Close-up photo of wetland in Honey Creek Valley with yellow marsh marigolds in bloom and a profusion of skunk cabbage
Honey Creek Valley: Marsh marigolds bloom upstream in Honey Creek Valley from recent TNC land purchase. © Steve S. Meyer

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The Nature Conservancy Expands Preserve in the Baraboo Hills with 117-acre Acquisition

Baraboo, WI

The Nature Conservancy (TNC) in Wisconsin is excited to announce the addition of 117 acres of important and diverse habitat to its Honey Creek Preserve in the Baraboo Hills.

Adding this land and restoring it to its natural state will greatly improve habitat for resident and migratory wildlife species, many of which are currently listed as uncommon or of special concern due to low numbers. The land also includes almost 1.5 miles of stream frontage, including a long stretch of the North Branch of Honey Creek, a Class 2 trout stream.

“This is an exciting addition to the lands we have worked with landowners to help protect in the Honey Creek watershed,” says Ann Calhoun, Baraboo Hills Project Coordinator for TNC in Wisconsin. “This parcel is an important piece in maintaining and protecting the connection and transition across the diversity of habitats throughout the valley. From the lowland stream and somewhat rare forested wetlands found on this parcel, to the upland forests, all are critically valuable for wildlife, particularly the wide range of birds that utilize these areas during nesting and migration.”

The streams, wetlands, and forest on the land are in good shape, with only limited habitat degradation from past land use and invasive species. The property is surrounded by protected lands on three sides, with TNC’s Honey Creek Preserve to the north, Baraboo Range Preservation Association and Wisconsin DNR Forest Legacy conservation easements to the east, and DNR-owned land to the west, making this property an important wildlife corridor.

Several wildlife species have been found in the wetland complex that encompasses a large portion of this property, including amphibians such as the pickerel frog and northern leopard frog, as well as birds such as the rusty blackbird, red-headed woodpecker, least flycatcher, American woodcock, and American bittern.

In addition, this property connects two bluffs, to the east and west, that together form a protected and connected landscape of varying elevation and habitat type that is vital to providing refuge for wildlife from the effects of climate change.  In the near term, TNC will lease some of the agricultural fields while evaluating opportunities for restoration on the property. Areas currently planted with row crops will be transitioned to a mix of perennial native prairie and wetland plant species. 

TNC will also continue surveying the wildlife and plant life on the land to determine how best to conserve and ensure its future viability and resilience in the face of a changing climate and more extreme weather events.

The property will be open to the public and increase opportunities for everything from hiking, wildlife and nature observation, to fishing, hunting, and cross-country skiing.

TNC has worked with landowners and other partners to protect the exceptional diversity of animals and plant communities in the Baraboo Hills since 1964.

The Nature Conservancy is a global conservation organization dedicated to conserving the lands and waters on which all life depends. Guided by science, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world's toughest challenges so that nature and people can thrive together. We are tackling climate change, conserving lands, waters and oceans at an unprecedented scale, providing food and water sustainably and helping make cities more sustainable. Working in 79 countries and territories, we use a collaborative approach that engages local communities, governments, the private sector, and other partners. To learn more, visit www.nature.org or follow @nature_press on Twitter.