Cabela’s Outdoor Fund helps restore one of Wisconsin’s critical conservation areas

Grant will support restoration efforts on Avoca Prairie and Savanna State Natural Area for quality recreation and wildlife habitat

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For immediate release
December 22, 2015

Cabela’s Outdoor Fund has provided a $5,000 grant for the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin to work with partners at the Iowa County Chapter of Pheasants Forever and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to restore Avoca Prairie and Savanna State Natural Area in Iowa County. Avoca Prairie and Savanna SNA is home to more than 200 species of plants and several rare animals, and represents one of the region’s premier pheasant, turkey, deer and waterfowl hunting locations.

“Cabela’s Outdoor Fund is proud to support these wonderful organizations and their shared commitment to restoring the Avoca Prairie and Savanna State Natural Area,” said Scott Wanetka, vice president of Cabela’s Outdoor Fund. “Restoring these wildlife habitats will ensure they can be enjoyed and appreciated by outdoor enthusiasts for years to come.”

Native prairies at this state natural area include remnant prairie, oak savanna, sedge meadow and wetlands. Restoration and maintenance of Avoca Prairie and Savanna SNA will improve wildlife habitats and native plant communities allowing outdoor enthusiasts to continue to enjoy quality outdoor recreation, and hunting and fishing opportunities. Specific habitat restoration objectives include to:

Conduct a 2,425-acre prescribed burn.
Remove large areas of aspen that are invading high-quality remnant prairie.
Remove non-native invasive species such as purple loosestrife and giant reed grass that threaten the site.
Remove box elder to restore swamp white oak savanna and increase connections between open grasslands.

“Restoration of Avoca Prairie and Savanna’s habitat represents an important investment in our outdoor heritage,” said Camille Zanoni, the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin’s development director. “Without this gift from Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, and the commitment of our partners, we would begin to lose the wildlife and native plant diversity that so many of us cherish at Avoca.”

In addition to the $5,000 grant from Cabela’s Outdoor Fund, the Iowa County chapter of Pheasants Forever has raised $1,500 for this project and the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin has secured additional funding. The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources will partner with Pheasants Forever and other local volunteer land stewards to carry out the restoration and management activities. An estimated 50-100 hunters use this site per day during peak season.

“We’re proud to be part of this exceptional habitat project,” said Iowa County Pheasants Forever Chapter President Mark Klostermann. “Avoca Prairie is important to our chapter, and this is a prime example of how funds raised at our banquet are spent on local projects.”

Avoca Prairie and Savanna SNA is located along the Lower Wisconsin Riverway, just 50 miles from Cabela’s Prairie du Chien store and 60 miles from Cabela’s new Sun Prairie Store. The SNA contains the largest natural tallgrass prairies east of the Mississippi and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources designated it an SNA in 1968. The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin provides an outdoor field trip there each year for its members.

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Photo by Josh Mayer

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin provides sustainable funding for Wisconsin’s most imperiled species and public lands, while helping citizens connect with our state’s unique natural places. Learn more at www.wisconservation.org.

Contact
Lindsay Renick Mayer
Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
[email protected]
608-266-3138 (office)
202-422-4671 (cell)