CNRA Current Causes


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Current Causes

CNRA was established to mobilize quickly to address crisis situations. As a result, our tradition has been to respond to issues immediately as they arise from members, as well as those from our long conservation history. It is the responsibility of the CNRA Council to set the agenda. The Council meets quarterly. It consists of five elected officers and nine elected councilors. Council meetings are open to all members, who may raise issues and vote. CNRA’s Annual Meeting, held in fall, welcomes our entire membership and promotes new members.

CNRA works through:

  • Legislative lobbying.

  • Litigation.

  • Coalition building.
  • Education.

  • Grants for research, education and preservation projects.

Horicon Marsh

For the past several years we have supported the Horicon Marsh Systems Advocates Horicon Marsh Systems Advocates in trying to prevent 133 giant wind turbines from being constructed adjacent to Horicon Marsh.

Despite our efforts, the turbines were constructed in 2008 and we are now hearing reports of bat kill plus numerous human complaints regarding noise, shadowing and illness. We continue to be concerned. The marsh has been designated a Wetland of International Importance and a Globally Important Bird Area. We do not know what the long-range impacts will be on 1.5 million migratory birds and more than 260 species of nesting birds that use the marsh, in addition to the potential impact on the nearby Neda Bat Hibernaculum, one of the largest in the US. We have continued to urge the state to set siting standards to protect Wisconsin's scenic areas and wildlife from impacts of wind turbines. The need for siting standards has also been recommended by the Governor's Task Force on Global Warming. In another marsh initiative, we offered Owen Gromme’s print “Requiem Horicon Marsh, 1916, 1976” as a premium for large donors to the Horicon International Education Center building fund.  Funding was successful and the Center is now open to the public.

      •  Horicon  Marsh in Peril - Nearby wind turbines, declining water quality and decreasing water levels at Horicon Marsh National Wildlife Refuge in southeastern Wisconsin earned the popular birders' destination the dubious distinction of being ranked the third-most imperiled refuge in the nation, according to a list compiled by Public Employees for Environmental Research. Released every year and based on interviews with refuge staff, the list ranks the Yukon Delta National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and the Hawaii Islands National Wildlife Refuge Complex as the first- and second-most threatened refuges. PEER is a national alliance of local, state and federal resource professionals.

Mud Lake Wildlife Area

A recent project undertaken is an exploration of ways citizens can contribute to management of the Mud Lake Wildlife Area Mud Lake Wildlife Area near Watertown.

Mike Ayres, CNRA member, keeps the CNRA Council informed about activities related to Mud Lake Wildlife Area.  He recently reported the southern third of the Mud Lake Wildlife Area has been added to the Glacial Heritage Area.

The Glacial Heritage Area (GHA) is a network of recreation and conservation lands in western Jefferson county. This Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) along with numerous active local groups seek through this project to help meet the growing demand for a wide range of outdoor, nature-based land and water recreation activities in concert with protecting critical prairie, savanna, and wetland habitats. The GHA project would link parks, preserves, wildlife, natural areas and other conservation lands to nearby cities and villages with a network of trails. Important places close to populated areas were identified for conservation and recreation needs over the next 50 years in The Wisconsin Land Legacy Report. The Natural Resources Board approved the GHA in thier October 21, 2009 meeting.

The southern unit of the Mud Lake Wildlife Area is listed as a natural southern sedge meadow riverine ecosystem.

GHA project proposes to:

  • expand 5 existing parks and establish 7 new parks; establish 100 miles of trails linking the parks and cities and villages; protect pockets of land along major rivers and streams for boat access sites and to protect important habitat areas;expand 11 State Wildlife Areas and buffer them with Rural Landscape Protection Areas; and
  • establish the Crawfish Prairie Habitat Area.

Land and Water Conservation

We support land trusts in various parts of the state with membership fees and grants. Several Councilors serve on land trust boards and keep us informed of activities.

Natural Landscaping

We are in partnership with Prairie Biotec Research which gives annual grants for research projects for prairies in a nine county area. Prairie  Biotec  Research CNRA contributed to Wild Ones’ purchase of new national headquarters where demonstration native gardens will be showcased Wild Ones. Recently we helped fund a Lake Butte des Morts property owners’ survey of shoreland landscaping practices conducted by the Winnebago Lakes Council.

Environmental Education

With 10 of our past members featured in the Wisconsin Conservation Hall of Fame, we continue to pursue additional inductions. In 2008 we gave a grant to the River Crossing Environmental Charter School to equip their bus with an outdoor laboratory.

To learn more about CNRA’s councilors, actions and grants, download our

Annual Report in PDF format.

Photos: Cranes at Mud Lake, Viceroy on Joe Pyeweed, Turks cap lilies
at Mud Lake.