Spring Mill Mine to become grassland habitat

Brian Ethridge

August 14, 2014

PrauThe state of Michigan is planning to turn a large portion of Spring Mill Mine into a grasslands habitat that would become home to endangered birds and mammals.

The state Department of Natural Resources plans to seek bids reshape and recontour the 550-acre long-dormant Spring Mill Mine located within the Island Lake Recreation Area. When all is said and done, DNR officials say the finished product would include walking trails, bike paths and nature observation stations.

If the project moves forward it will be done without tax money.

“We thought it was a great opportunity to have a much larger area of grassland within Island Lake to provide habitat for those prairie- and grassland-dependent wildlife. We’re pretty confident that we’d start to see a good number of grassland-dependent species showing up there just because we have seen them occasionally at the park in the past,” Glenn Palmgren, ecologist with the DNR’s Stewardship Unit, said.

Spring Mill was primarily mined for sand and gravel by several companies from the 1930s to the 1980s. The grasslands project would require reshaping currently unstable slopes on the land and removing fences, pipes and other building foundations left over from mining.

The work would likely take around 10 years to complete and would be done under a state lease agreement.

Recently Aggregates Manager showcased the beautiful restoration of Bluff Spring Fen which took years. One can only wonder how beautiful this grasslands project will look once it’s complete.

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