Category Archives: Lands and Waters

First Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund grant impacts three State Natural Areas

In the historic first disbursement from the Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund, $50,000 will be invested in Walworth and Dunn counties. This announcement comes just ahead of Public Lands Day on Saturday, Sept. 30, and funding will be split between these two high-use properties that are home to a wide variety of game, non-game, and Species of Greatest Conservation Need (endangered, threatened, or in decline). The Natural Resources Foundation is grateful to the Natural Resources Board, the...

Southern Kettle Moraine Restoration

Conservation and restoration of our public lands is central to our mission at the Natural Resources Foundation. The Southern Kettle Moraine encompasses several high priority State Natural Areas that are home to multiple rare ecosystems as well as threatened or endangered species. The Natural Resources Foundation partnered with the Brookby Foundation this year to support restoration work in the area. Additional work will be done in 2018 thanks to the first disbursement from the Cherish...

Sustaining State Natural Areas

Wisconsin’s State Natural Areas protect the last remnants of our state’s rarest and most ecologically significant ecosystems. These places need our help. This informational booklet outlines the State Natural Areas that have been identified as having a high priority for conservation in Wisconsin. Special thanks to the Sally R. Luthin Memorial Fund for making this publication possible....

Restoration at Guckenberg-Sturm Preserve

The Guckenberg-Sturm Preserve (also known as Stroebe Island Marsh) is owned and managed by the Northeast Wisconsin Land trust and encompasses an area of 48 acres located in the Village of Fox Crossing (formerly the Town of Menasha). In the last year, the preserve has undergone many restoration efforts. Invasive Species Removal Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust staff and volunteers have had tremendous success removing invasive species such as garlic mustard and common buckthorn at the...

Protecting rare plants at Kohler-Andrae

The shores of Lake Michigan preserve some of the last remaining Great Lakes dunes in Wisconsin, and harbor some of our state’s most incredible and rare plants and animals. At Kohler Park Dunes State Natural Area within Kohler-Andrae State Park, a series of beautiful dunes and swales face Lake Michigan. This State Natural Area was created to preserve this unique natural community and provide critical habitat for the rare and native species found within it....

Fighting for Prairie at Battle Bluff State Natural Area

The Battle Bluff State Natural Area has a lot to offer history buffs as well as nature lovers. Battle Bluff gets its name from the Black Hawk War of 1832, a tragic fight for land between members of the Sauk Nation and the United States. History of Battle Bluff State Natural Area The Sauk warriors would use the high bluff to evade U.S. soldiers and to find a safe place to cross the Mississippi River....

Wetland Restoration in Wisconsin: A private landowner tells his story

Mequon resident, private landowner, and Foundation member Ben Arnold loves nature, and not just from a distance. Whether it’s keeping a careful eye on a clutch of hatching turtle eggs, planting rare native species or sharing photos of a pheasant that wandered across his yard, Arnold is always engaged. Forty years ago, Arnold’s love of nature took him on a surprising journey—the challenging and rewarding journey of native forest, prairie and wetland restoration to create...

Funding State Natural Area Management

State Natural Areas contain some of the rarest and most ecologically important landscapes in Wisconsin and North America. These protected areas provide critical habitat for endangered or threatened wildlife and rare plants. They also contain some of the last remaining parcels of Wisconsin’s native landscapes as they would have been prior to farming and development. But to maintain the delicate balance and keep these landscapes healthy, State Natural Areas require a lot of care and...

Restoring more than land: How conservation work in one unique landscape invigorates, connects and inspires

By Lisa Gaumnitz, Foundation member and volunteer (guest blogger)   The sign off the highway announced “Ridgeway Pine Relict State Natural Area” but there were no other clues we had arrived at one of Wisconsin’s unique landscapes to help sow prairie seeds and burn brush that crisp January day. No cars, no people, no sublime nature — just a sign next to a nondescript house with a field behind it and a windbreak of pine...

The ugly side of road salt, and how you can keep it out of Lake Wingra

By Susan Frett, Friends of Lake Wingra   Lake Wingra is the smallest of the five Madison lakes, and it is a hidden treasure on the near west side of Madison. It is well-loved by people who live nearby, with many neighbors visiting daily to paddle on the lake, play Frisbee in the park, try their luck catching fish, walk their dogs or simply sit along the shoreline and enjoy the peaceful view. During the...

