A narrow stream in a wetland surrounded by trees and marsh grass.

Protecting communities and waterways

A land trust works to protect nearly 1,000 acres near Cross Plains, WI.

Groundswell Conservancy purchased five acres of land near Cross Plains in the Black Earth Creek valley in late 2019. The land is right next to state-owned land, and the purchase is helping to complete the Black Earth Creek Fishery Area and Dane County’s Black Earth Creek Natural Resource Area.

The land purchase was made possible in part by a $52,000 grant from the Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program. Knowles-Nelson grants are matching grants, which means that every dollar invested by the state of Wisconsin in a Stewardship project is matched by at least one dollar raised elsewhere. To protect this land near Black Earth, Groundswell Conservancy also received support from the Dane County Conservation Fund, Trout Unlimited, and generous invidual donors. Collaborative efforts like this are how environmental conservation in Wisconsin gets done.

Groundswell Conservancy has protected nearly 1,000 of land in the Black Earth Creek valley since 2003. Their work is vital to maintaining and improving the land’s ability to sustain major rain events. Every piece of land protected here will never be paved over or built up. This is important because climate change is causing more massive rain events, like the 2018 storm that forced Black Earth residents to evacuate, and this Knowles-Nelson grant is one example of how we can protect Wisconsin’s land and water so that it stays resilient even as our climate changes.

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