Conservancy protects an additional 40 acres of rare habitat in Grant County


LA CROSSE (WKBT) – The Mississippi Valley Conservancy has added an additional 40 acres of rare habitat to the lands it preserves.

The group purchased the land in Grant County last month to extend protection for the region’s unique geology and rare plants and animals, including a unique geological feature called cold air slopes or algific talus slopes.

“Within cold air slopes, also known as algic scree slopes, the movement of subterranean air keeps the earth cool even on the hottest days, supporting rare plants and animals today. that would have been found 10,000 years ago, “the conservationist told a Liberation press.

The 40-acre addition to the Mississippi Valley Conservancy’s Devil’s Backbone Nature Reserve provides additional protection for fragile habitats and native plant and animal species that have lived there for thousands of years.

Photo by Gatlin Fenwick.

Conservation has replenished land in the area since 2007, starting with 28 acres of land known as the Devil’s Backbone State Natural Area.

“We knew the property was incomplete,” said Abbie Church, director of conservation for the Conservancy. “We had a functional algific embankment slope area, with the federally threatened northern monastery, the state threatened cherry drop snail, and other rare species. On a hot July day, you can feel the cold air coming out of the vents on the hillside. But what we were missing was the air inlet supporting the entire system – usually a sinkhole or series of sinkholes. “

If left unprotected, the source of the airflow can be blocked and all habitat can be quickly destroyed. Sometimes, she explained, the air-supplying chasms can be moved away from the slope of the algic embankment itself, forming part of a labyrinth of caves and underground corridors.

The conservation bought the land from Milli Lindell and her brother Doug.

“My mom and dad would often drive Dugway Road out of Glen Haven and see the Conservancy sign,” Milli said. “After mom passed away last year, we thought we should look for a new owner and immediately thought this would be a great way to continue to preserve the land. This is an especially good fit as Conservancy’s Devil’s Backbone property shares a border with our land. Glen Haven is a space filled with memories for our family in so many ways. The fact that our family land is now part of conservation will allow us to visit and share its history with present and future generations.

offering opportunities for hiking, hunting, fishing and other nature-oriented outdoor recreation. The Conservancy was able to secure funding for the new acquisition from three sources: the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program of Wisconsin, the Paul E. Stry Foundation, and donations from Conservancy members and supporters.

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