WISCONSIN DESERT -The Sand Barrens of the Lower Wisconsin River
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When Glacial Lake Wisconsin drained at the end of the last ice age, it catastrophicly flooded the Lower Wisconsin River Valley. This flooding deposited massive amounts of glacial sand, which then, through a process of down cutting, formed terraces along the river. Today, there are areas on these terraces that have desert-like features. These places, called sand barrens, consist of areas dominated by open sand, occasional xerophylic plants, prairie grasses, and scattered trees. What makes the sand barrens so unique is that they provide habitat for species of plants and animals found nowhere else in Wisconsin. These species are adapted to the extreme environmental conditions of the sand barrens, which is a consequence of their sandy, nutrient poor soil combined with the effects of agricultural use in the past. We are exploring this interesting mix of natural conditions and human land use history that characterize sand barrens of the Lower Wisconsin River. We look at how the two have contributed to the landscape we see today. We are focusing on five sites with sand barrens: Blue River Sand Barrens, Spring Green Preserve, Arena Pines and Sand Barrens, Gotham Jack Pine Barrens, and Woodman Lake Sand Prairie. These areas are now designated State Natural Areas and owned by the Wisconsin DNR or Nature Conservancy. We examine the histories of these sites to find similarities and differences among them that will help shed light on their creation and how they respond to changes in land use.
Blue River Sand Barrens
Arena Pines and Sand Barrens
Spring Green Preserve
Gotham Jack Pine Barrens
Woodman Lake Sand Prairie
Lower Wisconsin Riverway
Includes Color Maps, Airphotos, Photographs.
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The Influence of Topoedaphic Factors, Canopy, and Bracken Fern on Distributional Patterns of Plant Species at Spread Eagle Barrens Nielsen, Scott E. (University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources, 1997-07)Spread Eagle Barrens, located in eastern Florence County Wisconsin occupies a pitted outwash plain created during the late Wisconsin glaciation. The irregular topography was caused by the collapsing of sediment from ...
Collada, Angela E. (University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources, 1998-05)This study investigated vegetational changes in oak wilt patches that occurred in late-successional barrens at Necedah National Wildlife Refuge. Oak wilt, a vascular disease that is usually fatal to members of the red ...
Connolly, Timothy T. (University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Natural Resources, 2001-04)Sharp-tailed grouse were once abundant throughout Wisconsin, but only a few isolated populations presently exist due to the loss of early successional habitat they require. Most populations are found on savanna reserves ...