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The management and development of Horicon Marsh State Wildlife Area continues to provide great challenges and rewards to Wildlife staff and visitors alike. Through diligent efforts of staff and partners like the Marsh Management Committee (MMC), much progress has been made towards revitalizing the Marsh.

Overall, habitat conditions on the Marsh showed improvement from 2001. This marks the third straight year of habitat progression. Examples of these improvements include: submergent plant growth expansion in open water areas, abundant wild rice beds in potholes on the east side of the Marsh, and moist soil plants have replaced cattail in fire- treated areas. As a result there is much food and cover available to wildlife.

Consequently wildlife usage is improving. Examples of the wildlife response to changing habitat conditions include: muskrat hut densities tripled from the prior year on surveyed areas, white pelican use continues to climb as the refuge colony now exceeds over 1,000 birds, black terns established a colony on the Bachhuber flowage with over 70 active nests

The following is a brief listing of some of the major property management accomplishments for Horicon State Wildlife Area in 2002:

  • Removed 50,000 lb. of carp via chemical treatment
  • Completed 900 acres of cattail burns
  • Treated 100 acres via aerial herbicide application to restore historic potholes
  • Completed summer draw down of the I-2 impoundment and Goose Pond
  • Mowed 25 acres of cattail at Burnett Impoundment for habitat improvements
  • Placed rip-rap on the I-3 / Bachhuber dike for bank stabilization
  • Completed upland nest searches on over 1,000 acres to update nesting ecology information.

    In 2003, Horicon Wildlife staff intends to purse the following projects:
  • Complete acquisition, grassland establishment, and wetland restoration of 42 acre parcel on Misling Island Rd.
  • Place rip rap on southern leg of the Bachhuber Dike, and finish gravel surfacing on the dike
  • Continue carp eradication efforts
  • Continue summer draw down to promote summer burning opportunities and plant diversity
  • Complete 100 acres of pothole restoration
  • Continue and expand nest ecology study

Also wildlife staff completed an application for North American Wetland Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant. Thanks for the support of partners like Superior Glacier Ridge Landfill, Ducks Unlimited, John Deere, Ozaukee / Washington Land Trust, Safari Club International, Wings Over Wisconsin, and Wisconsin Waterfowl Association this proposal contained over $1.4 million in matching funds. If the grant were approved in December 2002 the partners would receive over $700,000 in grant funds for habitat work in the Horicon Marsh Headwaters. These funds would be used to construct the new 320-acre East Burnett Impoundment beginning in 2003. They will also help acquire and restore habitat throughout the Marsh watershed. In total the match and grant funds will improve 1,962.1 acres of wetland and grassland habitat.

If you are interested in learning more about outgoing management practices and participating in the effort to rejuvenate Horicon Marsh, please attend the next MMC meeting at the Horicon DNR Service Center. For more information about the MMC, please call Andy Nelson, Area Wildlife Manager, at 920-387-7868

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