Located in southeastern Crawford County, Erie NWR contains over 2,500 acres of wetlands, including beaver floodings, marshes, swamps, creeks, wet meadows, and man-made impoundments. The refuge consists of two separate land divisions. Sugar Lake Division is the more heavily managed portion and lies in a narrow valley that includes Woodcock Creek and Lake Creek. Seneca Division is situated in a forested valley with wetlands associated with Muddy Creek and Dead Creek. The refuge lands also include mixed forest, grasslands, and cultivated fields as a result of a cooperative farming program. In addition to birds, the refuge is a haven for numerous rare plants and animal species and critically endangered habitats such as a five-acre shrub fen.
Directions: From Meadville take Rt. 27 E approx. 8.5 miles.
For conservation plan, click here
For fact sheet, click here
The southern unit(Sugar Lake Division) was
identified through the forest block analysis conducted by the Eastern Forest
Project of the National Audubon Society in 2013 as being included in a large forest block that ranked in the top 8% of blocks in BCR 13. This division is included within the Upper Allegheny Forest Block IBA.
The diversity and large size of the wetland areas in the refuge support a great variety of plants and invertebrates, which in turn support numerous and diverse birds. Over 236 species have been recorded, of which 112 breed at the site. The refuge is a migratory stopover for waterfowl and shorebirds. Waterfowl numbers in spring and fall peak at around 2,500, with an additional 4,500 Canada Geese. Shorebird numbers peak at about 200. Wood Duck are the most numerous breeding waterfowl in the refuge; this is one of the highest density areas in the state for the species. Sedge Wren may regularly nest.
Erie NWR was established in 1959 primarily to provide waterfowl with nesting, feeding, brooding, and resting habitats. Secondary objectives include providing habitat to support a diversity of other wildlife species and to enhance opportunities for wildlife-oriented public recreation and environmental education. Future plans call for more than doubling the amount of manageable habitat now available. Grasslands are being developed near wetlands to provide nesting habitat and to attract grassland species (e.g. Henslow's Sparrow, Upland Sandpiper). Preque Isle Audubon Society has been involved with the refuge for over a decade and is the "ARK (Audubon Refuge Keeper)" group for the site.