The Bell Slip Sand Barren Preserve
Select Volunteers Needed at the Bell Slip Preserve During Italian Heritage Festival
July 13-16 2017
The Outer Harbor Management Group, which is responsible for Outer Harbor activities this summer, has agreed to let the Our Outer Harbor Coalition provide volunteers to help manage parking away from the Bell Slip Sand Barren Preserve and to introduce visitors to the Preserve during the Italian Heritage Festival. The Festival runs Thursday through Sunday and is open daily from 11am until 11pm. We need a select group to help prevent parking at the Sand Barren and to help direct visitors around the site. The Our Outer Harbor Coalition has no relationship with the Italian Festival and is acting solely on behalf of the Sand Barren Preserve. If you are interested and or available at any time during the event, we are scheduling. Shifts can be as short as 1 hour, or longer.
More Information on the Italian Heritage Festival CLICK HERE
What Does This Sign at the Bell Slip Mean?
The Our Outer Harbor Coalition is pleased to announce that the ECHDC and the Outer Harbor Buffalo Management Group which is the contractor in charge of outer harbor and Canalside events this summer has agreed with us that the Bell Slip needs protection. Many events including festivals and concerts are taking place this summer at the site of the former Pier Restaurant just adjacent to sensitive habitat at the Bell Slip. The organizations have agreed to help us limit parking and damage to the sand barren and emerging forest habitats by allowing us to post signs and when appropriate bring volunteers to the site during events. Stay tuned for upcoming volunteer activities.
Thanks to this work crew for placing and maintaining signs at the Bell Slip Preserve during July 4 festivities. From left to right Lynda Schkneekloth, Ana Hernandez Balzak, Jonna Hamman, Margaret Wooster, Jajean Rose-Burney, and Jay Burney
Why a Preserve?
A large section of this portion of the Outer Harbor is reclaimed habitat. Large amounts of public money have been spent to restore fish and shoreline habitat, and to build and maintain trails.
In addition to the Bell Slip inlet, a keystone of habitat conservation is just to the north of the inlet. Here natural succession is helping to reclaim rare shoreline grasslands, supporting a spectacular copse of cottonwoods, and is the location of an unusual sand habitat complex.
This is a rare natural complex both in the whole of the Great Lakes and on our Outer Harbor.
The habitat resembles what may have been part of a long lost complex of wetlands, sand dunes, and shorelines that once characterized the whole area from Hamburg to Grand Island and beyond. these natural parts of our healthy great lakes ecosystem were once found in abundance, but now have almost disappeared due to inappropriate development.
Migrating and resident birds. pollinators, rare and unusual species of insects and an incredible diversity of native plants help to characterize this area.
The Bell Slip Preserve
A window of opportunity is now open for Buffalo to embrace and restore its Lake Erie coast. But it will shut quickly if we approach the Outer Harbor as vacant land to be filled with costly buildings, parking lots, “adult playgrounds” and other expensive makeovers that are unsuitable to existing conditions and will require irretrievable and irreversible inputs of public and private resources to maintain.
The Bell Slip is at the center of this opportunity.
The Bell Slip Preserve is the self-made gem of the Outer Harbor. It connects two Important Bird Areas—the Times Beach and Tifft Nature Preserves—expanding quality habitat for many species of resident and migratory wildlife. Time and natural succession have allowed a “dune” forest to grow here providing shaded walks in summer, and respite from Lake Erie gale winds in winter. Monarch butterflies and other pollinators essential to our local food supply rest and feed in the surrounding meadows on unique plants like Spotted beebalm that have re-established themselves from the old sand piles and heritage seedbanks of 50 to 100 years ago. Lake Erie fish like the prized Muskellunge use the slip as a spawning ground and nursery—baby Muskies bounce like seahorses through the clear waters. And Spring migration is a sight to behold in and around the Bell Slip, where diving ducks gather by the thousands to feed on Emerald shiners, a keystone prey fish in the Lake Erie food web. This piece of Lake Erie living shoreline, buried and invisible for over 100 years, is now a place to watch the powerful flow of natural reclamation that is key to Buffalo’s revivial as a Great Lakes city.
WATCH NOW June 2016 Video profiling some superb Bell Slip habitat
Read More now-about the Outer Harbor Bell Slip grasslands and special habitats. "Our Outer Harbor" from GreenWatch Sunday Morning Television/the Public/ 26 June, 2016
Can We Ask You A Question?
Would you prefer this: The Bell Slip Nature Preserve