Archived entries for Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust

Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust - 2016 Land Trust of the Year

Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust has helped protect natural areas and water resources for the past 20 years.  Guided by the mission to “preserve lands that protect our waters, landscapes, and natural habitats for this and future generations,” the Land Trust has helped conserve thousands of acres.  By blending education, collaboration and outreach efforts with landowners, government agencies and conservation organizations, the Land Trust is ensuring that special places in Northeast Wisconsin will remain that way.

Guckenberg-Sturm Preserve – 48 protected acres in Winnebago County, purchased in 2005 by Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust.

“Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust recognizes that the first step toward protecting land is helping landowners learn about and build a relationship with their land,” says Katie Beilfuss, Outreach Program Director for Wisconsin Wetlands Association,  “They take time to listen to landowners, focusing on meeting them where they are.”

The Land Trust has employed this principle during their engagement with wetland property owners on Green Bay.  With assistance from other organizations, Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust has held workshops engaging landowners on how wetland and water areas interact and why each depends on the other being healthy to thrive.  The Land Trust is using these efforts to increase conservation and enhance the health of Green Bay’s watershed.

“The Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust understands the bigger conservation picture,” says Joe Henry, Ecologist at the Department of Natural Resources, “We are very fortunate to have them as a partner in research, education and conservation efforts.”

Gilson Creek Preserve sign installation – 31 protected acres in Brown County

Gilson Creek Preserve sign installation – 31 acres in Brown County protected by Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust

The Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust has protected over 30 miles of shoreline including trout streams, habitat for the dwarf lake iris and the Karner blue butterfly, and territory to support wildlife.  Twenty-one of the Trust’s properties are Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Land Legacy Places–the most important places to meet Wisconsin’s future conservation and recreation needs.

All of us in Wisconsin and beyond are fortunate for the efforts of Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust. Due to this reason, Gathering Waters is thrilled to honor the conservancy with the prestigious Land Trust of the Year award.

One Heckuva (True) Fish Tale

Protected Land, Healthy Water, Happy Fish….

Each year Wisconsin’s Northern Pike begin an annual migration to reach their spawning grounds in temporary shallow wetlands. This fascinating pilgrimage is not new, but the challenges pike face along the way certainly are.

Our partners at Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust are helping pike get to prime spawning areas as wetlands are drained and converted to other uses.

As wetlands are being drained and converted for other uses and streams are bisected by road crossings–sometimes blocking this migration–Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust (NEWLT) is ensuring that these amazing creatures reach their spawning grounds. Last year, NEWLT purchased 34 acres of ephemeral wetland property along Green Bay’s west shore that plays a critical role in the area’s pike migration.

Now when adult pike leave the waters of Green Bay, they swim up these and other tributary streams to find places to lay and fertilize eggs. Once hatched, pike fry also spend time in these wetlands growing strong before beginning their journey back to Green Bay. Pike spawning is a short-lived, almost magical, event to witness.

This new preserve is now open to the public and thanks to NEWLT and partners that include The Nature Conservancy, public agencies, foundations, and local residents, we can all enjoy the magic of pike spawning–and the benefits it provides our  communities– for years to come.

This fish tale is just one of the inspiring stories that will be featured in our Fall edition of our newsletter, Crosscurrents, highlighting the important work land trusts are doing throughout the state, fulfilling needs and enriching their communities! Keep your eyes open for the newsletter, coming this November.

Floating Bridge Opens Up Marsh for Visitors at Guckenberg-Sturm Preserve

Last week, the Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust held a dedication ceremony to open a floating platform in their 48 acre Guckenberg-Sturm Preserve. The Preserve is situated along the west shore of Little Lake Butte des Morts and bordered on the north by Mud Creek at the point of its convergence with the Fox River as it travels northeast into Lake Michigan’s largest bay, Green Bay. This new platform will allow Fox City residents and visitors to venture into the marsh all the way from the upper flood plain to the water’s edge. The ability of the platform to float makes this area accessible from March through May when the annual spring floods come in as well as at other times when the water level is lower.

This wetland is home to a variety of wildlife. In the fall one can see thousands of Canadian Geese coming and going as well as otters gliding through the waters. In the summer one might see hundreds of ducks or handfuls of White Pelicans in the water. This area has always been an important preserve, and now people can really explore and experience what this 48 acres has to offer.

Not only is the Guckenberg-Sturm Preserve a beautiful scenescape, it is also an important area for health reasons as well. In a 2005 Clean Water Testing Report, it was concluded that this “marsh is a healthy, highly functioning filter for the Fox Valley’s soil and water cycle”. Because the Fox River Valley is one of Wisconsin’s most urbanized and industrialized areas, it is important that this wetland maintain its health in addition to its beauty.

Photo Credit: Northeast WI Land Trust

You can visit this beautiful spot!  Find out more at Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust’s website.

GWC: A Week in the Life

As the service center for Wisconsin’s land trust community, we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to travel across the state, visit its special places, and work alongside Wisconsin’s most talented and passionate conservationists.  What follows is a glimpse of a week in the life of Gathering Waters Conservancy…

GWC: Traveling across the state to strengthen Wisconsin land trusts

Working with our Regional Partners to Strengthen Conservation in the Mississippi Blufflands
Although our mission is clearly focused on Wisconsin conservation, we often find that our work here is strengthened by working with partners at the regional and even national levels.  One such example is our partnership with the Blufflands Alliance - a group of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Illinois, and Iowa land trusts working together to preserve the blufflands of the Mississippi River.  We were present at their quarterly meeting in Galena, IL to explore how working together increases our collective capacity to protect more land in the blufflands. 

