The University of Notre Dame Environmental Research Center encompasses approximately 7500 acres on both sides of the state line between Wisconsin and Michigan's Upper Peninsula in Vilas County (Wisconsin) and Gogebic County (Michigan). It includes a land area of 6150 acres and 30 lakes and bogs with a combined surface area of 1350 acres. Open water within the preserve accounts for about 16% of the total area. Twenty-six of the aquatic habitats lie entirely on the property. The altitude of the area ranges between 1640 ft (500 m) and 1700 ft (520 m).

UNDERC hosts a wide variety of aquatic and terrestrial habitats available for research:

  • Dystrophic bogs
  • Permanent and vernal ponds
  • Lakes of varying shapes and sizes
  • Marshes
  • Sluggish headwater streams
  • Mixed deciduous / coniferous forest
  • Deciduous forest

This unique mix of aquatic and terrestrial habitats sports a rich diversity of organisms for study, including:

  • Aquatic insects of all kinds
  • Nitrogen-limited plants, including pitcher plants and orchids
  • A large diversity of frogs and salamanders
  • Many species of small mammals and birds
  • Carnivores ranging in size from least weasels to black bears
  • Trees of varying ages and tolerances