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Point au Sable

Back to Northern Lake Michigan

Counties: Brown


Point au Sauble. Aerial view shot during high water period. Note the two inlets to the inner lagoon. The westernmost inlet is now no longer functioning. Photograph by UWGB Biodiversity Center staff.

Site Description

Point au Sable is a small peninsula owned by the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay, extending from the southeastern shoreline of Lower Green Bay in northeastern Brown County. This site lies at the zone of transition from sandy lakeplain in the lower bay to steep till bluff and bedrock escarpment along the eastern shore of Green Bay. This is one of very few wetlands on the eastern shoreline of Green Bay. The point's location and the dynamic nature of its estuarian wetland make this site a local hotspot for birds and other fauna. Wetland communities present here include hardwood swamp, shrub swamp, emergent marsh, open water lagoons, sedge meadow and beach. This site has been preserved from development owing to a private duck-hunting club purchasing the area in the late 1800's an dthen being acquired by UW - Green Bay.

The primary wetland community is an emergent marsh composed mostly of cattails and common reed bordering a lagoon in the interior of a hook-shaped peninsula. The wetland experiences alterations due to fluctuations in Green Bay water levels. A stream flows through the wetland, and there are many areas of open water. The extent of marsh vegetation varies with water level fluctuations that are an integral part of the wetland ecology of Green Bay.

Lower Green Bay has a history of being heavily polluted. The extent to which pollution affects Point au Sable is unknown, although dumping of industrial and other wastes formerly occurred offshore.

Regular surveys of the resident and migrant birds have documented a rich diversity of species including waterfowl, passerines, raptors and shorebirds. Many rare birds have been seen here, generally as migrants.

Additional Comments

This site is small and degraded by past uses of the lower bay but is one of the very few wetlands on the east side of Green Bay. Use by migratory birds is significant.

Text describing this site was published previously in a 2002 DNR publication entitled “A Data Compilation and Assessment of Coastal Wetlands of Wisconsin’s Great Lakes” by E.J. Epstein, A. Galvin and W.A. Smith.

NOAA logo Wisconsin Coastal Management Program logo This project was funded by the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Office of Ocean and Coastal Resource Management under the Coastal Zone Management Act.

Last revised: Wed, 20 Jun 2012 17:21:12 CDT