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S-20.  

Long Island-Chequamegon Point

Back to Eastern Lake Superior

Counties: Ashland

Photos:

Chequamegon Point. Aerial view of Long Island and Chequamegon Point, 15 October 1996. Photograph by E.J. Epstein.


Site Description

Western Lake Superior's most extensive and least disturbed coastal barrier spit separates the waters of Chequamegon Bay from Lake Superior. The natural dynamics of erosion and deposition are expressed in the changing size and shape of the spit over time. An especially vivid example of this occurred following a severe November storm in the late 1970s when Long Island and Chequamegon Point were joined. Important communities at the site include Great Lakes beach and dune, xeric forest, interdunal wetland, open bog, shrub swamp, and wet sand flats. While wetlands cover only a very small percentage of the site, the interdunal ponds located near the western end of Long Island are a very rare community statewide and also provide habitat for several rare plants. The bogs of the ridge and swale system on the Chequamegon Bay side of the island generally contain a subset of the common bog ericads and sedges. Wet sand flats occur along Chequamegon Bay at the former gap between the point and the island. The flora is an interesting mix of plants from many wetland communities. This area attracts significant numbers of migrating shorebirds when water levels are favorable. The beach and dune system is best developed where active deposition of sand is occurring. Owing to wind, wave, and ice exposure the beaches are unvegetated. The dune vegetation is composed mostly of marram grass and beach-pea. The island continues to attract large numbers of gulls, terns, and sometimes shorebirds and raptors. Rare dune insects, absent from other dune systems on western Lake Superior, occur here. Most of Long Island is forested with mature stands of jack, red and white pine, as well as Hill's oak. During the spring, large numbers of passerines and raptors migrate through this area.


Additional Comments

This site comprises the most intact coastal barrier spit system on western Lake Superior. Included are excellent examples of both rare and widespread natural communities. A number of rare species are resident here, some of them specialized to dune environments. The site is used heavily by migratory birds. Of great added significance is the role this coastal barrier spit plays in protecting the vast wetlands of the Bad and Kakagon river systems just to the south.


Last revised: Wed, 20 Jun 2012 17:21:11 CDT