By Lisa Charron, Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin
At almost 6,500 acres, Quincy Bluff and Wetlands is one of the largest and most diverse state natural areas. Its location on the bed of the extinct Glacial Lake Wisconsin gives it an interesting topography–a huge wetland with low sandy ridges and seepage ponds surrounded by 100-200 foot sandstone mesas and buttes. Its namesake, Quincy Bluff, dominates at 200 feet high and two miles long. Numerous rare plant and animal species thrive in the varied wetland ecosystem, including fragile prickly pear, ebony boghaunter dragonfly and tiger beetle.
The Quincy Bluff and Wetlands State Natural Area Endowment Fund, held by the Natural Resources Foundation, has supported necessary management over the last year at the SNA. The work done at the site by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, helps maintain the rare, natural and beautiful character of the state natural area.
Two large purchases made with the funds will aid management for years to come. The first purchase was of two new water control structures, which replaced older, defunct equipment. This purchase will help manage the water levels in the wetlands, making them suitable for migrating shorebirds in the spring and fall.
The second purchase was of a Utility Task Vehicle (UTV)-mounted fire/spray tank. The equipment made brush, weed and invasive species control much more efficient. The results were over 350 acres of prescribed burns on barrens and prairies, and targeted attacks on garlic mustard, knapweed, sweet clover and black locust.
In addition, the endowment fund paid employees to conduct management work at Quincy Bluff and Wetlands. “Much of the work mentioned above would not be possible without the help of the two LTEs,” says Jon Robaidek, project lead at the DNR, in the project report. They used a wand torch, hand-pulling and herbicide to control invasives; worked as part of the prescribed burn crew; operated both heavy equipment and hand tools to manage the wetlands; collected native seed and later sowed it to restore areas of the property; and conducted photopoint visits to document restoration of the site.
“Most anything involving the ecological health and management of the Quincy communities had the LTEs as part of it,” says Robaidek.
To learn more about how the Natural Resources Foundation funnels private donations to manage Wisconsin’s most precious public lands, visit this webpage. To learn about the types of endowments the Foundation holds and to read donor stories, visit this webpage.
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