We’re happy to share the good news that yesterday we purchased 40 acres of land at Dell Creek Wildlife Area in Sauk County.

The land features 1,850 feet of Dell Creek and part of a tributary to the creek.  The bordering land includes wetlands as well as high ground with mixed oak forest.  DNR wildlife biologist Nancy Frost advocated for this purchase for years as it has been a gap in a large tract of DNR land at the Wildlife Area.  And a recent fish survey of Dell Creek confirms it as a good and improving trout stream.

This acquisition came together thanks to the generosity of the landowner, anglers, supporters of Groundswell including Sean McBride, our Norm Anderson Conservation Opportunities Fund, and the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program.

When a hoped-for grant to match the Stewardship Program funding didn’t come through, the anglers stepped up.   In less than a month the Aldo Leopold Chapter Trout Unlimited, Badger Fly Fishers, Southern Wisconsin Chapter Trout Unlimited, and the Watershed Access Fund of the Wisconsin State Council of Trout Unlimited raised $20,000 needed to complete the deal.  This quick work made it possible to meet the landowner’s deadline to sell the property before the end of this month.

Topf Wells, a strong supporter of both Trout Unlimited and Groundswell, helped with the private fundraising.  He told us that he did it in part in memory of long-time environmental advocate Dan Wisniewski.  Topf said, “I remember Dan Wisniewski, my sadly departed good friend and fishing partner, who always believed that land trusts would be a great ally to Trout Unlimited in conserving Wisconsin trout streams and making them available to the public.  Groundswell’s leadership in this purchase confirms Dan’s belief.”

As our Executive Director Jim likes to say, the conservation of cherished places doesn’t happen by accident.  This acquisition is a great example of a community effort to permanently protect land.