2013 Hickory Hill Spot Treating Capital Equipment Grant

Dear Dane County Environmental Council,

The goal of this project was to create an exceptional user experience for the citizens of and visitors to the Village of Cross Plains – specifically along the Ice Age National Scenic Trail. In 2009, the Village of Cross Plains (Village) and the Ice Age Trail Alliance (IATA) began a rather ambitious restoration project of a 9-acre oak savanna and 28-acre prairie.

Project goals involved hiring a professional contractor to spot treat invasive species. The contractor selected for this project did a first sweeping mid-June with a second sweep mid- July to look for any thistle, burdock and leafy spurge within the project area. The contractor was able to successfully treat approximately 90% of the project area this year with the budget allotted.

During the foliage spraying a floristic qualitative analysis was also conducted on the project area. It was with great news that a score of 48.2 was given to Hickory Hill, which indicates that it is a natural area with exceptional quality. This is noteworthy considering the restoration process is still in the early stages of progress, and gives us great optimism as we set goals for future improvement on this property.

All in all, we are increasingly optimistic and encouraged with the work that has been completed on Hickory Hill. We look forward to continuing this journey, working closely with the Ice Age Trail Alliance, professional contractors and volunteers throughout our community. Thank you to the Dane County Environmental Council and staff for supporting this project.

Sincerely,

Michael Axon
Parks and Recreation Director
Village of Cross Plains
maxon@cross-plains.wi.us or 608-798-3241 ext. 107

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2011 Capital Equipment Grant

Dear Dane County Environmental Council,

In 2011, the Village of Cross Plains was awarded a Capital Equipment Grant in March 2010. The grant award was in the amount of $2315.00 to be used for a walk behind brush hog and Husqvarna chain saw. It is at this time that the project equipment was used at its fullest capacity with a high degree of cleaning of trails, hilltops, and steep hillsides.

The Village of Cross Plains is made up of approximately 140 acres of conservancy land and hilltops with a wide variety of evasive species and troubled areas. The major concern that we had was the increased wild blackberries that sprouted due to the opening of the hilltop canopy. Other concerns were the highly infested areas of buckthorn along the sides of the conservancy areas. The new equipment was an important factor in helping make progress on these conservancy areas over the past year and a half.

With approximately 140 acres of conservancy and having a one person department, goals are important to implement early in the process so all of the volunteers are able to pick up each weekend on any/all designated work areas. Some of the goals that we found to be of major importance were: being sure safety was first and that all workers/volunteers adhered to Village policies on equipment and the well being of others, scheduling workdays in advance, spot treating all evasive species that were cleared, keeping to the timeline of specific areas and not moving forward until “said” area is cleaned, involving schools and educating students. We felt that the Environment Council’s Mission is related to all of these goals as we hope to enhance the awareness of these lands, educate volunteers, and increase environmental control of our natural resources.

During the past year and a half, our “Friends of the Conservancy” group has accomplished a lot of our goals for one of our 4 major conservancy areas. The Parks and Recreation Department, volunteers, and our general population of users have all benefitted greatly from the cleanup of conservancy areas. Although we have made a major improvement to this area, there is still a lot of work to do to stay up on and sustain the work that has already been completed.

All in all, this project has been very successful over the past year and a half. We thank you for the support as the equipment purchased was of high degree of importance and directly related to our success. We will look to sustain the work that has been completed with regular weekend workdays, while increasing our numbers of volunteers each and every weekend.

Michael Axon
Parks and Recreation Director
Village of Cross Plains
maxon@cross-plains.wi.us or 608-798-3241 ext. 107

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2011 Community Partner Grant

Spreading Seeds Seeding

Dear Dane County Environmental Council,

In 2011, the Village of Cross Plains was awarded a Community Partners Program grant in March 2010. The grant award was in the amount of $1,000.00 to be used for prairie seed on Westview Conservancy. The hilltop has been cleared over the past few years and new prairie seed was needed to sustain good plants and grasses in areas that receive good sun and a great view.

Some of the goals we have in this area are to remove buckthorn, cedar, honeysuckle, aspen, and crown vetch. Continue with prescribed burns as we’ve done in the past, and replant some areas with seed that are still bare or where crown vetch has been eliminated. This all needs to be done prior to any/all others weeds taking over the area.

Our budget included $1,000.00 worth of seed which would include forb species, grasses, sedges, and rushes. We were able to purchase these items from Agrecol in the Spring of 2011. Some of the items purchased included pale purple coneflower, white prairie clover, dotted mint, black eyed susan, june grass, and little bluestem.

The Village of Cross Plains Parks and Recreation Department is only about 50% completed on the project at this time. Once the seed was purchased, we looked over the area once again and found that there was more crown vetch along the hilltop that previously mentioned. During this time we have enhanced our workdays to eliminate this specie and are working at planting the rest of our seed.

We thank you for your continued support of these type of conservancy projects that we have. We look forward to working with you and other groups as we strive to complete our goals on all of our appoximatly 140 acres of conservancy land.

Michael Axon
Parks and Recreation Director
Village of Cross Plains
maxon@cross-plains.wi.us or 608-798-3241 ext. 107

View a PDF file of this report.