Buffalo Reef is a natural cobble feature in Lake Superior, located just off the eastern edge of the Keweenaw Peninsula in the U.P of Michigan. The reef has historically maintained invaluable spawning habitat for fish species such as lake trout and lake whitefish. These remarkable habitat features are threatened by the migrating stamp sands, produced by harmful mining activities beginning in the late 1800’s.
The treaty of 1842 or commonly known as the “Copper Treaty” ceded millions of acres of land to the United States in exchange for rights to hunt, fish, and gather within the ceded territory. Buffalo Reef has always been considered as culturally significant harvesting grounds for local tribal communities.
Today’s challenge involving Tribal, State, Federal, and Academic partnerships combine efforts to mitigate damages and ultimately restore Buffalo Reef as the ecological resource that has sustained both tribal and non-tribal communities for generations.