Parkland Home to Trumpeter Swans Saved
Just before the New Year, the City completed the purchase of 27 acres of parkland in the Nixon area, just north and northeast of the Oakwoods Nature Area. Today, the City’s Natural Area Preservation group received access to the park.
Starting almost exactly a year ago, the Nixon Area Alliance and its members including several community leaders, sought to preserve the large wetland lake the locals like to call a Lake Ariel, that is home to Trumpeter Swans. Multiple mating pairs of Trumpeter Swans, cygnets, and nests have been seen on the lake and on the lake to the south, Lake Zoey, and at times, flying between the two. Along with the swans, the wetland lake hosts waterfowl including Great White Herons, almost every species of frog and toad in Michigan, salamanders, turtles including the Eastern Box Turtle and uncommonly large snapping turtles. Alice Elliott, also observed an osprey, which with the swans, and deafening sound of frogs and toads during rainy spring nights, indicates the clean water quality in the wetland lake.
The large wetland lake complex that is being saved is also a crucial part of the Traver Creek Watershed, forming the headwaters of the creek, and supply oxygen and other nuritents that are essential to the Watershed. The wetland complex and its water courses from the origin of one of last and few limited clean water resources that provide water to the Huron River and its watershed within the City.
The Nixon Area Alliance joined with Barclay Park Condominium Association and area neighbors to negotiate with the developer, BRE Nixon, to offer the parkland to the City and who has plans to develop the land next door to the large wetland lake. The City paid $277,000 for the property as part of a development agreeement. One Orchard Hills neighbor and NAA Board Member has wanted this wetland lake saved for decades.
Many thank yous to everyone who attended meetings of all sorts, helped find expertise, go door to door, and the numerous other activities in support of our efforts. Thank you for the exemplary dedication shown by William Quinn, Amy Seetoo, Kami Meader, Wendy Carman, Lakshmi Raman, Jack Cederquist. Special Thanks to Dave Friedrichs, property manager for Arbor Hills and Barclay Park; James D’Amour and the Sierra Club of Ann Arbor; the Ward 1 & 2 City Council Members.
There is also much appreciation for professional services provided by Chris Grobbel of Grobbel Environmental Planning Associates, Bill Collins of Huron Ecologic, Bill Schneider of Wildtype Plants, Paul Biarley, and Richard Klein of Community Environmental & Defense Services, along with legal support from Ross Hammersley and Kate Redman of Olson, Bzdok, and Howard, who were instrumental in demonstrating the environmental and hydrologic value of the wetland complex, and in providing information on the laws that protect it.
Written by Jane Klingsten, President of the Nixon Area Alliance (mostly by default), a long time neighbor that grow up across the street in northeast Ann Arbor.