The East Interlake Conservation Districts has many reasons, big and small, to protect natural habitat in the Icelandic River watershed, not the least of which are the Ghosts. Ghost plants, also known as Indian Pipes, are a type of plant that doesn’t get its energy from the sun but rather takes it from surrounding trees. Because the plants don’t require any sunlight, they can grow in densely wooded, damp, dark areas. This type of habitat is exactly what is provided on the Obiedzinski property.
This mix of woodland and wetland habitat is also of interest to the EICD as a natural area that it would like to conserve as part of the Icelandic River Integrated Watershed Management Plan that was recently completed. Part of the plan was to draw on the knowledge of local landowners and officials to come up with solutions to the area’s flooding problems and habitat protection needs. The balancing act was to find solutions that would sustain the local agricultural economy while at the same time enhancing or protecting the natural environment.
To achieve this objective, the Icelandic River watershed was divided into two sections, an agricultural zone and an area targeted for wetland and natural area protection. The idea behind these regions was simple, keep the water in the wetlands, not on the fields.
Stanley and Theresa Obiedzinski live in the area targeted for “natural area protection” and therefore their 62 acres of woodlands and wetlands was eligible to be conserved through the EICD.
A partnership between the MHHC and the EICD has made this project happen. “Protecting this habitat is like buying biodiversity insurance for the future”, said Armand Belanger, EICD Manager; “All surrounding this habitat, land is being drained and, if sold, these habitats would also be at risk. We wanted to work with Stan and Theresa to protect this natural area and reward them for being good stewards of the land.” Using funds provided by the EICD and securement delivery expertise from the MHHC, the Obiedzinski’s can rest assured that their bush will forever be a feature on the Interlake landscape and the “Ghosts” will haunt the woodland for centuries