North Tonawanda Audubon Nature Preserve
In May 2015, the Western New York Land Conservancy finalized a conservation easement on a 28-acre portion of the 36-acre North Tonawanda Audubon Nature Preserve, also known as Klydel Wetlands. The preserve is one of the largest remaining areas of open space within the city limits of North Tonawanda. It is owned by the Buffalo Audubon Society, with some portions co-owned by the Land Conservancy. The conservation easement will help ensure that the property remains a community asset, open and natural in perpetuity.
Klydel Wetlands is home to an extraordinary ecosystem. It includes a large wooded wetland with mature forests intermingled with seasonally wet vernal pools. These forests are home to numerous species of wildlife, including the small Eastern Screech Owl which nests in tree cavities there. Wetlands and forests along the Niagara River are home to at least eight species of frogs, two toads, and seven salamanders, some of which are threatened with extinction. The vernal pools at Klydel Wetlands likely host some of these amphibians.
Klydel Wetlands also provides benefits to the surrounding community in the form of ‘ecosystem services’ by improving local water quality and providing flood control in adjacent neighborhoods. Unfortunately, wooded wetlands like these have long been drained to make way for other uses, and are still threatened today. Even Klydel Wetlands is only a fraction of the size that it once was.
The North Tonawanda Audubon Nature Preserve is open to the public and has several walking trails that can be accessed from Fairfield Drive, Wurlitzer Drive, Sunset Drive, or Kinkead Avenue. The Buffalo Audubon Society hosts regular nature hikes at the preserve, including very popular ‘owl prowls’ where visitors often see or hear Eastern Screech Owls. The preserve is also an active site for school-based outdoor learning activities and research. Students and residents of the surrounding communities visit the preserve regularly.