A mosaic of forest, wetlands, savannas, rivers, and lakes, the Mukwonago River Watershed is a natural treasure located about 35 minutes from Milwaukee.
The Mukwonago River is one of the cleanest streams in southeastern Wisconsin and provides important habitat for rare fish and mussels. The surrounding landscape is home to a wide array of native plants and wildlife, including sandhill cranes, tree frogs, mink, red fox, butterflies and dragonflies.
Who We Are
The Nature Conservancy is a leading global conservation organization working around the world to protect the land and water on which all life depends.
For centuries, early settlers and their descendents have cared for the lands in the Mukwonago River Watershed, making it one of the highest quality waterways in the state. In 1983, The Nature Conservancy joined that partnership, first protecting and later purchasing the former Milwaukee Boys Club Camp.
Today, the Conservancy owns 1,440 acres within the watershed and has helped to protect an additional 426 acres through its work with individual landowners and partner organizations. A group of dedicated volunteers has been vital in helping staff maintain an active science and land management program.
Our Conservation Goals
Protecting the water quality of and natural areas within the Mukwonago River Watershed.
- Managing our preserves to maintain rare natural communities and provide habitat for fish, mussels, amphibians and reptiles.
- Working with individuals and organizations to promote long-term conservation within the watershed.
- Working to protect the watershed while balancing human needs and economic health in the region.
How We Accomplish Our Goals
Development of conservation partnerships that leverage conservation activities throughout the watershed
- Land acquisition from willing sellers and generous donors.
- Conservation easements (voluntary legal agreements that protect the conservation value of a piece of land by permanently limiting its present and future uses while keeping it in private ownership).
- Land management, such as work parties and burn workshops.
Conservancy Natural Areas in the Mukwonago River Watershed
The Conservancy owns 1,440 acres at five preserves in the Mukwonago Watershed, including:
- Lulu Lake Preserve (504 acres)
- Crooked Creek Preserve (276 acres)
- Pickerel Lake Fen (134 acres)
- Newell and Ann Meyer Nature Preserve (405 acres)
As of August 21, 2013, the Conservancy has helped protect a total of 1,866 acres in the Mukwonago Watershed. This figure includes lands owned and managed by the Conservancy, conservation easements, government co-ops and assists.
Topographic map of Mukwonago Preserves
How You Can See Our Work
The Nature Conservancy has other preserves around the state that are open for public use for low-impact recreation — hiking, bird-watching, nature study and photography. Deer hunting is allowed at preserves by permission only.
Work parties are held at Lulu Lake Preserve the second and fourth Sundays of each month to control exotic species, burn the prairie, clear brush, or help with other land management tasks. School groups are welcome to use the preserve for field trips, by appointment. Last year, 500 students visited the preserve for nature studies.
At Crooked Creek Preserve, a monthly work party is held the first Saturday of each month. Volunteers at Crooked Creek are looking at alternative land management methods such as low-impact timber removal with oxen. Field trips are offered on occasion, and you can call the Mukwonago River Watershed office at (262) 642-7276 for information about the next trip.
Nature Conservancy Staff
Debra Bacon, Mukwonago Project Assistant
Pat Morton, Director — Mukwonago River Watershed Project
Jerry Ziegler, Mukwonago Land Steward
If you have any questions about The Nature Conservancy's Mukwonago River Watershed project, please call us at (262) 642-7276 or stop by our office on the north end of Pickerel Lake at the end of Pickerel Jay Road.