CLEVELAND — Kingsville Swamp, nearly 90 acres of pristine natural habitat in Ashtabula County, is expanding after Western Reserve Land Conservancy acquired 28 acres of forested habitat that sits adjacent to the Cleveland Museum of Natural History-owned swamp.
The Land Conservancy purchased the 28-acre property at auction on Sept. 25. The organization secured 5.5 acres of pristine forested habitat for up to two years while the museum secures funding to buy the habitat, which would add 28 acres to the Kingsville Swamp.
“It’s a huge win any time you can improve and expand a high-quality natural resource such as Kingsville Swamp,” said Alex Czayka, senior vice president for conservation transactions at Western Reserve Land Conservancy, in a news release. “The natural habitat we secured could have been timbered or otherwise altered in a way that would not only detract from its own vitality, but also adversely impact the Kingsville Swamp. We are glad to work with our partners at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History on a solution that is beneficial for all.”
This acquisition is a major win for the two organizations as the current 90-acre Kingsville Swamp contains lush ferns and rare and unique flora and fauna including the only Ashtabula County occurrence of the Ohio-threatened Walter’s St. John’s wort.
Jim Bissell, museum director of natural areas, said the museum has made repeated attempts to purchase the parcel since initiating a campaign to protect the swamp in 2003.
The 28-acre extension will ensure subsurface flow of ground water to dozens of cold-water springs at the museum's North Kingsville Sand Barrens, located one mile north of Kingsville Swamp.