp fence put up in 2010, and completed a number of smaller projects.
The larger berm is designed to make sure that when the St Marys River (which flows toward Lake Erie) experiences a significant flood event and sends water back down Junk Ditch into Eagle Marsh, it will not mix with high water from the Graham-McCulloch Ditch, which flows toward the Wabash. The new berm, fence and drainage reconstruction will prevent Asian carp from crossing into the Great Lakes basin in a major flood event.
This spring, nearly 45 acres impacted by the construction will be resown with native plants and five acres of trees replanted to replace those lost. The new plantings will grow over time, and visitors will benefit from improvements such as a 5K trail to be built along the top of the berm and an additional parking area (used for construction equipment) remaining for our use. Note that some trails at the preserve remain closed to visitors, probably until sometime this spring. (See above).