- Natural areas
- Contact information
- For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
- Thomas Meyer
Natural areas conservation biologist
Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Milwaukee River Floodplain Forest (No. 253)
Within Kettle Moraine State Forest Northern Unit, Washington County. T12N-R19E, Sections 14. 77 acres.
The Milwaukee River Floodplain Forest features a bottomland hardwood forest with small upland islands located along the East Branch of the Milwaukee River. The site also contains dry-mesic forest and shrub-carr. The well-structured floodplain forest is dominated by large silver maple and green ash with other lowland trees including hackberry, black ash, and bur oak. Just east of the river are small upland islands with sugar maple and beech. The herbaceous groundlayer dominants include reed canary grass, bedstraw, sensitive fern, water parsnip, and green dragon. Also present is the special concern plant species American gromwell (Lithospermum latifolium). In areas with canopy gaps, the openings are quite brushy and dense with dogwoods, prickly ash, and hawthorn. Several spring runs are also present. Animal species of concern are the state-threatened longear sunfish (Lepomis megalotis), and greater redhorse (Moxostoma valenciennesi). Bird life includes blue-gray gnatcatcher, brown creeper, wood thrush, and great-horned owl. Milwaukee River Floodplain Forest is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1992.
From the intersection of U.S. Highways 45 and State Highway 28 East in Kewaskum, go east on 28 1.9 miles, then south on Oak Drive Road 1.2 miles. The site lies about 0.1 mile west of the road.
Milwaukee River Floodplain Forest is owned by:
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.
Manage the site as a floodplain forest reserve, as an aquatic reserve and wetland protection site, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the forest and associated shrub-carr. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native floodplain forests.
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.
- The eight-acre old field will be allowed to be invaded by native dry-mesic/mesic forest species.
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.
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.
- Cross country skiing
- 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
For rules governing state-owned SNAs and other state lands, please consult Chapter NR 45 Wis. Admin. Code [exit DNR]