Conservancy Properties Undergoing Big Changes

Spring Burning
Thanks in part to a great turn out by volunteers, the GLSD has been able to complete prescribed burns on several Conservancy properties. Spring burning of these natural areas is critical to promoting native vegetation while helping to limit and sometimes kill new buckthorn growth. It is a low cost but very effective strategy in controlling buckthorn seedlings. Burns have been completed at Winnebago Trail Conservancy, Sunnyside Conservancy, Norwegian Bay Wetlands, and the Tuleta Hill Prairie since mid-March.

Hammer’s Buckthorn Removal

Managing the invasive species on the Conservancy properties is very challenging. Our most prevalent invader is common buckthorn. It can be found on every one of our conservancy lands. Sunnyside, Norwegian Bay, Winnebago Trail, and Hammer’s Trail have all been heavily infested with the prickly shrub. Since the winter of 2015, we have removed nearly 50 acres of buckthorn off the conservancy properties. GLSD staff and Lisa Reas, our Conservancy Lands Manager, have acquired $40,000 from various governmental agencies to fund the removal and follow-up herbicide treatments. Our ultimate plans (next 3-5 years) involve restoring these valuable wetland filtering areas to their native state.

Fish Sticks
In the winter of 2016, large trees were placed along the shore of four of our Conservancy properties—Sunnyside, Pool’s Hill, Norwegian Bay, and Hammer’s Trail—in order to help protect shoreline areas with heavy erosion. The projects were funded by a Healthy Lakes DNR grant that looks to create near shore fish habitat through the use of the tree structures generally known as ‘fish sticks’. The project has been very successful on the four properties with Hammer’s Trail being the property with the most need. Fifteen fish stick structures were placed there along 300’ of shoreline and 2,300 deep rooting native wetland sedges, rushes, grasses, and flowers were planted by GLSD staff and Green Team Volunteers.