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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Wauzeka Bottoms (No. 221)

Wauzeka Bottoms

Photo by Josh Mayer


Overview

Location

Within the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway, Crawford County. T7N-R4W, Sections 15, 16, 17. 879 acres.

Description

Description

Part of the Lower Wisconsin Riverway, Wauzeka Bottoms contains an extensive stand of mature floodplain forest on the north side of the Wisconsin River. The canopy is dominated by silver maple, swamp white oak, river birch, and green ash, with lesser amounts of hackberry, American elm, honey locust, cottonwood, black willow, yellowbud hickory, and basswood. The structure varies from closed canopy with an open understory to semi-open canopy with brushy understory of button bush, winterberry, elderberry, and prickly ash where the canopy is broken due to running sloughs, oxbow lakes, and beaver ponds. Lianas of poison ivy, wild grape, and Virginia creeper proliferate with a rich herbaceous layer of wood nettle, sedges, grasses, cardinal-flower, green dragon, and false dragonhead. The forest supports a diverse avifauna with numerous rare birds: red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus), yellow-crowned night heron (Nyctanassa violacea), cerulean (Dendroica cerulea), Kentucky (Oporornis formosus), and prothonotary (Protonotaria citrea) warblers. Other resident birds include pileated woodpecker, blue-gray gnatcatcher, brown creeper, yellow-bellied sapsucker, and hooded merganser. A state-threatened reptile has also been seen. One state-endangered mussel species inhabits the Wisconsin River which forms the southern boundary of the site, along with the yellow sandshell, three ridge, fragile papershell, stout floater, squawfoot, pink heelsplitter, pink papershell, and salamander mussel. Wauzeka Bottoms is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1989.

Access

Driving directions

Canoe or boat directly across the Wisconsin River from the Woodman boat landing, which is located two miles west of Woodman on State Trunk Highway 133.

Ownership

Wauzeka Bottoms is owned by:

  • WDNR

Maps

The DNR's state natural areas program is comprised of lands owned by the state, private conservation organizations, municipalities, other governmental agencies, educational institutions and private individuals. While the majority of SNAs are open to the public, access may vary according to individual ownership policies. Public use restrictions may apply due to public safety, or to protect endangered or threatened species or unique natural features. Lands may be temporarily closed due to specific management activities. Users are encouraged to contact the landowner for more specific details.

The data shown on these maps have been obtained from various sources, and are of varying age, reliability, and resolution. The data may contain errors or omissions and should not be interpreted as a legal representation of legal ownership boundaries.

Objectives

Site objectives

Manage the site as a floodplain forest reserve and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the forest. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native floodplain forests.

Management approach

The native species are managed passively, which allows nature to determine the ecological characteristics of the site. Exceptions include control of invasive plants and animals, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress fires. Salvage of trees after a major wind event is not considered compatible with management objectives.

Site-specific considerations

  • Railroad corridor management occurs sporadically within the railroad easement area.
  • Upon termination of the private cabin use deed rights, the site will be restored to native floodplain forest vegetation.

Recreation

Very few State Natural Areas have public facilities, but nearly all are open for a variety of recreational activities as indicated below. Generally, there are no picnic areas, restrooms, or other developments. Parking lots or designated parking areas are noted on individual SNA pages and maps. Trails, if present, are typically undesignated footpaths. If a developed trail is present, it will normally be noted on the SNA map and/or under the "Access" tab. A compass and topographic map or a GPS unit are useful tools for exploring larger, isolated SNAs.

Allowable activities

In general, the activities listed below are allowed on all DNR-owned SNA lands. Exceptions to this list of public uses, such as SNAs closed to hunting, are noted under the "Access" tab above and posted with signs on site.

  • Hiking
  • Fishing
  • Cross country skiing
  • Hunting
  • Trapping

Prohibited activities

  • Horseback riding
  • Rock climbing
  • Vehicles, including bicycles, ATVs, aircraft, and snowmobiles except on trails and roadways designated for their use
  • Collecting of animals (other than legally harvested species), non-edible fungi, rocks, minerals, fossils, archaeological artifacts, soil, downed wood, or any other natural material, alive or dead. Collecting for scientific research requires a permit issued by the DNR
  • Collecting of plants including seeds, roots or other non-edible parts of herbaceous plants such as wildflowers or grasses
  • Camping and campfires
  • Geocaching

For rules governing state-owned SNAs and other state lands, please consult Chapter NR 45 Wis. Admin. Code [exit DNR]

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Last revised: Tuesday, March 21, 2017