Extensive open and forested wetlands characterize this IBA, which encompasses portions of the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, the Turtle-Flambeau State Scenic Waters Area, the Lac de Flambeau Indian Reservation, and Powell Marsh State Wildlife Area. Vast areas of muskeg, open bog, and conifer swamp are present, as well as alder thicket, and sedge meadow. Also found here are older conifer forests of white and red pine on patches of higher ground, as well as young aspen and deciduous forest. There also are many creeks, flowages, and lakes.
This site provides for robust breeding assemblages of both forested and open wetland birds, including several rare or uncommon species. American black duck, yellow rail, olive-sided flycatcher, gray jay, boreal chickadee, Connecticut warbler, and Nelson’s sharp-tailed sparrow can all be found breeding here. Hermit thrush, Nashville warbler, palm warbler, and Lincoln’s sparrow are numerous in some places, as are common loon, osprey, and bald eagle on lakes and flowages. Powell Marsh has an assemblage of grassland breeding birds absent elsewhere in this IBA, including sharp-tailed grouse, short-eared owl, Henslow’s sparrow, Le Conte’s sparrow, and Brewer’s blackbird. This area also hosts large numbers of waterfowl and smaller numbers of shorebirds during migration.