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Cedar Creek Wildlife Project, Inc.

Who We Are

Muskrat lodge on lower Cedar Creek. Photo by Mike Walter, Feb. 2001.CCWP, whose members are mainly property owners in the Cedar Creek watershed, was created in 1965 to protect the stream in its natural state. Since then CCWP has participated directly in creating public policy to fulfill that preservation purpose, including:

Neotropical Songbirds

Here are some of the neotropical songbirds found in the Cedar Creek watershed. Pictures are by Bob Hines, author of Fifty Birds of Town and City, published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and are in the public domain.
baltimore oriole barn swallow catbird
red-eyed vireo wood thrush yellow warbler

Neotropical songbirds are migratory birds that breed in North America and winter in Mexico, Central and South America and the Caribbean. Allen County, Indiana's largest county has only two remaining forested expanses of sufficient size to provide resting and nesting habitats for neotropical migrant birds. One is the forested dune and swail area of Fox Island County Park. The other is the Cedar Creek forested canyonlands.

In 1997 CCWP received a grant from Great Lakes Aquatic Habitat Network and Fund to study the status of neotropical songbirds in the Cedar Creek watershed. Of 88 bird species recorded May 20-June 20, 1997, 48 were neotropical migrant species. Thirteen of those were "pass through" species and are considered "resters" since their nesting grounds are farther north. But 33 species were within their spring/summer habitat area and are considered "nesters" that breed in this area of Indiana.

Neotropical migrants need deep forest conditions to discourage competitors such as the brown-headed cowbird, which lays its eggs in the nests of other species. Cowbird hatchlings are larger than those of the host species, and they crowd the host chicks out of the nests or weaken them by taking their food. Among the best-know neotropical migrants in northeast Indiana are:

house wren

The Indiana Bat

USFWS Indiana bat pictureIn 1999, Cedar Creek Wildlife Project's sister organization ACRES, Inc., received a $5000 IPALCO grant to determine the nursery status of the endangered Indiana bat in the Cedar Creek corridor. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has determined that the area is a potential nursery habitat. If the ACRES study confirms that the presence of the bat and/or nursery trees, about 11 miles of Cedar Creek riparian habitat could be given additional protection. Update 2001: Investigations made in the summer of 2000 did not find Indiana bats. But the Cedar Creek corridor is definitely home to other bat species.

Freshwater Mussels

USFWS white catspaw mussel picture As late as 1988, Cedar Creek was home to 27 species of freshwater mussels. But a decade later, only four of 26 species previously identified near Cedarville could be found; and near Waterloo, only six of 11 previously-identified species were found. In between, no living or freshly-dead mussel specimens of any species were located. What happened to cause such a drastic decline? The USGS study that made these findings compared Cedar Creek with two other streams in the St. Joseph watershed: Fish Creek in Indiana and Ohio, and the West Branch of the St. Joseph in Michigan and Ohio, each of which showed declines in mussel diversity, but which still maintained greater diversity than Cedar Creek. The study found that Cedar Creek had high concentrations of certain contaminants, especially phosphorus, at the sites where mussel concentrations were lowest. Although other factors such as stream-channel stability may also affect mussel populations, young mussels are especially vulnerable to contaminants in streambed sediments, making pollution the mostly likely explanation for the loss of mussel diversity in Cedar Creek. Source: United States Geological Survey, What Makes a Healthy Environment for Native Freshwater Mussels? Fact Sheet 124-00 (October 2000).

Cedar Creek Protected Areas in Allen County

  1. James M. and Patricia C. Barrett Oak Hill Nature Preserve (ACRES, Inc.)
  2. Jerry and Molly Mackel Conservation Easement (ACRES, Inc.)
  3. Little Cedar Creek Wildlife Sanctuary (ACRES, Inc.)
  4. Cedar Creek Bottoms (ACRES, Inc.)
  5. Bicentennial Woods (ACRES, Inc.)
  6. Jessie's Woods (ACRES, Inc.)
  7. Cook's Landing Public Access Point (Allen County Parks)
  8. Whitehurst Nature Preserve (ACRES, Inc.)
  9. Thomas and Jane Dustin Conservation Easement (ACRES, Inc.)
  10. Louis Dunten Nature Preserve (Izaak Walton League, Fort Wayne Chapter)
  11. Nature Conservancy Conservation Easements (Nature Conservancy)
  12. Ropchan Meadowlands (Izaak Walton League)
  13. Camp McMillen (Limberlost Council Girl Scouts)
  14. Rodenbeck Nature Preserve (Izaak Walton League)
  15. Vandolah Nature Preserve (ACRES, Inc.)
  16. Metea County Park, including dedicated nature preserve (Allen County Parks)

Restored Cedar Chapel Bridge at Conner Prairie
Transplanted History: The restored
Cedar Chapel covered bridge once spanned
Cedar Creek at County Road 68 in DeKalb
County. Today it welcomes visitors to Liberty
Corner at the Conner Prairie Museum near Indianapolis.

Cedar Creek Protected Areas in DeKalb County

  1. Terri Hague Nature Area (DeKalb County Soil and Water Conservation District)
      Old Cedar Creek Oxbow - Terri Hague Nature Area - Auburn Left: A remnant of the original Cedar Creek channel in the Terri Hague Nature Area in Auburn. Photo by Mike Walter.

This page was last updated on August 23, 2005.


Advertising that appears below does not necessarily reflect the views of Cedar Creek Wildlife Project, Inc.