Project Acreage: 44
Yellow giant hyssop
Prairie Indian plantain
Project and Site Description:
The goal of this project is to reduce invasive species and brush abundance in 44 acres of grassland and oak savanna to improve habitat quality for at-risk grassland and savanna birds and plants.
The site has 2 threatened species, Henslow's sparrow and yellow giant hyssop, and 11 bird and 2 plant species that are Wisconsin special concern. The nearby presence of York Prairie State Natural Area significantly increases the ecological value of this property, and visa versa, because of the similarity of habitats. Oak savanna restoration has been ongoing since 2002, including removal of undesirable trees and shrubs, prescribed burns, invasive species control and overseeding. The gromwell and yellow giant hyssop spontaneously appeared in 2005 following brush clearing and burning. The prairie restoration has been very successful and is used by grassland birds, invertebrates, and other wildlife. The prairie remnant has pasque flower, prairie smoke, lead plant, prairie dropseed, flowering spurge, toadflax, spiderwort, and many other species, including the uncommon plains muhly grass and Wisconsin special concern lance-leaf tickseed. Five acres of crown vetch was planted 15 years ago to control soil erosion in the area that is now restored prairie. It eventually spread throughout the project area, to one degree or another. While much of it was eliminated during site preparation for the prairie planting and since then by annual spot spraying in the other areas of the site, it still occurs in scattered locations, threatening the site's ecological quality. The landowner has been funding restoration and management work out-of-pocket, except for some 2006 DNR funding for hedge parsley control. Award of this grant will facilitate additional work and help speed the restoration process. The landowner is exploring permanent easement options for the property so that it will remain in a natural state.