Wednesday, June 12, 2024

Breaking Island News

USA: Another Two Lake Michigan Private Islands Preserved For Future Generations

Wisconsin’s Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge is set to expand by approx. 1,290 acres as the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service announces the purchase of St. Martin Island and the Rocky Islands.

  • The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy) has announced the purchase of Martin Island and the Rocky Island Group
  • The islands, which form part of Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Island Chain, are set to be added to the Green Bay National Refuge (Wisconsin)
  • Both St. Martin Island and the Rocky Islands form an important habitat to a series of rare species of flora and fauna, including a vast array of migratory and nesting birds
St Martin Island, Wisconsin - Photo Courtesy of

St Martin Island, Wisconsin – Photo Courtesy of


The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, working in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, has announced the purchase of two islands in Wisconsin. Both Rocky Island and 1,260 acres of St. Martin Island now look set to form part of the Green Bay National Wildlife Refuge.

Whilst the official sales price has not been announced, sources close to the organizations suggest that the islands we sold for below market value.


Nature Protection Zone Increases Five-Fold

The purchase of the islands has seen the size of the refuge increase almost five-fold – adding a further 1,290 acres to the formerly 330-acre-large conservation zone.

Both St. Martin Island and the smaller Rocky Island forms part of Lake Michigan’s Grand Traverse Chain – an area between Wisconsin and the Upper Peninsula popularly referred to as the “Stepping Stones.”

St. Martin Island is located at the tip of the Door Peninsula, roughly five miles away from Washington and Rock Islands, whereas Rocky Island can be found closer to Little Summer Island, approximately two miles of Michigan’s Garden Peninsula.

Long-Lasting, Positive Impact for Wisconsin’s Wildlife

The acquisition of the islands – which, thanks to their bluffs, forests, wetlands and cobblestone beaches, form an invaluable habitat to a vast assortment of rare flora and fauna – looks set to have a long-lasting, positive impact on the region’s ecology.

As well as supporting a series of rare snails, dragonflies, bats, plants and fish, both St Martin and Rocky Island also serve as an important stopping point for an impressive collection of migratory birds. It is thought that St Martin alone hosts no fewer than 43 neo-tropical birds and a further 26 species during either the migration or breeding seasons.

“Having these islands protected in perpetuity ensures that there are these stopover places for [the birds] to land, whether they need to stop and rest or refuel, or if there’s bad weather,” explained Nicole van Helden, Director of the Conservancy’s Green Bay Watershed Project.

Management Plan to be Drawn Up Soon

Whilst a management plan is yet to be finalized, it is thought that the islands will be managed primarily through planning and regulation.  Until these plans are implemented by refuge staff, however, general public access and all other activities will require a refuge permit.

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