Steinen Wildlife Area, one of several key protected natural areas along the southern shoreline of Lake Erie, is part of East Sandusky Bay MetroPark located along the southern shoreline of Lake Erie. This 155 acre natural area protects an extraordinary freshwater marsh and uplands rich in critical wildlife food and cover.
From the most northern tip of the wildlife area the extended view of East Sandusky Bay is open and inspiring. Steinen Wildlife Area includes three neighboring parcels, all adjacent to U. S. Rt. 6 between Huron and Sandusky. The east and west parcels are bounded on the north by Lake Erie, and the southern most parcel by Perkins Avenue.
A wide variety of wildlife and waterfowl species are supported by the east and west parcels along East Sandusky Bay. It is an important stop over point along the Mississippi and Atlantic Flyway, one of the largest bird migration routes in the eastern U.S. Migratory birds following the flyway depend upon the wetlands to provide them with the food and rest they need to finish their migration. Year-round local inhabitants such as American Bald Eagles and Whitetailed Deer depend upon the uplands and marshlands food and shelter during harsh Ohio winters. A biological survey of wildlife and plant species visiting or living in the area is underway. Sixty-five species of birds, including neotropical migrant warblers, have been observed along the Bay. A previous survey found more than 180 species of plants, some of which are threatened.
The northern most parts of the east and west parcels are greatly influenced by the water level of adjacent Lake Erie and some sections are presently underwater. Along with other wetlands in East Sandusky Bay MetroPark, the marsh here is currently in the process of being reclaimed from the invasive alien grass known as phragmites. Former upland farm fields have been planted in buckwheat, corn or grain sorghum for wildlife food and cover.
While being a part of Steinen Wildlife Area, the south parcel is very different from the east and west parcels. On the site is the Erie County Ohio Bicentennial Barn. A neighbor’s horses continue to graze on private pastureland adjacent to the Barn
Careful planning will help ensure that the natural resources and cultural and historic heritage of the area are preserved. Visitors to the wildlife area will enjoy an opportunity to experience and appreciate our natural world. The property helps achieve a greater balance of growth and green space for our community. Future plans include scheduled interpretive programs for bird watching, nature walks and local history studies, and seasonal controlled hunting. No drinking water or restrooms are currently available on the site. Parts of the area may be seasonally hunted by Special Permit only.
Through the vision and commitment of Gilbert Steinen, Jr. the greater East Sandusky Bay MetroPark, of which the Steinen Wildlife Area is a part, was achieved. Steinen Wildlife Area acquisition was made possible through partnership effort in 2003 between the Trust for Public Land, The Nature Conservancy, Erie MetroParks, local landowners and community leaders, the Clean Ohio Conservation Fund, the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Coastal and Estuarine Land Conservation Program, along with Senator Mike Dewine and State Representative Marcy Kaptur.
Neighboring East Sandusky Bay MetroPark Properties:
4501 Cleveland Rd W (U.S. 6)
Huron, OH 44839
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