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County Executive's Office

Dane County Executive Falk Announces Conservation Fund Grant Awards

February 08, 2007
Sara Kwitek, Land and Water Resources Department/Parks, (608) 224-3611 Joanne Haas, Office of the County Executive (608) 267-8823 or cell (608) 669-5606
County Executive

Two Dane County Conservation Fund Grant Awards involving nearly 100 acres in the Military Ridge Prairie Heritage Area will protect and enhance the native grasslands and groundwater near Blue Mounds. “Dane County residents have increasingly become concerned about their drinking water. Protection of areas with high infiltration rates, as evident by these two prairie sites, is one solution to ensuring that this basic need is met,” Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk said. The two purchases are in a project area established by an organization made up of eight partnering agencies dedicated to grasslands and water quality protection in this area. The two grants total $168,075 and were awarded to The Prairie Enthusiasts, a non-profit organization committed to the protection and management of native prairie and savanna in the Upper Midwest. The grant awards will help support the purchase of a 63.2-acre parcel and a 30-acre conservation easement south of the Village of Blue Mounds--two key sites for native grassland restoration that will contribute toward prairie ecosystem conservation at a landscape scale. “Grassland bird populations are declining due to loss of habitat. With the County’s assistance, these purchases can protect and increase critical habitat for threatened bird species, once common to Dane County,” Falk said. Grassland birds supported by the project include eastern meadowlarks, dickcissels, bobolinks, grasshopper sparrows, upland sandpipers and pheasants. In addition to County dollars, state dollars will contribute toward the purchases in what Falk called an “excellent example” of how the Conservation Fund Grant Program has been successful at leveraging dollars to protect natural resource areas of regional and local significance. The two purchases received final approval from the Dane County Board of Supervisors and Falk last week. # # #