Derway Island Nature Preserve

Derway Island Nature Preserve

Derway Island in Burlington is actually not an island but a peninsula. The park is a 148-acre nature preserve acquired with help from The Nature Conservancy, who maintains a conservation easement over the land. For an urban area, the extent to which the ecological communities and systems are intact is unusual. The property also supports several rare species and significant plant communities. Derway Island is largely timbered with several excellent shrub swamps and an emergent marsh on the western edge. The dominant trees are red and silver maples, elm, ash, birch and cottonwood. Buttonbush is the principal species in the swamps.

The diversity of wildlife is high because of the varied plant communities found in a relatively small area. Songbirds are numerous, and it is an important area for wading birds. Osprey and other birds of prey have been sighted as well as a variety of ducks. Larger mammals, such as beaver, muskrat, raccoon, fox, otter, mink and deer are also known to use the area.

The watery channels within this Nature Preserve are important breeding areas for several species of fish from Lake Champlain such as northern pike and chain pickerel. The isolated nature of the land makes it an important stop for migrating birds.