Saving Buffalo Reef
Posted on: April 3, 2018
Stamp Sands
Stamp sands migrating southward from the community of Gay toward the Grand Traverse Harbor. (Neil Harri photo)

A new website is in place providing information about a Lake Superior reef where important fish spawning habitat is threatened by “stamp sands,” fine particulate matter migrating along the lake bottom with potential to cover the reef. The recently announced, “Saving Buffalo Reef” web page provides news and updates about efforts aimed at preserving this spawning habitat near Grand Traverse Harbor on Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. The site provides information about public imeetings, plans for summer 2018 dredging by the US Army Corps of Engineers  and a form to join a mailing list for updates.


Stamp sands are the result of extensive copper mining on Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula. Historically, ore was crushed through a forceful stamping process, liberating minerals in a process where rock was reduced to fine grained sand.

Over more than a century, some 23 million metric tonnes of these tailings were sluiced onto Lake Superior’s shores near Gay, Michigan, on the eastern shore of the Keweenaw Peninsula. Stamp sands are migrating across river mouths, along beaches and over important fish spawning habitat like Buffalo Reef.

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