Clifftop buys another nature preserve

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Clifftop purchased the Storment-Hauss Nature Preserve, which is located just east of the Paul Wightman Subterranean Nature Preserve near Fults. 

Clifftop announced its purchase of the Storment-Hauss Nature Preserve located on Reed Road, just one-half mile east of their Paul Wightman Subterranean Nature Preserve near Fults.

Clifftop – which stands for Conserving Lands In Farm, Forest, Talus, Or Prairie – was founded in 2006 as a grassroots organization of volunteers with a stated mission to promote the conservation, preservation and protection of the Mississippi River bluffs corridor in Monroe, Randolph and St. Clair counties.

The organization’s purchase of the Storment-Hauss Nature Preserve was made possible by a generous Land Acquisition Grant from the Illinois Clean Energy Community Foundation, Clifftop said.

“The foundation is proud to support the protection of wildlife habitat at natural areas throughout the state. To date, foundation grants have assisted with land acquisition at over 220 project sites,” Jolie Krasinski, ICECF Natural Areas Program Director, said.

The 85-acre site includes 64 acres of upland forest and a unique sandstone cliff community. A small creek transverses the property with waterfalls in two separate locations. 

Over the years, 59 species of birds and 33 herpetofauna species have been documented on this site, Clifftop said.

The previous owner constructed several small fishless amphibian ponds along the edges of the property to provide breeding habitat for many amphibians. 

Future plans for the Storment-Hauss Nature Preserve, Clifftop said, include invasive plant control, construction of trails and a small parking lot to accommodate visitors after opening to the public for passive recreation. 

“I’m looking forward to working with Clifftop on stewarding this beautiful property, ” Debbie Newman, Natural Areas Preservation Specialist with the Illinois Nature Preserves Commission, said.

Clifftop Board of Directors President Jared Nobbe thanked the Storment family.

“We wish to thank James Storment for allowing us to fulfill his late father David’s wishes by maintaining the property for the benefit of wildlife conservation,” Nobbe said.

The neighboring Paul Wightman Subterranean Nature Preserve opened to the public in May 2019 after Clifftop spent more than five years getting it ready. 

That 535-acre property, located at 3325 G Road in Fults, was bought to protect the Fogelpole Cave that in Paul Wightman and Cletus Meyer discovered in 1949.

All Clifftop programs and operations are funded by grants and donations and the ongoing support provided by members.

Anyone interested in helping to further Clifftop’s mission can email cliffmbr@htc.net or call 618-935-2542.

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