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Lost Creek

Back to Eastern Lake Superior

Counties: Bayfield


Lost Creek. Aerial view of Lost Creek, 15 Oct. 1996. Note houses (with trails leading to Lake Superior beach) on barrier beach, Photograph, E.J. Epstein

Site Description

This site includes the Lost Creek Bog State Natural Area.

This estuarine complex is located at the drowned mouths of three small creeks, just south of Lake Superior. A forested coastal barrier spit separates the wetlands from the lake. Sandstone headlands flank the sandspit and estuary on the east and west. The major communities within the site are coastal fen, coastal bog, and shrub swamp. The lagoon at the junction of the creeks contains significant stands of emergent, submergent, and floating-leaved aquatic macrophytes. The eastern end of the complex is forested with a shrubby second-growth stand of white cedar and black ash. A mature dry forest of pine and spruce occurs on the sandspit, upon which a number of cabins and an access road have been built.

The fen community is well-developed on the west and north sides of the central lagoon. The mat is composed of woolly sedge, livid sedge, buckbean, sweet gale, and alpine cotton grass. Boggier areas with firmly grounded moss peat are composed of Sphagnum spp., ericaceous shrubs, and sedges. Community boundaries are quite indistinct between these types. The emergent marsh is composed of lake sedge, water arum, marsh cinquefoil, and broad-leaved cattail. Characteristic submergent and floating-leaved species are floating-leaved bur-reed, water-milfoils, yellow water lily, common bladderwort, water-marigold, and pondweeds.

Additional Comments

Though Lost Creek is not a large site, at least fourteen rare species of plants, birds, and butterflies were documented here by NHI during a previous study (Epstein et al 1997). Among the rarities is one of only three established Wisconsin populations of the regionally rare plant, lake cress. A portion of this site is designated as a State Natural Area, but increasing developments on the sandspit adjacent to the wetlands could threaten water quality and make the area unsuitable for sensitive species. Increased powerboat traffic in the lagoon could damage the aquatic beds and lead to the inadvertent introduction of invasive species. Promoting awareness of this site's values with local residents should be a priority for those with stewardship responsibilities and interests.

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