2014 CPEO Military List Archive

From: Lenny Siegel <lsiegel@cpeo.org>
Date: Thu, 6 Mar 2014 09:37:53 -0800 (PST)
Reply: cpeo-military
Subject: [CPEO-MEF] NATURAL RESOURCES, REUSE: CSWAB UPDATE: Songs of the Badger Tallgrass Prairie [WI], Part 2
Begin forwarded message:

From: "Laura Olah" <info@cswab.org>

The following is the second in a series of five weekly updates

Songs of the Badger Tallgrass Prairie, Part 2

Amid the abandoned production buildings at the now-silent Badger Army Ammunition Plant, singing in tall bending grasses, and nestled in pastures dotted with grazing cattle, scientists have found a rich variety of grassland birds and habitat that may play a critical role in wildlife conservation and efforts to protect the Nation’s migratory birds.  Of the migratory birds undergoing the most serious declines, grassland birds have undergone many of the steepest declines, and these are very birds found at Badger.
In 2003, biologists with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (WDNR) found that Badger provides habitat for 97 confirmed or probable breeding bird species, of which 21 are grassland and shrubland dependent. One factor in the apparent success of bird species at Badger is the remarkable size of this property. 
The 7,354-acre Badger property provides a variety of habitats which in turn have attracted a wide range of species.  Some grassland birds, such as Upland Sandpiper, require short grass habitat.  Others, such as Bobolink and Henslow’s Sparrow, require habitat with taller grasses. Sufficient acreage for both short and tall grass habitat, providing an environment with such a rich variety of species, is found in few places in the Midwest simply because most other properties are too small in this regard.
The Henslow's Sparrow is one of several threatened species found at Badger.  Its population numbers have declined steadily over the past few decades, largely because of habitat loss. The U.S. population of this uncommon species declined more than 68% from 1966-1991.  The Henslow's Sparrow ranked highest in the Wisconsin Grassland Bird Study's ranking of birds of management and conservation concern in the state. 
Clearly, the Badger lands are critically important in maintaining, and possibly recovering, some of the biological richness of Sauk County’s disappearing native grasslands. Badger plays a crucial role in protecting Sauk County’s natural heritage. That role can change, for better or worse, as Badger’s future is decided.
Next week, in Part 3 of Songs of the Badger Tallgrass Prairie:  Nearly the entire 500-acre parcel targeted by the WDNR administration for an off-road vehicle track and gun range – including a parking lot, staging area, vehicle wash station and support buildings – has been identified by WDNR biologists as a High Priority Grassland Bird Parcel.
The Cornell Lab of Ornithology, All about Birds, accessed online at allaboutbirds.org.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Endangered Resources Program, fact sheet, Henslow’s Sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii), January 2014.
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Regional & Property Analysis: Sauk Prairie Recreation Area, July 2012.
Wisconsin’s Natural Heritage Inventory Program, Bureau of Endangered Resources, Rapid Ecological Assessment for the Sauk Prairie Recreation Area, December 2011.
Laura Olah, Executive Director
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger (CSWAB)
E12629 Weigand’s Bay South
Merrimac, WI  53561

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