Field Notes
U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service
Field Notes Entry   
Service improves hunter's opportunities in Wisconsin
Midwest Region, November 14, 2017
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Field planted to permanent cover in partnership with local farmer
Field planted to permanent cover in partnership with local farmer - Photo Credit: Mike Engel/USFWS
Ditch plug and wildlife scrape
Ditch plug and wildlife scrape - Photo Credit: Mike Engel/USFWS
Excavator filling ditch that drained wetlands
Excavator filling ditch that drained wetlands - Photo Credit: Mike Engel/USFWS

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and Wisconsin partners are collaborating to expand hunting and fishing opportunities in Wisconsin. Dane County Parks purchased 81 acres of land to improve water quality, minimize flooding, create pollinator habitat, and increase recreational opportunities including hunting and fishing through wildlife habitat enhancements. County staff looked to the Service’s Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program to assist them with restoration design and construction.

Since the inception of the Partners Program in 1987, thousands of projects over the years, like this one, demonstrate the Service’s commitment to America’s hunting and fishing heritage. By working with landowners we are able to improve habitat for waterfowl and wildlife, we are supporting Department of the Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke’s call to expand hunting and fishing opportunities for the American people.

In September of 2016, Dane County, the state’s second most populous county, was opened to the public. Primary hunting has been for deer and turkey, but with habitat restoration, hunting opportunities will expand to include waterfowl, pheasant and woodcock. Habitat improvements include 31 acres of harvestable cool season grass habitat, seven acres of diverse native pollinator habitat and 12 acres of wetland restoration. The restored wetland and grassland habitat will provide nesting and brood rearing opportunities for mallards and wood ducks. These habitat improvements will contribute to the migratory and nesting habitat goals of the Horicon Coastal North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant. The bordering Yahara River (an indirect tributary of the Mississippi River) provides fishing opportunities and connectivity to other habitat. Fish include largemouth bass, white crappie, brown trout and bluegill. In 2018, there are plans in cooperation with state highway construction to develop additional parking and boat access to the river. The property is adjacent to 1,300 acres of state and county lands that are managed as part of the Cherokee Marsh Wetland Complex.

Dane County Board Supervisor Maureen McCarville said “It is a great addition to the improvements being made by the county, local government and volunteer groups to make the most of this invaluable asset.”


Funding for restoration is through financial support of the Madison Sewerage District and in-kind services of local Partners for Fish and Wildlife Biologist and Dane County Parks. The County and Partners for Fish and Wildlife Program have partnered on more than forty habitat projects dating back to 1993 to restore wetlands, streams, prairies and savannas.

Contact Info: Michael Engel, 608-221-1206x21, mike_engel@fws.gov
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