Overview

A tour is a great way to further learn about the Preserve’s vegetation communities.

The 460‐acre Swamplovers Foundation/Ice Age Trail Alliance Nature Preserve supports 142.5 acres of prairie, 26 acres of sedge meadow, 37.5 acres of oak savanna, 135.5 acres of oak woodland, 13.5 acres of southern mesic forest, 13 acres of emergent aquatic and open water communities, 61 acres of grassland surrogate, and 26 acres of wildlife food plots (Table 1). Adjacent habitat acreage that is part of John Brooks’ property is also actively managed by the Swamplovers Foundation. These acres are denoted in blue in the summary page for each habitat type, but were not included in the overall Preserve acreage. The Preserve is a mosaic of the presettlement vegetation of Wisconsin, and most of the communities in this landscape are in highly restorable condition. The Preserve’s community types have been delineated into 33 separate management units.

The Preserve is among the most species‐rich nature sanctuaries in the Midwest. With 419 plant species, the Preserve supports one‐fifth of Wisconsin’s total vascular floral diversity.

Herptile surveys conducted at the preserve in 2007 by Dr. Josh Kapfer estimated a Catch per Unit Effort (CPUE) for reptile and amphibian populations of 0.86, meaning that there is an 86% chance of capturing a herptile in a sampling device, an indicator that   these organisms are abundant at the Preserve. As of January 2012, a total of 1,206 species have been surveyed at the Preserve, 85 of which are considered species of conservation concern. Of these 85 species, 13 are in metapopulation, meaning that their overall population at the Preserve is composed of several subpopulations (called demes) that occur in different management units. Metapopulation status confers added stability to these populations (Kot 2001; Pastor 2009) because any localized disturbance that affects one deme will not always affect all demes of the metapopulation and surviving demes can be used to reestablish depopulated demes.

Table 1: Summary of Vegetation Communities at the Preserve
Grassland Communities
Prairie (CP‐2 and remnant) 142.5 acres
Sedge Meadow` 26 acres
Grassland Surrogate (CP‐10 or wet meadow)
Total Surrogate 61.0 acres
Unit 16           CP‐10 warm‐season grasses 12.5 acres
Unit 17           CP‐10 (orchard) 14.5 acres
Unit 18           Phalaris‐dominated wet meadow 7 acres
Unit 19           CP‐10 (horseshoe) 8 acres
Unit 24           CP‐10 (west valley collective) 19 acres
Wooded Communities
Oak Savanna 37.5 acres
Open Oak Woodland 135.5 acres
Southern Mesic Forest 13.5 acres
Aquatic Communities
Emergent Marsh/Open Water 18 acres
Wildlife Food Plots 26 acres
TOTAL 460.0 acres