Eagle Marsh is a 831-acre wetland nature preserve located on the southwest border of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Fourteen+ miles of trails allow hikers to access the preserve's varied habitats of shallow-water wetland, sedge meadow, prairie, mature forest and young trees. With adjacent Fox Island County Park and other privately owned natural land, Eagle Marsh creates almost two square miles of habitat for birds and other wildlife. More than 245 kinds of birds and numerous other wild creatures have been seen there, among them 28 bird, two amphibian and one reptile species endangered or of special concern in Indiana. Bald eagles are often found at the preserve and have a raised several eaglets nearby.
LRWP acquired Eagle Marsh (then 676 acres) in 2005 with help from the federal Wetlands Reserve Program, the Indiana Heritage Trust of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy of Indiana, foundations, and LRWP members. Then began one of the largest wetland restorations ever undertaken in Indiana. Shallow areas were dug deeper, drain tiles broken, and pumps removed to hold more water on the land, approximating its original hydrology. Over 500 acres were seeded with native rushes, grasses, and wildflowers and more than 45,000 native trees and shrubs planted.
Forty more acres of forested wetland were added to Eagle Marsh between 2007 and 2010. This mature woods provides important habitat for many birds and animals that need large trees, sandy soil, or leaf litter to complete their life cycles.
In 2019, 75 acres were added to Eagle Marsh, located at the southeast corner of Engle and Smith Roads, across from the LRWP office. This mostly untouched land is heavily wooded, and has been left undisturbed as far as back as the 1938 aerials of the area show.
We Need Your Help
LRWP depends on the support provided by its members and volunteers for the continuing care of Eagle Marsh. Intensive stewardship is needed every year to protect the preserve’s native plants from being overtaken by invasive plant species— and this care is expensive. Can you help? Please donate or apply to volunteer now.
Eagle Marsh becomes more wonderful every year. Be sure to visit this unique preserve.
In 2010 scientists became aware that Asian carp, a problematic alien fish that had invaded the Wabash River, could reach the Great Lakes during a major flood event at Eagle Marsh because the preserve is on a continental divide. Later, federal and state agencies became concerned that a number of invasive aquatic species might cross either way between the Mississippi River and Great Lakes watersheds in such a flood. To prevent this, during 2014 and 2015 they expanded an existing berm of the Graham-McCulloch Ditch that runs through Eagle Marsh and made other changes to the hydrology of the preserve.