Keeping leaves (and nutrients!) out of our streets and lakes

By Theresa Vander Woude, Clean Lakes Alliance   By the time leaves have started to fall in Dane County, most of us have tucked away swimsuits and beach towels for the year. The lakes are too cold to swim in and too liquid for winter sports. This fall, Clean Lakes Alliance and the Village of DeForest partnered to tackle one of our lakes’ biggest headaches: nutrient pollution from fall leaves. In particular, we wanted to answer...

Celebrating Wisconsin’s Wetlands of International Importance

By Tracy Hames, Executive Director of Wisconsin Wetlands Association As executive director for Wisconsin Wetlands Association, I have had the chance to visit hundreds of beautiful wetlands across our state. And while I love every Wisconsin wetland, it’s especially fun to visit rare wetland types like Chiwaukee Prairie along the Lake Michigan shore in southeast Wisconsin. Wisconsin Wetlands Association recognized this rare wetland as a Wetland Gem® in 2009, and just recently I joined more than...

Drumlin and Prairie: Celebrating two of Wisconsin’s Natural Treasures

  By Josh Mayer, Foundation member and guest blogger Smith Drumlin Prairie is owned by The Prairie Enthusiasts, a grassroots conservation organization with chapters in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois. TPE has worked to manage and restore Smith Drumlin for nearly 20 years, including regular burning, tree removal, mowing, and invasive species control. In the last couple of years, TPE began to seed the former agricultural field between the two drumlins back to prairie. The site...

Traveling through time with the UWM weather station

By Lindsay Renick Mayer, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin Cedarburg Bog State Natural Area is special for many reasons. It was the second place in Wisconsin to receive the state natural area designation. It is the most intact large bog in the southeastern part of the state. It contains what is likely North America’s southernmost string bog—a bog with stunted cedars and tamaracks that alternate in a unique pattern with wetter areas and sedges. And,...

Celebrating a season of spring ephemerals on state natural areas

By Josh Mayer, guest blogger Some may think that the summers in Wisconsin are far too short, but even more fleeting is the spring ephemeral season. In the forest, before the green canopy drapes the forest floor in shade, a bevy of wildflowers emerge and bloom in a wondrous display. On the prairie, the flowering display is much different in the spring than it is later in the summer and fall. There really is never...

Protecting Wisconsin’s Rare Plants for the Future

By Cait Williamson, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin Dr. James P. Bennett, a retired research botanist with the United States Geological Survey and the University of Wisconsin-Madison Department of Botany, has spent his life studying and protecting rare plants. His research has focused on the impact of air pollution on plants, specifically on lichens and State Natural Areas in Wisconsin. “Wisconsin is losing plant species as part of the global biodiversity crisis,” said Bennett, who...

Goats in the forest: A different kind of land management

By Caitlin Williamson, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin The Riveredge Nature Center in Ozaukee County wanted to try a different approach to land management. A goat approach. Using a local company, Riveredge hired 32 hungry goats (and their herder) to remove dense undergrowth vegetation and eat invasive plants, such as autumn olive and buckthorn, on the nearly 400 acres of forest and prairies in southeastern Wisconsin. The project was supported by a $1,000 grant from...

The Ghosts of Quincy Bluff and Wetlands State Natural Area

Quincy Bluff and Wetlands State Natural Area is haunted by ghosts. That was my impression even before I first visited the 6,600-acre state property. The afternoon before my trip, I had spoken to Stan Temple, professor emeritus of environmental studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and he told me about the gruesome scene that played out at Quincy Bluff in 1871: “That year a major portion of all the passenger pigeons in the world nested...

Setting Conservation Priorities for State Natural Areas

At the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin we dedicate our efforts to supporting restoration work at many of Wisconsin’s 673 State Natural Areas. We recognize that some sites need more work than others and we want to make sure that we live up to our commitment to protect the most imperiled lands, waters, and wildlife in Wisconsin. In order to do that, we partner with the Department of Natural Resources and other stakeholders to set our...