St. Croix Chapter is located in an area that at one time included large dry prairies. Today there are small oak savanna remnants that still contain some uncommon plants associated with those historic prairies. Our chapter works on a few of these, visits others to appreciate what is left, and educates folks on fire-dependent ecosystems.
The St. Croix chapter covers Pierce, Polk and St. Croix Counties in Wisconsin. We invite you to join us!
Learn more on our Sites and projects page.
Work on fire breaks
Time: 10am to 2pm. Come for one, two, or three hours -- whatever time you can volunteer is very welcome!
We will try to clear fire breaks at all sites:
Directions to Alexander:
From River Falls, take highway 65 south (35 turns into 65) toward Ellsworth. Park at the Town of River Falls Town Hall. It is on the left side, just past 770th Avenue. We will walk to the site from there.
The site is on the right side (west). From the town hall go south down over the hill. If you have 4-wheel drive, you can drive on the farm field.
Rocky Branch: 11:30am
Directions to Rocky Branch:
Officially designated as River Falls Park #12, this site is located between 1371 and 1401 River Ridge Road in River Falls.
From Main Street in RF, turn west onto Foster Street.
Turn right onto River Ridge Road.
Look for the easement path between house #1371 and 1401.
Directions to Foster:
From Main street River Falls, turn west at stop light onto West Maple Street (towards the City Hall).
Proceed approx. 9 blocks on Maple.
Turn left onto Apollo Road (there is a sign on a pole pointing to the RF Waste water treatment plant).
Proceed south to the plant gate.
Get outside and get some fresh air. You can stay as far away from other volunteers as you want!
Dress for the weather, bring gloves and bring personal drinking water.
In this study, the research group examined the effects of fire on mating opportunities and reproductive success in a widespread but declining prairie plant species, Echinacea angustifolia. Over the course of the 21-year demographic study, prescribed fires stimulated flowering and synchronized reproduction in an Echinacea population where limited mating opportunities reduce pollination efficiency and seed production. The increase in mating opportunities after fire (plants flowering nearby and with greater overlap in flowering phenology) improved pollination and seed production. Given that many species flower in response to fire, the researchers predict fire helps maintain plant diversity in prairies (and other fire-dependent ecosystems) not only by preventing competitive exclusion but also by enhancing seed production and promoting population growth.
Live near the Rush River?
In the 170 years since government surveyors first crossed the lower Rush River in 1849, the landscape is threatened with loss of water quality, invasive species and deer overpopulation, fragmentation and decline of hardwood forests, the disappearance of prairies, and a loss of biodiversity. Now, in 2019, the fate of the Rush and other rivers hangs in the balance.
To preserve what is left, current landowners, as stewards of the land must understand the threats and what can be done to combat them.
TPE member and Rush River resident Carl Nelson is forming an exploratory group of three to five individuals to discuss and reach a consensus on priorities and a plan of action.
You can read his report here. Contact Carl if you want to help (cnelso96 at gmail.com).