Four undeveloped lots near Lake Michigan added to Chiwaukee Prairie State Natural Area
Fri, Oct 02 2009 at 4:24 PM
By The Nature Conservancy
Thanks to a significant donation from the Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund, Inc. and a grant from the Stewardship Fund, four undeveloped lots near Lake Michigan have been conserved, The Nature Conservancy announced Tuesday.
The land has been added to Chiwaukee Prairie State Natural Area and is open to the public for hiking, cross-country skiing, snow-shoeing, nature photography and wildlife observation.
Chiwaukee Prairie is designated by the U.S. Department of Interior as a National Natural Landmark and is home to more than 400 native plant species, numerous reptiles, amphibians and small mammals. It also provides crucial habitat for nesting and migratory birds.
The Conservancy's Great Lakes Program has designated Chiwaukee Prairie as a "Blueprint" site because of its ecological significance. The Conservancy has identified more than 500 such sites in the Great Lakes Basin in both the United States and Canada as priorities for protection.
"Chiwaukee Prairie is a national treasure," said Mary Jean Huston, director of The Nature Conservancy in Wisconsin. "It is part of the last unbroken stretch of prairie of its kind in Wisconsin and is home to many rare and endangered species."
The Conservancy purchased the lots from willing sellers with a grant of almost $104,000 from Wisconsin's Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund and a matching gift from the Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund.
Huston pointed out that the Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund has previously raised money to acquire many other lots and its volunteers have worked for more than four decades to help manage Chiwaukee Prairie.
"Everyone who has visited Chiwaukee Prairie should join The Nature Conservancy in thanking the Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund," Huston said. "They've been instrumental in ensuring Chiwaukee Prairie remains one of Wisconsin’s premier natural areas."
Charles Luthin, director of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin, which has been supporting habitat restoration at Chiwaukee Prairie for many years, also applauded the group for its efforts.
"I'd like to thank and commend the Chiwaukee Prairie Preservation Fund for its vision, leadership and commitment," Luthin said. "Natural areas need focused and committed friends and Chiwaukee Prairie could not have a better protector."
Chiwaukee Prairie covers about 600 acres, with portions owned by The Nature Conservancy, the University of Wisconsin-Parkside, and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
The Secretary of Interior designated Chiwaukee Prairie as a National Natural Landmark in 1973 because it is considered to be the best coastal ridge and swale prairie remaining in Wisconsin, a type of habitat that was once widespread on Lake Michigan's southern shores. Wisconsin has a total of 18 National Natural Landmarks.
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