Introducing GWC and the Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust to community leaders in Green Bay
At GWC we’re lucky to have an exemplary, committed board of directors that is always striving to advance our mission using their unique skills and connections.  One such director is Randall Lawton, from De Pere, who has stated that his goal during his service on our board is to increase support for private land conservation in northeast Wisconsin. In an effort to do just that, he hosted a breakfast reception in Green Bay to introduce his friends and colleagues to GWC and NEWLT.  In attendance were representatives from the local media, business owners, elected officials, and community leaders — all of whom now know more about their local land trust and how we’re working together to protect the special places in northeast Wisconsin.

Throwing out the First Pitch!

GWC had the unique opportunity to be the featured nonprofit at a Madison Mallards game - the popular summer collegiate baseball team.  Not only did we introduce GWC and Wisconsin land trusts to ~1,000 new people, but we also got to throw out the first pitch!

The six year old daughter of GWC Executive Director Mike Strigel throws out the first pitch.


Supporting our friends at the Northwoods Land Trust
The Northwoods Land Trusts’ annual meeting was held over the weekend at Minocqua Winter Park - the site of the largest ever conservation easement donated to a Wisconsin land trust.  GWC was in attendance to show our support for the land trust and its record-breaking work, as well as to meet with their staff and board to discuss our upcoming work to help NWLT prepare for Land Trust Accreditation.

Delivering Capacity-Building Services to Tall Pines Conservancy in Wisconsin’s Lake Country

A central component of our Land Trust Excellence & Advancement Program (LEAP) is working one-on-one with land trusts to assess how they meet Land Trust Standards & Practices, the legal and technical guidelines that guide land trust work.  This week our Land Trust Program Director, along with her counterpart from the Midwest office of the Land Trust Alliance, visited with the staff and board of Tall Pines Conservancy to guide their assessment session.  Next, they’ll deliver a set of recommendations and provide support to assist Tall Pines with fully implementing Land Trust Standards & Practices.

And we’re already looking forward to what next week holds!


A 34 Acre Purchase Creates Unique Recreation Opportunities in Northeast Wisconsin

Spring seems to have officially sprung! All signs of winter have disappeared quickly and haven’t shown any hint of returning. The quickly melting snow and ice have allowed Northern Pike to begin spawning early this year. There have already been sightings of these fish in streams along Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust’s newly completed preserve of 34 acres of wetlands along the West shore of Green Bay.

This preserved area is an important spawning location for the Northern Pike. The fish use the network of streams in the preserved area to travel inland from the Bay each year to spawn. Once the new fish hatch they return to the Bay and the streams once used as their travel routes dry up.

“If we care about the waters of the Bay and the quality of our fisheries, land conservation on the west shore of Green Bay is crucial. The health of Green Bay and also Lake Michigan is very much determined by what we do on the land here, in northeastern Wisconsin,” said Deborah Nett, Executive Director of NEWLT.

This area should be open to the public late this summer.  More information on recreational opportunities in northeast Wisconsin can be found by contacting Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust.

Three Cheers for Three Creeks Conservancy!

Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust has added its largest conservancy ever, Three Creeks Conservancy, to it’s fold of protected land. Three Creeks Conservancy consists of 600 acres, nearly one square mile of land which will remain intact and wild for future generations to enjoy. Not only is this its largest conservancy, it is one of the most beautiful, comprised of 560 acres of private forested land and undeveloped shoreline in Marinette County.

This is one of the last few private wilderness areas in northeast Wisconsin. Besides being habitat for bear, bobcat, and deer, the creeks have their own wolf pack. Numerous migratory and nesting song and game birds have made this place their home as well.

A trout stream in Three Creeks Conservancy

The only development that exists is a few rustic cabins overlooking a series of cascading falls unique for a property this size. “Standing at the creek’s edge, I saw fish flickering in the water and could feel the warmth of the sun emanating from the huge rocks beneath me. The roaring of the rushing water drowned out the sound of the wind blowing through the pines above. It feels good to know that this place will always remain this way,” notes Julie Hawkins Tyriver, Land Stewardship Coordinator for the Land Trust.

She adds, “The Northeast Wisconsin Land Trust is excited by the opportunity to protect such an expansive, beautiful area and cannot stress enough the importance of protecting large tracts of land like this.” The extensive habitat and the ecosystem services which we rely on are just a few of the benefits of this gift.

We’re Packing Our Bags for Rally 2011!

At last count over 25 Wisconsin land trusts have registered for Rally in October.  We’re really excited that so many of our member land trusts are seizing this excellent opportunity to learn from each other and the national faculty that make it all possible.

As we announced on this blog last week, Gathering Waters Conservancy was able to offer eight Rally scholarships this year.   We’re pleased to report that we’ve added to this number through our Land Trust Excellence & Advancement Program partnership with the Land Trust Alliance.  The following groups received an Alliance scholarship:

All told, at least 17 Wisconsin land trusts are receiving some well-deserved assistance with Rally costs. Thanks go to the generous donors who make LEAP possible.

We can’t wait to see each of these Wisconsin land trusts and more at Rally in Milwaukee on October 13-16.  You’ll have endless opportunities to learn in workshops, get outside together, share with colleagues, and hear some pretty spectacular plenary speakers including Milwaukee’s own Will Allen while we’re there.

If you haven’t already, here’s your chance to register.

We promise you’ll get your money’s worth and feel reminded of why we love our important work.

Gathering Waters • 211 S. Paterson St. Suite 270 • Madison, WI 53703 • PH 608-251-9131 • FX 608-663-5971 • [email protected]