The Keweenaw Land Trust, partner and custodian of the Rabbit Island consevation easement, forwarded an interesting biodiversity report jointly published in August, 2010, by the US and Canadian governments titled Islands of Life:  A Biodiversity and Conservation Atlas of Great Lakes Islands.  What a nice surprise.   The report is a professionally organized multinational effort between a few big hitters in the conservation world:  the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources, The Nature Conservancy, and the US Environmental Protection Agency.  It offers general information on the state of Great Lakes island ecosystems as well as specific detail regarding each and every biologically important island in the watershed.  According to the biodiversity ranking criteria Rabbit Island is ranked as the second most important island in terms of biodiversity in the Keweenaw Peninsula region of Lake Superior due to its location, unique habitat for rare migratory birds and rocky underwater spawning grounds for native Lake Superior fish.  A fine distinction.

From a global perspective freshwater islands are themselves very rare and those that have been left undeveloped and un-subdivided, remaining in their native state, are real gems.  Fresh water in general is scarce as well.  Consider this:  fresh water represents only three percent of the Earth’s water and about two-thirds of this is frozen in glaciers and polar ice caps, while the remaining third is mostly underground.  In all visible surface freshwater represents a mere 1.3% of the total fresh water on Earth, and the majority of this is contained within the Great Lakes.   Rabbit Island is blessed to be surrounded by Lake Superior, the largest and purest of these mighty bodies of water. 

The report is very well done and quite specific, offering a wealth of information.  Overviews can be found at both The Nature Conservancy’s website,, and it’s Canadian sibling site,, and the full report can be found by clicking the above link and then downloading the .PDF file.  Specific information regarding Rabbit Island (aka “Traverse Island” in the report) is found on page 62.  The Introduction is worth a read too.