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Driftless Area Land Conservancy's 2021 Highlights

Updated: Jan 26, 2022

Your support makes great things happen! 2021 had many challenges, but thanks to our community of donors, partners, volunteers, and supporters, DALC accomplished incredible work. Check out some of the highlights!

Land Conservation and Stewardship

Created a Director of Conservation Programs position. Cindy Becker stepped into this role at the beginning of the year to fulfill DALC’s commitment to “protect what we manage and manage what we protect.” All of our fee title properties now have updated management plans and an increasing number of volunteers to help care for them.

Revitalized our volunteer base. Under Cindy’s leadership, we saw 66 volunteers provide nearly 750 recorded hours of service in 2021, bolstered by two six-person WisCorps crews. They controlled invasive species, carried out two large prescribed burns, removed fences, built trails, and catalogued a huge diversity of flora and fauna.

Opened the first segment of the Driftless Trail. The Weaver Road Trail is a mile-long out-and-back trail that takes you from a spectacular vista, down a wooded valley and around a rocky pine relict to a spring-fed stream. WisCorps crews spent three weeks constructing trail a second 2.7 mile segment that will open in 2022. We are set for making great progress on the ground in 2022!

Completed the Spring Valley Tract land management plan. We and our partners have spent 2021 learning from this land and designing management strategies that contribute toward our vision of demonstrating compatible agricultural, recreational, and biodiversity goals. Restoration has begun on the oak savanna.

Achieved our fundraising goals for Ringelstetter Wetland. In 2020, a grassroots effort was launched to preserve this 154-acre marsh along the Lower Wisconsin State Riverway. Community members asked DALC to take the lead on acquiring this special place. DALC secured a Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Grant, and the community led local fundraising efforts. Awareness grew about this special place, and with the help of The Nature Conservancy, Ducks Unlimited, numerous members of the local community, and a successful Giving Tuesday campaign, we met our fundraising goal. DALC will acquire the property in early 2022 and will subsequently transfer ownership to the DNR to make it part of the Riverway, designated a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance.

Partnerships and Community Resources

Strengthened our many partnerships, despite pandemic related challenges, and celebrated many accomplishments, including:

Lowery Creek Watershed Initiative:

  • Collected our third year of stream monitoring data, which has inspired others to start monitoring, and partially contributed to elevating Lowery Creek to a Class I trout stream. This stream has a healthy “heritage population” of native brook trout.

  • Brought back the popular Evenings Afield series, bringing community members together outside on such topics as monitoring water quality, regenerative fruit production, and installing solar panels.

  • Completed an online mapping tool with 22 layers of data.