Eagle Marsh is a 716-acre wetland preserve located on the southwest border of Fort Wayne, Indiana. Eight miles of trails allow hikers to access the preserve's varied habitats of shallow-water wetland, sedge meadow, prairie, mature forest and young trees. More than 200 kinds of birds and numerous other wild creatures have been seen at Eagle Marsh, among them 24 bird and two amphibian species endangered or of special concern in Indiana. Bald eagles are seen often at the preserve.
With the adjacent Fox Island County Park and other privately owned natural properties, Eagle Marsh creates almost two square miles of habitat for birds and other wildlife. Your purchase of an environmental license plate helps the Indiana Heritage Trust program of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources help acquire "outstanding natural resources and habitats" like Eagle Marsh, which was partially funded by the IHT and is partially owned by the IDNR. LRWP depends on the support of its members and volunteers for continuing care of the preserve.
The restoration: LRWP acquired Eagle Marsh (then 676 acres) in 2005 and, after extensive planning, began one of the largest wetland restorations ever undertaken in Indiana. Shallow areas were dug deeper, drain tiles broken, and pumps removed to hold more water on the land, approximating its original hydrology. Over 500 acres were seeded with native rushes, grasses, and wildflowers and approximately 45,000 native trees and shrubs planted. The initial restoration was completed in 2009. Intensive stewardship care will be needed for at least five years to protect the new native plants from being overtaken by invasive species such as reed canary grass and phragmites.
The Eagle Marsh woods: Almost thirty acres of mature forested wetland at the southeast corner of Eagle Marsh were acquired in 2007 and 2008, and another 11 acres were added in 2010. This woods provides important habitat for many birds and animals that need large trees, sandy soil, or leaf litter to complete their life cycles--such as the black-crowned night heron and blue-spotted salamander, both species of special concern in Indiana.
We've carved out a woods trail for hikers and birders, accessible when it's not too wet. The best way to see it is to attend one of our Tuesday morning Little River Ramblers hikes that leave from the Eagle Marsh barn off of Engle Road, one-half mile east of West Jefferson Blvd. in Fort Wayne during spring, summer, and early fall.
Eagle Marsh becomes more wonderful every year. Please visit this unique preserve.