Despite its name, the Dead River is home to a wide variety of life – dragonflies and butterflies can be seen flitting about; turtles bask on logs while frogs hop along the shore, chirping as they jump into the water. Birds and mammals can be seen among the wide variety of aquatic plants found here. The river is a small, approximately 2.5 mile long stream that drains into Lake Michigan. For much of the year the stream is blocked by sandbars formed by waves at the mouth of the river, creating a sluggish marshy habitat, earning it the name Dead River. When the water level is high enough, it breaks through the sandbar and the water drains from the marshes.