Driftless Area Focal Sites
The series of sites below have very high biological ratings. but have less than one-half of these quality areas are in protected status. Each site has a brief introductory description followed by a link to a prinatable pdf.
Center Creek Oak Woodland, Buffalo County: This site has several hundred acres of gnarly oaks interspersed with patches of goat prairie. The full range on known oak woodland ground layer plants can found at this site.
Chase Creek, Grant County: This valley harbors the exceedingly rare algific talus slope community. A survivor of the "Ice Age' in Wisconsin, these slopes are formed where air and water flow through very cold caves, then resurface on slopes, and still retain vestiges of the tundra plants and animals.
Eau Claire River, Eau Claire County: The Eau Claire River valley east of Altoona has many outstanding natural features. The mid-sized river has many rare aquatic species, the floodplain and terrace slopes have many sandy prairie and savanna remnants.
English Run Forest, Crawford County: Perched high in the watershed, the English Run is a small stream surrounded by forests of varying quality. Patches have old-growth characteristics, while other patches are younger. Many rare birds nest here.
Eureka Maple Woods, Monroe & Vernon Counties: Near the headwaters of important Dritless Area trout streams, the Eureka Maple Woods harbors one of the richest groundlayers in the state.
Greensand Cuesta, Juneau County: A cuesta is a ridge with a steep slope on one side and a gentle slope on the other. These ridges in Juneau County have cliffs, savannas, and gorges with deep forests and streams.
Lima Bluff, Pepin County: Covering nearly all of the hilly portion of eastern Pepin County, these Lima Bluffs are in great need of land owner contacts. Excellent prairie and savanna species are present, but the primary use is deer hunting and the site is gradually changing to forest.
Lower Black River, Jackson & LaCrosse Counties: Downstream from the dam in Black River Falls is a free-flowing large river with excellent aquatic diversity and associated floodplain forest and savanna communities.
Lower Chippewa River, Buffalo, Pepin, Dunn and Eau Claire Counties: This large free flowing river and its floodplain and terraces are the focus of this site. Exceptional diversity is found in this area with opportunities for protection, excellent.
Maxville Bluffs, Buffalo County: Covering nearly all of the hilly portion of northwestern Buffalo County, these Maxville Bluffs are in great need of land owner contacts. Excellent prairie and savanna species are present, but the primary use is deer hunting and the site is changing to forest.
Morgan Coulee, Pierce County: This site has a unique context with natural communities changing rapidly across short distances. A naturalist can go from dry prairie, through oak savanna, oak woods to the richest maple forest in less than 1/4 mile.
Otter Creek Barrens, Dunn County: Formed on sandstone ridges in northern Dunn County, these Otter Creek Barrens offer the best opportunity in the entire state to restore a large scale oak barrens community. Initial work has begun.
Pepin-Pierce Woodlots, Pepin & Pierce Counties: Near the headwaters of Plum and Missouri Creeks, four woodlots harbor the richest known groundlayers in the state. Several rare plant species are found in these maple forests.
Snow Bottom, Grant County: Centered in a very rugged area of the state, Snow Bottom has outstanding pine relcits, dry forests, cliffs, trout streams, wetlands, prairies, and even fen communities.
Thompson Valley Oak Woodland, Trempealeau County: This site has several hundred acres of gnarly oaks interspersed with patches more typical forest. The full range on known oak woodland ground layer plants can found at this site.