County, GLC complete purchase of Amsterdam Dunes property


SHEBOYGAN COUNTY’S purchase of the Amsterdam Dunes property in the town of Holland became official earlier this month when representatives of the county and Glacial Lakes Conservancy (front, left to right) GLC attorney Dan Geraghty, GLC Board President Chris Krieg, Sheboygan County Corporation Counsel Carl Buesing, (back row) Executive Director of Ozaukee Washington Land Trust Shawn Graff, Sheboygan County Planning and Conservation Director Aaron Brault, Sheboygan County Administrator Adam Payne, Sheboygan County Board Chairman Roger Te Stroete and GLC Executive Director Mary Piehl signed the final sale papers. — Submitted photo SHEBOYGAN COUNTY’S purchase of the Amsterdam Dunes property in the town of Holland became official earlier this month when representatives of the county and Glacial Lakes Conservancy (front, left to right) GLC attorney Dan Geraghty, GLC Board President Chris Krieg, Sheboygan County Corporation Counsel Carl Buesing, (back row) Executive Director of Ozaukee Washington Land Trust Shawn Graff, Sheboygan County Planning and Conservation Director Aaron Brault, Sheboygan County Administrator Adam Payne, Sheboygan County Board Chairman Roger Te Stroete and GLC Executive Director Mary Piehl signed the final sale papers. — Submitted photo Sheboygan County along with its partner, the Glacial Lakes Conservancy (GLC), has now successfully closed on the Amsterdam Dunes property, achieving another major milestone. The property is now officially owned by Sheboygan County.

Sheboygan County partnered with GLC in order to be eligible for more grant opportunities, primarily the State’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship program. The county and GLC were recently successful in obtaining a Stewardship award of $2,442,500 to help reimburse the county for the acquisition price of $4.2 million. As part of the agreement with the county, once the Stewardship award was announced, whether successful or not, GLC had to transfer the property and award back to the county. The county is also pursuing other funding that if approved, will also help with the acquisition cost and assist with restoration.

County Administrator Adam Payne negotiated the purchase for the new preservation area and wetland mitigation site. “I consider this a top ten accomplishment and I’m very grateful for the support of the County Board, in particular, Chairman Roger Te Stroete,“ he said.

Payne added that the collaboration by all involved was outstanding, and that Planning and Conservation Director Aaron Brault deserves a lot of credit.

“Aaron continues to help make good things happen for the community and I appreciate his leadership,” Payne said.

The Amsterdam Dunes property is now open to the public per the rules listed in County ordinance. However, those visiting the property should be aware the agricultural fields are actively being farmed. Please be respectful of the farmer’s crops. At this point, there are no trails, parking areas, or other amenities on the property. The Amsterdam Dunes Advisory Committee is currently working on suggestions for these types of activities.

The 333-acre Amsterdam Dunes property was purchased to establish a wetland mitigation bank and preservation area. The stewardship or preservation portion of the property is approximately 185 acres and the mitigation bank portion of the property is approximately 145 acres. A person walking or hunting on the property will not realize what portion of the property they are on, but it was necessary the areas be distinguished in order to be eligible for different grant funding opportunities. The remaining acreage consists of three lake lots that the county could potentially sell to help recoup the full acquisition costs or assist with restoration.

The property is located along Lake Michigan in the town of Holland and is one of the few remaining undeveloped beach shorelines remaining between Sheboygan and Chicago.

The 333-acre property is comprised of rare sand dunes, forest and wetlands of various types, bluffs, farmland, streams and diverse plants and wildlife. There is 1,920 feet of frontage along Lake Michigan, and a Department of Natural Resources Raptor Research Station is directly contiguous to the property.

Te Stroete stated, “The Amsterdam Dunes purchase preserves an environmentally sensitive area while positioning Sheboygan County to be better prepared and more cost effectively support future economic development opportunities. I’m proud of this accomplishment and our team.”

Next steps for the county are to continue to work with the DNR, federal Environmental Protection Agency and UW Army Corps of Engineers to finalize the mitigation bank; work with the Amsterdam Dunes Advisory Committee to determine what the community wants to see at their new public open space; and begin restoration activities.

For more information, please contact Te Stroete or Payne at (920) 459-3103, or Brault at (920) 459-3060.


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