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Southwest Wisconsin Grassland and Stream Conservation Area Working Together to Protect Grasslands.

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Presentation on theme: "Southwest Wisconsin Grassland and Stream Conservation Area Working Together to Protect Grasslands."— Presentation transcript:

1 Southwest Wisconsin Grassland and Stream Conservation Area Working Together to Protect Grasslands

2 What is a Grassland And why do we need them? Photo C. Bleser

3 Wet Prairie Lots of water Deep clay, silt loam or peat soil Poor drainage Marsh Milkweed Prairie Cordgrass

4 Mesic Prairie Some water Medium-deep silt or sandy loam soil Good drainage Dominated by tall grasses -By late summer, flowers may reach 4 to 6 feet high Big Bluestem Yellow Coneflower Thomas Meyer

5 Dry Prairie Little water Dry shallow soil over sand or limestone Dry prairies on steep slopes are also called "goat prairies" Eric Epstein Purple Coneflower Sideoats Grama

6 Prairie Remnant Often these areas are: -Too rocky -Too sandy -Too steep -Or too wet for farming A small piece of a pre-settlement native prairie that has survived to the present day But still a home for native plants and animals

7 Restored Prairie Can take decades of growth before it becomes a good representation of a prairie

8 Managed Grasslands

9 Grass Hay Field Hay fields, like native prairies provide habitat for wildlife…

10 Pasture …and so do grazing pastures

11 Wildlife Habitat Who lives in the grasslands?

12 Franklin’s Ground Squirrel Habitat: Prefer tall grass prairie Burrows into ground Hibernates from September to April Also known as whistle pigs Special Concern

13 Badger Habitat Large, open grasslands Very aggressive Badger dens can be 31 degrees warmer than the outside air in winter USFWS

14 Bobolink Habitat Open Grasslands Migrates 12,500 miles roundtrip each year! Food Seeds, grains, insects Special Concern

15 Henslow’s Sparrow Habitat Large, flat fields with no woody plants Food Insects like grasshoppers and beetles Doesn’t like to fly, but instead run from threats through the tall grass Threatened

16 Blanding’s Turtle Habitat Semi-aquatic Grassy marshes and shallow water Food Crayfish, snails, insects, frogs, fish, and earthworms Kevin Wallenfang Threatened Nervous turtles They are the first turtles to dive into the water when threatened and the last to come back up to the surface

17 Regal Fritillary Habitat Breeds only in native prairie Food Adults feed on nectar of milkweed, thistles and blazing stars Larvae feed on only violets Endangered Species Ann Swengel Less than 1% of historical habitat left

18 Prairie Flora Pale Purple Coneflower Wild Quinine Purple Turnip Purple Milkweed Small White Lady’s Slipper Orchid Hill’s Thistle

19 Healthy Soil Grasslands…. Reduce soil erosion Help maintain soil fertility

20 Protect Stream and Watershed Quality Grasslands… -Filter out toxins from entering our water sources -Reduce soil run-off and river sedimentation USFWS

21 Cultural Resources WDNR Mississippi Valley Archaeology Center Effigy Mounds Native American Rock Art Thunderbird Deer

22 Cultural Resources Pioneer farms

23 Fun Place to Play Cathy Bleser Hiking Paddling Nature Study Fishing Bird Watching Appreciation of Cultural History W.A. Smith

24 Where did all the grassland go? Less than 1/10 th of 1% of the original grassland habitat is left

25 Fire Suppression © Dr. Michael Pidwimy, University of British Columbia Okanagan. Fire is common in prairies and keeps grasslands healthy… Or forest succession will shade out prairie species

26 Development Ryan O’Connor

27 Agriculture Tredt

28 Wildlife Friendly Farming Agriculture, like pastures and hay fields, are common in southwest Wisconsin

29 Working Together to Protect Grassland Assist and encourage farmers to manage the land in a more grassland-friendly manner Educate public on the importance of grasslands + Farmers and Landowners Photo S. Winter

30 The Project Protect and conserve12,000 acres of healthy grassland Includes 2,000-acre core areas of unfragmented, permanent grassland

31 Satellite Imagery How do we know where the best grasslands are located? Advanced computer software called Geographic Information Systems (GIS) uses satellite images, maps, survey data, etc. to tell us what’s on the ground!

32 Locating Focus Areas Step 1: Map the area’s vegetation cover and current land use

33 Locating Focus Areas Step 2 Add natural resources and cultural resources

34 Locating Focus Areas Step 3 Identify known prairies

35 Locating Focus Areas Step 4 Add protected lands

36 Locating Focus Areas Final Step Use all of the information, including public input, to draw focus areas Will add BCA and Core maps when approved

37 How do we protect our grasslands in the SWGSCA?

38 Protect Farms in SWGSCA

39 Protecting both Grasslands and Farms It is the many generations of landowners in Southwest Wisconsin who have maintained the health of the grasslands, savannas, and streams NRCS

40 Grassland Restoration Work with landowners to… Monitor wildlife, vegetation and the effects of the project USFWS Manage Invasive Species Promote grassland-friendly farming Educate and create awareness Protect and restore grassland Photo C. Bleser

41 Questions?

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