Save the Dunes secured $80,000 to contribute to the purchase of a Marsh Master for the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. A Marsh Master is a large, amphibious vehicle that can lightly maneuver across wetlands and control extensive areas of invasive common reed and hybrid cattail, among other non-native species. This piece of equipment is considered a game changer for large-scale wetland restoration work because it allows land managers to control hundreds of acres of invasive species in a short period of time as opposed to more labor and time-intensive mechanical methods. Removal of invasive species allows for the re-establishment of native species and helps restore ecosystem health and function.
A project that this equipment will benefit is the restoration of the Cowles Bog Wetland Complex, which has been in progress for a number of years thanks to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The Cowles Bog Restoration Project is important because it is bringing new life back to the wetlands. The National Park Service is restoring Cowles Bog Wetland Complex to increase native plant and animal diversity, provide a rest stop for migratory birds near Lake Michigan’s southern tip, protect rare species of plants, create a high quality plant and animal habitat, protect the beaches and improve Lake Michigan’s water quality by reducing and controlling runoff, enhance educational opportunities for students and the public, and most importantly, to leave a natural resource legacy for future generations. Access to a Marsh Master will allow the National Park Service to continue work on this ecologically significant site and the entirety of Great Marsh, the largest interdunal wetland present on the Lake Michigan shoreline.
Save the Dunes is proud to support the continued efforts of the National Park Service in maintaining the ecosystem health, function, and biodiversity that make the Indiana Dunes such a special place.