Dayton Wet Prairie Preserve
Dayton Wet Prairie, located on Curran Road in Bertrand Township, is a 40-acre mosaic of wetland communities containing a variety of grasses, flowers and shrubs. In addition to the wetlands, McCoy Creek meanders through the property and several old man-made ditches are present. According to an ecological survey of the property, there are several state-listed threatened and endangered plant and animal species found here.
Chikaming Open Lands’ management of Dayton Wet Prairie is focused on restoring the native wetland plant community through removal of invasive species and restoring the natural hydrology of the wetland. In 2012, four cedar plank "plugs" were installed in the ditches to block water flow. These structures reduced the water flow in the ditch, forcing the water to back up and saturate the land. Efforts to remove invasive plant species are ongoing, and controlled burns are also used periodically to stimulate growth of the native grasses and wildflowers.
Dayton Wet Prairie sits at the north end of Terre Coupee Prairie, which with Rolling Prairie and Portage Prairie together comprised an area of 15,000 to 20,000 acres in Northwest Indiana and Southwest Michigan. The preserve as it is drawn today was originally acquired by The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in two parts: the first 20 acre parcel on the north side of Curran Road was donated to TNC in 1978, and the 20 acre south of Curran Road was purchased by TNC in 1985. In 2012, TNC transferred the preserve to Chikaming Open Lands.
Currently, there are no trails at Dayton Wet Prairie Preserve. Due to the sensitive nature of the property and ongoing restoration efforts, we ask that you contact us if you wish to visit and tour the nature preserve.