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

Wisconsin State Natural Areas Program Milwaukee River And Swamp (No. 93)

Milwaukee River And Swamp

Photo by Thomas A. Meyer


Overview

Location

Within the Northern Unit of the Kettle Moraine State Forest, Fond du Lac County. T13N-R19E, Sections 11-14, 23, 24. 828 acres.

Description

Description

Milwaukee River and Swamp features an unusual combination of southern and northern wet-mesic forests situated along 0.75 mile of a slow, meandering warm water stream with accompanying shrubs zones and communities including lowland hardwood forest, conifer swamp, and a small bog lake. The river bottom is mucky with sand and gravel and there are good populations of northern pike, black crappie, walleye, and several smaller forage species. Aquatic plants include water-lilies, water-milfoil, coon's-tail, waterweed, giant duckweed, water nymph, and several pondweeds. One large spring, 1000 feet long, feeds the river in the north portion of the site. Bordering the river is a dense shrub zone that changes abruptly to a yellow birch, white birch, American elm, black ash, and basswood lowland forest. East of the small lowland forest is a more dense conifer swamp of mainly white cedar but also tamarack and black spruce. A good representative understory is present. A small bog lake occurs in the eastern portion of the natural area. Milwaukee River and Swamp is owned by the DNR and was designated a State Natural Area in 1971.

Access

Driving directions

From the intersection of State Highway 67 and County Highway G in Dundee, go south on G 2.9 miles, then east on the Forest Headquarters access road 0.4 miles to a parking area. Get a State Forest map showing trail locations. To access the eastern portion, exit the headquarters and go north on G 0.85 miles, then east on SS 0.9 mile, then south on GGG 1.6 miles, then west on the access road to Mauthe Lake 0.8 miles to a boat landing and parking area. A trail leads west from the lot. The heart of the area can be reached by canoe via the Milwaukee River.

Ownership

Milwaukee River And 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.

Objectives

Site objectives

Manage the site as a reserve for northern wet-mesic forest, hardwood swamp and shrub-carr, as a wetland protection site, as a significant geological site, and as an old southern dry-mesic forest restoration area. The wetland natural communities and geological features are the primary purpose for protection and management. Another objective is to provide opportunities for research and education on the highest quality glacial features and old southern dry-mesic forest restorations.

Management approach

The native wetland 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 in wetland areas is not considered compatible with management objectives. In the southern dry-mesic forest restoration areas, the native dominant forest and woodland tree species (primarily oaks) are managed to both regenerate some of the trees, but also to leave some of the trees or groups of trees to develop old forest and woodland characteristics. Harvest of canopy trees occurs in places to regenerate the oak cover-type, which would otherwise change to maple over time. Some individual trees and patches of trees, however, are left to develop into a very old component of the forest. Other allowable activities in the restoration areas include control of invasive plants and animals, maintenance of existing facilities, and access to suppress wildfires. Salvage of trees after a major wind event in the restoration areas can occur if the volume of woody material inhibits fire prescriptions.

Site-specific considerations

  • Although removal of hazardous trees from over and near trails is an allowed activity, manipulation/removal of vegetation and soil disturbance should be minimized to the extent possible.
  • During timber management activities, the soil profiles and topographic characteristics of the glacial feaures need to be maintained.

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: Monday, August 14, 2017