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For information on State Natural Areas, contact:
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Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Trempealeau River Meadow (No. 346)

Trempealeau River Meadow

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer


Overview

Location

Buffalo County. T20N-R10W, Sections 19, 20, 29, 30. 443 acres.

Description

Description

Trempealeau River Meadow is a high quality wetland complex located in the Driftless Area of Wisconsin. The site features a large undisturbed sedge meadow with a diversity of species. Dominant plant species are tussock sedge, fox sedge, blue-joint grass, cord grass, fowl manna grass, and rice cut grass. Forbs include Canada anemone, marsh pea, panicled aster, swamp milkweed, spotted joe-pye weed, American water-horehound, and blunt-leaf bedstraw. Adjacent to the meadow is a shallow marsh with numerous emergent aquatics such as cat-tails, river bulrush, common rush, wool-grass, common bur-reed, swamp loosestrife, bulbet water-hemlock, wild rice, and broad-leaved arrowhead. At four locations the water deepens in old oxbows of the Trempealeau River forming deep-water marshes with an abundance of submerged aquatic species. An important aspect of these communities is the absence of invasive species. Large numbers of grassland birds, which are declining in Wisconsin, nest in the area. Species include bobolink, savannah sparrow, eastern meadowlark, sedge wren, and LeConte's sparrow (Ammodramus leconteii), a Wisconsin species of concern. Additional rare birds include the state-threatened great egret (Ardea alba), great blue heron (Ardea herodias), bald eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus), and the red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus). Trempealeau River Meadow is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2002.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of State Highways 95 and 35 in Fountain City, go east and north on Highway 95 7.4 miles, then east on Wolfe's Dugway Road (Doelle Valley Road) about 2.2 miles to the T-intersection with River Road and park along the road. The site lies east of the road.

Ownership

Trempealeau River Meadow 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 reserve for southern sedge meadow, wet prairie and floodplain forest, as an aquatic reserve and wetland protection site, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes will determine the structure of the natural communities, along with prescribed vegetation management in the sedge meadow and prairie. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality native wetland communities.

Management approach

The ecological characteristics of the site will be primarily shaped by an intensive fire management program. The native sedge meadow and prairie species are managed actively through tree/shrub control using tree harvest, brushing and especially fire to mimic natural disturbance patterns. Occasional fire-tolerant trees and shrubs may be retained at low densities. Other allowable activities include control of invasive plants and animals, augmentation of native prairie species after careful review, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress wildfires.

Site-specific considerations

  • Roadside and railroad easement areas may be managed sporadically by township and railroad company.

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

  • Camping and campfires
  • 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
  • Drone use, unless authorized by a SNA research permit
  • Geocaching
  • Horseback riding
  • Rock climbing
  • Vehicles, including bicycles, ATVs, aircraft, and snowmobiles except on trails and roadways designated for their use

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, October 03, 2017