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Western Reserve, Museum Of Natural History Secure Kingsville Swamp Addition

The Cleveland Museum of Natural History’s Kingsville Swamp property in Ashtabula County is expanding by an additional 28 acres of forested habitat, with the help of The Western Reserve Land Conservancy.

The Kingsville Swamp Extension will serve as a buffer for the museum’s nearby 90-acre parcel of swampland. The purchase includes 5.5 acres of wildlife habitat that has become increasingly rare in Ohio.

Much of the state’s forested wetlands and swamp area was lost during colonization, said the conservancy’s Senior Vice President for Conservation Transactions Alex Czayka.

“Any time that we can conserve wetlands, it’s a win for conservation,” Czayka said. “In this situation, the wetlands just so happened to be part of a larger conservation corridor where the museum had already owned significant land, so this was kind of a no-brainer.”

The Western Reserve Land Conservancy purchased the land at an auction in September, officially securing it this week. The conservancy will hold the property for two years while the museum raises the funds to purchase it fully. At that point, Czayka said, the museum will decide what to do with the forested swampland.

“The primary goal here was to conserve the land,” Czayka said. “[The museum] can decide later if they want to include any components of public access, limited access or guided hikes, things like that.”

The area includes wildlife and rare plants, including the only Walter’s St. John’s-wort in Ashtabula County.

The museum been attempting to purchase the parcel since 2003, according to a press release. The land also includes subsurface ground water that supplies cold water springs at the museum’s North Kingsville Sand Barrens.

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