Northwoods’ Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area to benefit from three conservation projects

(Photo by Josh Mayer)

The Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area is one of Wisconsin’s great gems. The 14,000-acre Turtle Flambeau Flowage is home to aspen, maple and other northern hardwood forests and supports pockets of old growth hemlock and pine. It has the highest density of breeding pairs of eagles, ospreys and common loons in the state and provides a unique experience for nature enthusiasts with 60 campsites accessible only by boat. Through the Turtle Flambeau Scenic Waters Area Fund, which has given out more than $20,000 since it was established in 2006, the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin has disbursed funds this year to three key conservation projects aimed at protecting and enhancing this special place.

“The Turtle Flambeau Scenic Waters Area offers a scenic and wild landscape that is unlike any other in the State of Wisconsin,” said Jeff Pennucci, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources facilities and lands property supervisor for the Northern District and project lead for one of the three projects funded this year. “The land is managed to protect the natural splendor of the resource and to provide recreational opportunities such as hunting, fishing, hiking, trapping, nature observing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing, and camping on 66 island campsites.”

The three projects receiving grants this year are:

Campsite Lakeshore Restoration ($1,035): This project intends to restore eroded shoreline at several of the campsites on the Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area, some of which are severely eroded. The DNR will work with students at the Mercer Environmental Tourism Charter to restore one site and prepare another two sites for restoration as they learn about soil, fish spawning areas and team work.

Seed Availability Research ($1,500): University of Wisconsin-Madison zoology graduate student Jennifer Chandler is leading a project that is looking at the relationship between predator species, their prey and the abundance of seeds their prey feed on. Two of the study sites are located within the Turtle-Flambeau Scenic Waters Area and will help inform forest management by understanding how complex interactions between species such as wolves, coyotes, foxes, and rodents can impact tree growth.

Invasive Species Monitoring ($3,000): With this grant, the Iron County Land & Water Conservation Department will be able to expand its aquatic invasive species education and monitoring efforts. For the past four years, staff has focused on survey work and boat inspections on the Turtle Flambeau Flowage, but hasn’t been able to do much invasive species monitoring work across the rest of the watershed, which can help prevent the spread of invasive species.

“Aquatic invasive species threaten lake health, recreation opportunities and tourism, which is one of the top economic factors in Iron County,” said Heather Palmquist, county conservationist at the Iron County Land & Water Conservation Department. “At this point Iron County has very few lakes with any aquatic invasive species and it is a goal of the Land & Water Conservation to maintain the pristine state of our lakes and rivers. We are excited to be the recipients of a Turtle Flambeau Scenic Waters Area Fund grant.”

The Foundation announces donor-advised competitive grants, including the Turtle Flambeau Scenic Waters Area Fund, in December of each year. Interested organizations can ask for more information on how to apply by emailing [email protected].

“By providing funding to the groups doing the on-the-ground conservation work, we’re helping to ensure generations will be able to enjoy this legacy land well into the future,” said Ruth Oppedahl, executive director of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. “The Turtle Flambeau Flowage is one of Wisconsin’s most beloved and important natural areas—and we aim to help keep it that way. We hope this endowment inspires others to consider establishing endowments for places they cherish.”

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Photo by Josh Mayer

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin works with donors to set-up permanent endowments for places dear to them. These endowments benefit 68 projects in Wisconsin, including those at the Turtle Flambeau Flowage, Brule River, Devil’s Lake State Park, Cherokee Marsh, Lower Wisconsin River, Parfrey’s Glen and other public lands; as well as organizations such as the Friends of Wisconsin State Parks. Learn more at In 2014, the Foundation provided more than $140,000 to the DNR for work on public lands management and rare and endangered species.

Lindsay Renick Mayer
Communications Director
[email protected]
(608) 266-3138 (office)
(608) 843-6669 (cell)