Blue Top Farms
Greater Prairie-Cicken. Photo by Doug Dance / www.ddancenaturephotography.com
We started 2010 by preserving two tracts of prime grassland habitat—totaling more than 880 acres— adjacent to the Buena Vista Wildlife Area in Wisconsin’s last stronghold of the famed Greater Prairie-Chicken. We purchased the land from Blue Top Farms, Inc. and will transfer ownership to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to manage as habitat for a variety of grassland birds, most notably the Greater Prairie-Chicken.
“We’re thankful to our partners—the Dane County Conservation League, the Golden Sands Resource Conservation & Development Council, the Portage County Land Preservation Fund and the Wisconsin DNR—for their involvement in this project,” said Peg Kohring, Midwest director of the Fund. “No one group alone could acquire the property, but by working together we have made this a huge success.”
Populations of Greater Prairie-Chickens have declined to near extinction over the past century due to the conversion of grassland to forestland and farmland. They once inhabited every county in Wisconsin but are now found in only six counties in the central part of the state.
This project adds to our previous work with the Wisconsin DNR as partner. Back in 2009 we protected five other properties across the state, including a trout stream prized by fly-fishermen in Oneida County; black bear and blue teal habitat in Iron County; and a scenic kayak and canoe route along the Wisconsin River’s north shore.