Honestly, when you’re driving by the old Badger Ammo lands on Highway 12 it doesn’t look like much, does it?
You wouldn’t know it, but this quiet expanse of land hosts a wealth of grassland birds and other species rarely found anywhere else in Wisconsin. It is ecologically significant on a regional scale and holds the potential for national significance.
Two-thirds of American grassland bird species are declining in numbers. These are the birds found at Badger. In 2003, biologists with the Wisconsin DNR found that Badger provides habitat for 97 confirmed or probable breeding bird species, of which 21 are grassland and shrubland dependent.
Prairies and Oak Woodlands were historically common in Wisconsin but are now rare throughout the state. Prairie once occupied approximately 2.1 million acres in Wisconsin. Now, only about 2,000 acres remain – less than 0.1%.
Just as generations before us assured that today we enjoy the marvel of Devil’s Lake State Park and bald eagles still soar over the Wisconsin River, the Badger prairie is both our inheritance and our legacy.
Next time you are driving down Highway 12, look a little closer. It is a treasure chest holding the last remnants of our prairie heritage.
Citizens for Safe Water Around Badger