Title: Field and Brush Mower to Maintain Prairies and Clear Invasive Species

Contact: Judie Pfeifer, Treasurer, Friends of Capital Springs Recreation Area, Inc. (FOCSRA), 3101 Lake Farm Rd., Madison WI 53711.

Statement of Need and Objectives: The mower is used to: 1) maintain a natural 1.5 acre walking trail, which cannot be maintained by large riding equipment. It will help extend the trail throughout the recreation area, 2) mow numerous prairies that are too small to be maintained by larger equipment, 3) help eradicate invasive plant species so native vegetation can get a foothold. The invasive species include buckthorn, box elder trees, and canary grass. Mowing these plants when they are small and avoiding native species will slowly change the landscape back to its natural state, and 4) allow better public access through these trails and create a more beautiful natural landscape for the public to enjoy.

Work Accomplished, Impact and Sustainability: The DR Brush Mower was purchased on 8/3/12 from Stoughton Lumber Company for $3100, $1550 of which was provided by the grant from the Environmental Council. The matching money was proved by FOCSRA. The Mower already is a welcome addition to the Capital Springs Recreation Area (CSRA). It will greatly facilitate our goal in removing invasive species in the various park units. There are many areas that we will not be able to burn because of risk of the fire getting away and doing more harm than good. We anticipate putting about 40 or more hours in this fall and winter. We have found that mowing natural areas in the fall after we have a hard frost promotes natural growth and redistributes good seeds.

Volunteer Dan Kerkman, the primary operator of the mower will be putting in additional hours in the spring until plants start to green up. The mower will also be used in the summer to keep natural trails open through tall canary grass. This allows more access for the public to the various uses of the Recreation Area. Already the mower has helped us extend and maintain a new trail spur.

The mower is being used for the CSRA, which consists of approximately 3,000 acres of varied grassland, woods and wetland communities on the southern edge of Madison. An estimated 260,000 patrons visit the CSRA each year.

Dane County Parks will provide the regular maintenance on the mower and it is stored in the County garage on the CSRA property. The mower is under warranty with Stoughton Lumber Company. We are very grateful to the Dane County Environmental Council for this grant.

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