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

Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program White River Sedge Meadow (No. 367)


Overview

Location

Within White River Marsh Wildlife Area, Green Lake County. T17N-R11E, Sections 24, 25. T17N-R12E, Sections 19-22, 28-32. 3,300 acres.

Description

Description

White River Sedge Meadow features the largest southern sedge meadow in Wisconsin, and contains a full variety of environmental gradients due to the extensive size of the natural area. The wetland complex contains a deep marsh with cat-tails and tussock sedge and contains a good variety of emergent aquatic species to the south. Scattered shrub-carr islands are also present. Because of its size, White River Sedge Meadow has been identified as the best opportunity within Wisconsin to manage wet meadow birds, including least bittern (Ixobrychus exilis), American bittern (Botaurus lentiginosus), sedge wren (Cistothorus platensis), grasshopper sparrow (Ammodramus savannarum), and Henslow's sparrow (Ammodramus henslowii). Thousands of sandhill cranes stage here every fall before their migration south. Scattered along the White River are patches of floodplain forest, which harbor rare birds including red-shouldered hawk (Buteo lineatus), cerulean warbler (Dendroica cerulea), and Acadian flycatcher (Empidonax virescens). Black terns have previously nested here. Other breeding birds include yellow-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus americanus), red-headed woodpecker (Melanerpes erythrocephalus), veery, prothonotary warbler, American redstart, and northern oriole. White River Sedge Meadow is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 2002.

Access

Driving directions

From the junction of Highway 23 and D (River Road) in Princeton, go north on D 6.3 miles and park. Follow the White River downstream into the natural area. The area is best seen by canoe.

Ownership

White River Sedge 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 southern sedge meadow preserve, as a wetland protection area, and as an ecological reference area. Natural processes and prescribed vegetation manipulation will determine the structure of the natural communities. Provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality sedge meadows.

Management approach

The sedge meadow species are managed actively through tree/shrub control using tree harvest, brushing and fire to mimic natural disturbance patterns. Other allowable activities include control of invasive plants and animals, and access to suppress wildfires.

Site-specific considerations

  • Roadside easement area may be managed sporadically by township and county.
  • The parking lots and access roads are managed to Department standards. Mowing should be timed to avoid dispersal of invasive plant seeds, and mowing equipment should be cleaned if invasive plant seeds are present.

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: Thursday, October 19, 2017