Site by Manitowoc marina is being turned into a songbird habitat

MANITOWOC, Wis. (WBAY) - A more than $20,000 grant by the US Fish and Wildlife Service is being used to make a songbird migration habitat in Manitowoc.

A collection site for lake and river sediment by the Manitowoc marina will slowly be turned into a haven for a variety of songbird species by Woodland Dunes Nature Center and Preserve.

"We're planting a variety of not only trees and shrubs, most of the shrubs are native species to the area and especially those that produce fruit that these migrating songbirds will eat as they're traveling, but we're also planting native grasses," said Jim Knickelbine, Executive Director of Woodland Dunes Nature Center and Preserve.

Before areas along the lake were developed, the birds could stop anywhere to rest and eat, but over time these areas have disappeared.

"Now there are certain places that they look for, and because there's fewer areas like that, the ones that remain or can be established, are all the more important," said Knickelbine.

"Even though we don't realize how important maybe wildlife is to us, it is very important to have the bio diversity that we have and to have a good ecosystem to live in,” said Julia Adams, an intern for Woodland Dunes Nature Center and Preserve.

More than 300 species of birds use the collection site along the lakeshore for their migratory periods in the spring and fall.

The project will take three years to finish. A walking trail for people is part of the overall plan.

"People come out here just to be close to nature and close to the water, and we'll be creating a pleasant place for them to take a stroll," added Knickelbine.

"We want the community to be aware of environments around them and this is a pretty big environment especially since there are lots of birds that are here and other animals that are native to this area," says Adams.