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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
Thomas Meyer
Natural areas conservation biologist

Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Bibon Swamp (No. 275)

Bibon Swamp

Photo by Drew Feldkirchner


Overview

Location

Bayfield County. T45N-R6W, Sections 1-18; T46N-R6W, Sections 29-35. 9,684 acres.

Description

Description

Bibon Swamp, the largest wetland in Bayfield County, occupies the basin of an extinct glacial lake drained by the White River, a hard, cold water trout stream. The community types of this 15-square mile lowland are unusually varied for such a topographically uniform basin. Portions are forested with a rich wet-mesic conifer swamp of medium-sized white cedar, although trunk coring revealed that at least parts of the stand are in excess of 150 years old. Bunchberry, twinflower, small bishop's-cap and a number of orchid species are representative of the groundlayer here. Resident birds include Nashville, parula, and Canada warblers, and winter wren. Bordering the cedar swamp is wet forest dominated by black ash, with a groundlayer of speckled alder, sensitive fern, wood nettle and poison ivy. Black and white warbler, veery, and red-eyed vireo are common nesting birds. North of the river conditions are very different, with a large complex of peatland communities including open bog, spruce-tamarack muskeg, and black spruce swamp. Deep sphagnum hummocks form a continuous ground cover upon which ericaceous shrubs grow including leather-leaf, bog laurel, and Labrador-tea. Birds found in these coniferous peatlands include palm warbler, yellow-bellied flycatcher, boreal chickadee, and sharp-shinned hawk. Vast shrub swamps composed of slender willow, red-osier dogwood, and speckled alder, blanket portions of the wetland. Other communities of lesser areal extent include northern sedge meadow composed of Carex species and blue-joint grass, and patches of riparian woodlands, dominated by American elm, green ash, and red maple, along the White River. The area supports a variety of rare plants and animals, including three state-threatened species: wood turtle, sheathed pondweed (Potamogeton vaginatus), and sweet colt's-foot (Petasites sagittatus). Other rare species found here are great gray owl, bald eagle, osprey, and showy lady's slipper (Cypripedium reginae). Bibon Swamp is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1992.

Access

Driving directions

Several places afford access to the site. From U.S. Highway 63, on the east side of Grandview, go north on Raymond Avenue into the swamp. Alternatively, go east from Grandview on 63 about 1 mile to Matt's Lane, then north about 0.8 miles to its end. The east end may be entered on Bibon Road, about 5.5 miles east of Grandview via 63. Canoe access via the White River is provided at the junction of Sutherland Road Mason Delta Road, about 5 miles west of Mason.

Ownership

Bibon Swamp 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.

Management

Site objectives

Manage the site as a reserve for northern wet & wet-mesic forest, hardwood swamp and shrub-carr, as an aquatic reserve and wetland protection site, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the wetland forest and shrub-carr. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native northern wetland forests, shrub-carr, and rivers.

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

  • Roadside easement area may be managed sporadically by township and county.
  • Snowmobile trail is managed and maintained by a local snowmobile club. The management includes removal of windfalls, hazard trees over the trail and mowing. Soil disturbance is not permitted during any maintenance operations.
  • Any in-stream habitat restoration projects require approval of the Bibon Swamp Advisory Council and the Natural Areas Preservation Council.
  • Any beaver dams found on Class I or II trout waters will be removed.
  • Although removal of hazardous trees from over and near the walk-in canoe access is an allowed activity, manipulation/removal of vegetation and soil disturbance should be minimized to the extent possible.

Master planning

Management objectives

  1. Remove beaver dams affecting trout fisheries.
  2. Sunset agricultural leases and permit natural succession to forest.
  3. Raze low value structures and restore the site to natural vegetation.
  4. Maintain snowmobile trail on old rail grade.
  5. Remove invasive exotic species.
  6. Survey breeding birds every five years.
  7. Meet annually with the Bibon Swamp Advisory Council.
  8. Continue to acquire land in the project boundary.

Accomplishments

  1. No beaver present in 2010.
  2. All agricultural leases have been cancelled since 1999.
  3. All structures have been razed with no new purchases in 2010.
  4. Trail maintained by snowmobile club with grooming being the only activity.
  5. No invasives work in 2010.
  6. Next survey scheduled for 2012.
  7. Advisory council did not convene in 2010. Next meeting will likely be in Decemebr 2011.
  8. No new purchases in 2010.

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, 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

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

Last revised: Tuesday, October 21, 2014