GREEN OAK TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP)—- Michigan officials plan to breathe new life into a 550-acre former mining site within the Island Lake Recreation Area to make it more attractive to people and animals.
The state’s Department of Natural Resources will seek to add wildlife habitat and recreation areas to the Spring Mill Mine in Green Oak Township park in the coming weeks, The Livingston County Daily Press & Argus (https://bit.ly/1oCKjfG ) reported. The initiative would reshape the land with walking trails, bike paths and observation areas.
Glenn Palmgren, an ecologist at the department, said the new grassland habitat would attract rare and endangered species, including the Henslow’s sparrow, grasshopper sparrow and pheasant. The area would also attract deer, rabbits, foxes and coyotes.
“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,” Palmgren said. “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.”
Although the mine area is attached to the park, it has yet to be reclaimed for recreational use.
The project would remove 5 million tons of sand, gravel, fences, pipes and building foundations that were left over from mining.
Department officials said the project, which could take up to 10 years to complete, will be funded through a state lease agreement instead of tax money. The winning bidder will be allowed to remove and sell about 5 million tons of sand.
Palmgren said the department’s director will likely approve the project after a Natural Resources Commission meeting in September.
Information from: Livingston County Daily Press & Argus, https://www.livingstondaily.com
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