Important Bird Areas

Kakagon-Bad River Wetlands & Forest Corridor

Wisconsin

This site encompasses Long Island, the wetland complex of the lower Bad and Kakagon rivers in northern Ashland County, and the forest corridors of the Bad, White, Potato and Marengo rivers. Most of this IBA falls within the Bad River Indian Reservation; Long Island is part of the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore. The wetland complex is one of the most extensive, diverse, and least disturbed coastal wetland communities in the Great Lakes region (the largest on Lake Superior), and includes extensive wild rice beds, sedge meadow, emergent marsh, coastal fen, tamarack swamp, and shrub swamp. Long Island contains extensive beach and dune communities as well as areas of dry pine/oak forest. The forested river corridors are composed of aspen, red maple, mixed boreal hardwoods and conifers, bottomland hardwoods, and black ash.

Ornithological Summary

This IBA harbors an incredibly rich and diverse mix of breeding birds of forest, shrub, and wetland habitats. Many high conservation priority species are represented here. The marshes, conifer swamps and shrub wetlands of the wetland complex support such diverse breeding species as Yellow Rail, Virginia Rail, Northern Harrier, Sedge Wren, Le Conte?s Sparrow, Northern Waterthrush, Blackburnian Warbler, and Golden-winged Warbler. The forested river corridors are particularly important for breeding neotropical migrants such as Ovenbird, Canada Warbler, Nashville Warbler, Black-throated Green Warbler, and Mourning Warbler. The area is an outstanding migratory concentration area in both fall and spring, hosting tens of thousands of passerines, raptors, shorebirds, and waterbirds. Long Island is one of only two known nesting sites for the federally endangered Piping Plover in Wisconsin and the only known site on the Wisconsin Lake Superior shoreline.

Conservation Issues

The Bad River Natural Resources Department (BRNRD) works independently and in conjunction with partners such as the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission, the National Park Service, and Northland College to monitor, manage, and protect important natural and cultural resources both on the Reservation and on ceded territories. The Bad River Integrated Resources Management Plan (Elias 2001) guides much of this work and directs the conservation and sustainable use of natural resources. Even so, a major threat to the Piping Plover, which currently nests only on Long Island, is human use of the extensive beaches there. The BRNRD works with the National Park Service, The Nature Conservancy, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and others to develop long-term protection, monitoring, and management strategies so that the plovers may continue to successfully nest and raise young there.