Shifting Lots Preserve
This preserve includes the southern portion known as Ellisville Harbor that includes a salt marsh estuary. Salt marshes are commonly known to be the most productive ecosystems on earth. They provide essential nursery grounds for numerous fish species. Preserving the quality of the salt marsh helps to protect a web of interconnected species. Shifting Lots Preserve is also home to sand dunes and a migrating barrier beach that help to protect adjacent uplands from severe storm surges. The dunes are fragile, changing systems that must be preserved in order for them to fulfill this protective function. The barrier beach also serves as crucial nesting and foraging habitat for migrating shorebirds, including the federally threatened piping plover and several species of terns.
The ponded area of water you see between the beach and the barrier beach was formerly the outflow from the marsh. This channel was created during the “perfect storm” when sand blocked the mouth of the existing channel. Over the next 12 years, this barrier gradually grew, extending the length of the channel and ultimately causing erosion to private property. In November of 2003, a private party secured the permits necessary to reopen the channel directly to the bay and block the circuitous route. Since then, the barrier has continued to evolve with each passing storm. Ultimately, it is expected to migrate toward land.
There are no formal trails at Shifting Lots. We ask that you remain on the existing path through the dunes while walking to the beach to minimize damage to sensitive grasses. Click on the Weblink for a Trail Map.