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Fern Island Preserve

This refuge for birds and waterfowl is located on a peninsula between the middle and lower Cassadaga Lakes. Accessibly only by boats, many who enjoy this preserve paddle up to the shoreline to birdwatch or fish.

  • Size:  12.4 acres

  • Year Conserved by CWC: 2011

Conservation Values: The Fern Island preserve helps protect the water quality of the Cassadaga Lakes, as well as important bird and wildlife habitat. The preserve protects approximately 2,270 feet of naturally vegetated lakeshore, which directly benefits Cassadaga Lake.  This large tract of undisturbed land provides important resting, foraging, and breeding habitat for many species. It provides refuge for waterfowl and other birds.

Recreational Use: There are no developed trails or other facilities within the preserve.  The wet conditions and lack of road access make the preserve unsuitable for tours or visitors. The CWC prohibits hunting of any kind on this preserve, but fishing is allowed. 

Location and Parking: Located on a peninsula south of Dale Drive on the south side of Cassadaga Lake in the town of Stockton, Chautauqua County.  The preserve is bordered on all but the northern boundary by the lake and can be accessed by boat only. There is a main CWC Preserve sign installed on the lakeshore of the preserve. The northern boundary is private land. There are no designated parking spots.

Features of Interest: The entire preserve is federally and state-regulated wetlands.  

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Swamp Shrubs: red osier dogwood (Cornus sericea), willows (Salix spp.), highbush blueberry (Vaccinium corymbosum), smooth alder (Alnus serrulata), arrowwood (Viburnum recognitum)

Fish: redside dace (Clinostomus elongatus), pumpkinseed sunfish (Lepomis gibbosus), mottled sculpin (Cottus bairdii), grass pickerel (Esox americanus vermiculatus)

Mammals: muskrat (Ondatra zibethicus), North American beaver (Castor canadensis)

Birds: belted kingfisher (Megaceryle alcyon), great blue heron (Ardea herodias), green heron (Butorides virescens)

Reptiles: painted turtle (Chrysemys picta)

Amphibians: spring peeper (Pseudacris crucifer)

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