Restoring the Great Lakes: Forest Beach Migratory Preserve

This post is the third in a series that details the innovative Wisconsin conservation projects that are having a positive impact on Great Lakes water quality and that will be featured on our August 10th Great Lakes Restoration Tour.  The tour is open to the public.  For full event details and to register please visit our website

Before Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT) purchased the Squires’ property in 2009 with the support of Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program, the 116-acre-site in Ozaukee County had been used as a golf course. Renamed the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, the site is valuable due to its size and its proximity to Lake Michigan. Part of the property is on the Lake Michigan shore with the majority of the site located just 600 ft inland comprising one of the largest tracts of nearshore open land in Ozaukee County.


The property boasts a 5-acre hardwood forest with seasonal ponds, open grassland and prairie, a partially wooded ravine, and 5 constructed wetland ponds. Due to the property’s location and these characteristics, it is an important area for migratory birds along the Lake Michigan Flyway.  

Since the acquisition of the property, OWLT and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, with the support of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative and other sources, have done a tremendous amount of work to restore wetlands and native plant communities. These changes will help to provide diverse habitats to a wide variety of migratory birds. These habitats will be the temporary stopping points for around 80 rare or declining bird species at some point in their lifecycle.

 Photos courtesy of Ozaukee Washington Land Trust

Please make plans to join us for the Great Lakes Restoration Tour on August 10th and visit this, and other significant Milwaukee-area sites, that are enhancing Great Lakes restoration efforts.