Mary Kay Balm
Southwestern Wisconsin has been recognized for many years as one of the best grassland conservation opportunities in the Upper Midwest. The area stands out for its distinct combination of resources:
significant populations of grassland birds, which are experiencing alarming declines across Wisconsin and range wide;
many scattered remnants of the area's original prairie and savanna habitat that once covered the region;
concentrations of rare grassland plants and animals, and spring-fed streams, all set within an expansive rural farming region of open fields, croplands, oak groves, and pastures.
The steep topography and thin soils that characterize the region are favorable for grass-based agriculture and fields enrolled in federal agricultural conservation programs.
The mission the Southern Driftless Grasslands partnership is to actively support the conservation of grasslands in Southwest Wisconsin to benefit the region’s wildlife, water, farms, and communities.
We envision Southwestern Wisconsin to be a place rich with healthy grasslands, successful working farms, clear flowing streams, diverse wildlife, and people who value and enjoy this landscape.
Southwestern Wisconsin – specifically, the Southwest Savanna Ecological Landscape - has been recognized for more than 30 years as one of the best landscape-scale grassland ecosystem conservation opportunities in the Upper Midwest. The area stands out for its distinct combination of resources: a high number of unplowed prairie remnants; concentrations of rare grassland plants and animals, and many spring-fed streams, all set within an expansive rural farming region of open fields, pastures, croplands, grassland fields enrolled in conservation programs, oak savannas, and small communities.
Mary Kay Baum
In 2018 the newly minted/restored Southern Driftless Grasslands (formerly Southwest Wisconsin Grasslands Network) partnership was established with funding support from the Fish and Wildlife Service, Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, and the Driftless Area Land Conservancy serving as facilitator. Since, we have grown to include support and engagement from 14 different federal, state, and county agencies, and non-profit conservation organizations and have secured funding for programming and land protection projects on private land.
Healthy grasslands, successful working farms, clear-flowing streams, diverse wildlife, and people who value and enjoy this landscape.
Photos: Sunset landscape: Jeff Hapeman | Monarch, Peter Gorman | CRP: Mayme Keagy | Sandhill crane: Murray Foubister | Farmland: Cathy Bleser | Dickcissel: Cathy Bleser