News Briefs

Eagles Nesting at Two LRWP Preserves

Bald eagles nesting near the border of Eagle Marsh have fledged two young in each of the past two years and are busy feeding eaglets again. Last fall, staff discovered a large eagle nest in the 13-acre woods at Arrowhead Marsh, near Roanoke, and this spring they have seen the parents tending to at least two young. While delighted that these majestic birds are breeding at our preserves, we caution visitors to stay at least 100 feet from the nests because distressed adults sometimes abandon their offspring.

Berm Construction at Eagle Marsh

Government construction to enlarge the berm on the Graham-McCulloch Ditch at Eagle Marsh has resumed. For your safety, please stay away from the work area at all times. Remaining 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. All other trails are closed until the work is completed, hopefully by the end of 2015.

Eagle Marsh Trail Maps and Directions

Save these dates for 2015!

  • Wine on the Wetlands - August 14
  • Monarch Festival at Eagle Marsh - September 13
  • Frogapalooza 2015 - October 23

News Updates

Little River Wetlands Project Hosts "Wine on the Wetlands" August 14

NOTE: this event has been RESCHEDULED due to excessive water at Eagle Marsh

Little River Wetlands Project will host its second annual “Wine on the Wetlands,” a wine-tasting fundraiser, from 5 to 8:30 p.m. on Friday, August 14. The event, presented by Aqua Indiana, will take place at LRWP’s Eagle Marsh preserve, 6801 Engle Road, Fort Wayne. Tickets ($35 each) should be reserved in advance as attendance is limited to 400 people.

“It’s a beautiful time of year at the marsh,” says LRWP executive director Amy Silva, “and everyone should have even more fun than at last year’s event.” Guests will sample local wines from Country Heritage, Fruit Hills, McClure’s Orchard, Tonne and Two EE’s wineries, all part of the "WINE Tour" Wineries of Indiana's Northeast. Light appetizers will be provided, with food also available for purchase.

Dress is casual, with the event to take place in the Eagle Marsh barn and a large tent set up for the occasion. Professional musician Kenny Bergle will play light jazz in the background. Guests will receive a commemorative wine glass and can take a guided walk to see the preserve at dusk if they wish.

Call 260-478-2515 for more information or to reserve a place. Attendees must be age 21 or older.

Board members, officers re-elected

At LRWP’s annual meeting on June 17, members present re-elected five board members to new three-year terms: Bill Etzler (board president), Marlene Sloat (finance committee), Kathie Sessions (development committee), Karen Surguine (development committee) and Renee Wright (Facebook page administrator).

At the board meeting that immediately followed, Bill Etzler was re-elected board president, Thom Maher vice president, Marcia Futter treasurer, and Judy Nelsen secretary. Elected or re-elected to serve on the executive committee (chaired by the board president) were board members Marcia Futter, Judy Nelsen, Tom Russell, and Marlene Sloat.

BioBlitz Report Finds Love in Bloom for Threatened Wildlife

If you were a male marsh wren singing to attract a willing mate, would you want to be overheard by scientists interested that you had chosen Eagle Marsh as "an important breeding location"? That was the fate of 14 tiny brown birds with stand-up tails surveyed in last spring’s BioBlitz. Besides singing and breeding, marsh wrens, which are endangered in Indiana, eat mainly insects, spiders and snails.

They weren’t the only imperiled species whose plans for spring love were discovered by the 120+ Indiana Academy of Science experts and volunteers who came from all over the state to survey the plants and animals of Eagle Marsh. The experts worked in teams over a two-day period to gather their data, giving LRWP an invaluable baseline of information about what lives at the marsh.

Probably also interrupted during a tryst were a male and female Blanding’s turtle, found together. These medium-sized turtles with bright yellow throats are highly endangered in Indiana and throughout much of their range. They need clean shallow water and large contiguous habitats to survive, making Eagle Marsh an ideal home.

All the frogs surveyed were at the height of their mating season, with most calling like crazy. Northern leopard frogs, green with black spots, are a species of special concern in Indiana but were "very abundant and found in most habitats," i.e. hopping everywhere, at Eagle Marsh.

Of the six endangered or threatened bird species found, bald eagles and black-crowned night herons are known to nest at or near the preserve, while male marsh wrens obviously hope to. Perhaps the other three—great egrets, black terns, and common nighthawks--were just more private in their courtship.

The report concluded that the findings, "revealed the remarkable species richness and the inherent value" of Eagle Marsh, a wetland restored from farmland less than ten years ago. The presence of so many imperiled wildlife breeding at the preserve also affirms its importance for the future of these species.

Download the full BioBlitz Report

Marsh Wren
Marsh wren, photo by Cephas
Found during two-day BioBlitz # species
Birds 88
Amphibians/reptiles 15
Mammals 21
Fish 31
Aquatic macro-invertebrates 99
Dragonflies/damselflies 17
Butterflies 18
Beetles (not all counted) 64
Snail-killing flies 15
Singing insects 3
Vascular plants 320
Mushrooms/fungi 31

Major berm construction begins at Eagle Marsh

After several years of planning by federal and state agencies, with the help of LRWP staff, the several-million-dollar berm construction project at Eagle Marsh has begun. One of the first tasks completed was a special fence to keep turtles (especially endangered Blanding’s turtles known to live at Eagle Marsh) and snakes from hibernating in the berm along the east side of the Graham-McCulloch Ditch, which will be under construction before they might awaken. Also, some trails at the preserve have been closed to visitors (see News Briefs).

During construction, the berm along the east side of the Graham-McCulloch Ditch at Eagle Marsh will be widened to about 80 feet and built about two feet higher in most places. This larger barrier 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 soil used to enlarge the berm will come from digging out and widening several existing ponds at Eagle Marsh. LRWP preferred not to use soils from elsewhere, which can contain seeds of invasive plants.

After the construction is complete--in 2015 if all goes according to plan—the new berm will be seeded with grasses and LRWP will be responsible for its routine maintenance. The chain-linked fence, built earlier at Eagle Marsh to prevent Asian carp from moving to the Great Lakes watershed during a major flood event, will also be removed and a smaller fence installed in the berm near the railroad tracks.

While this major disruption of our preserve will be uncomfortable, we understand the need to fight problematic invasive species, just as we must always combat non-native invasive plants at our properties.