May 27, 2016

ARLINGTON, Va.—The private-public partnership that completed the largest land conservation effort in Wisconsin history—the 65,800-acre Brule St. Croix Legacy Forest—recently received a Wings Across The Americas Conservation Award from the U.S. Forest Service.   

U.S. Forest Service Chief Thomas Tidwell presented an award for Habitat Conservation Partnership to The Conservation Fund’s Bethany Olmstead and Tom Duffus of the Upper Midwest program, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and its team, as well as the U.S Forest Service Forest Legacy Program’s staff at an awards ceremony this spring. The event celebrated U.S. Forest Service employees’ and their partners’ outstanding work in the conservation of birds, bats, butterflies and dragonflies.  

The Brule St. Croix Legacy Forest was completed with funding from Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program and with the cooperation of the U.S. Forest Service’s Forest Legacy Program, which is funded through the Land and Water Conservation Fund.

The forest was conserved in two phases under a working forest conservation easement, which preserves important natural resources, wildlife habitat and recreational opportunities while maintaining sustainable timber operations that support local economies in Northwest Wisconsin.

The Legacy Forest spans four counties and the headwaters of both the St. Croix National Scenic River and the Bois Brule River.  It represents a missing puzzle piece of protected lands across the Great Lakes states because it links together a nearly 1-million-acre expanse of protected lands.

This effort was significant and important because its unique pine barren ecosystem supports a high number of species, including sharp-tailed grouse, the federally endangered Kirtland’s warbler and 28 species found on the Wisconsin state list of Species of Greatest Conservation Need, including the vesper sparrow and brown thrasher. The Brule-St. Croix Legacy Forest is also located within the focus area of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s Upper Mississippi River and Great Lakes Joint Venture, which aims to achieve healthy populations of all birds through regional conservation. 

About The Conservation Fund
At The Conservation Fund, we make conservation work for America. By creating solutions that make environmental and economic sense, we are redefining conservation to demonstrate its essential role in our future prosperity. Top-ranked for efficiency and effectiveness, we have worked in all 50 states since 1985 to protect more than 7.5 million acres of land.