Oak savanna and oak woodland habitats have experienced drastic declines regionally, both in terms of total area occupied and the ecological quality of remaining sites. Invasive species and fire suppression are two primary contributing factors leading to this decline. Removal of non-oak species is one important step to restoring these globally rare natural communities. Competition from encroaching trees and brush contribute to declining oak tree health and heavy shade make it nearly impossible for oaks to recruit a new generation of young trees. With nearby trees removed and sunlight enhanced, oak trees stand of chance of resuming their important role as the backbone of these habitats in the region.
Mud Lake Wildlife Area encompasses 64 acres of established grassland habitat and an additional 36 acres of newly planted prairie which buffers the shore of Mud Lake in rural northwest Dane County. Grassland birds, pollinators, and other wildlife are plentiful in the area. A timber harvest will expand this habitat and facilitate future soil stabilization efforts to further protect Mud Lake.
Darren Marsh, Park Director
Dane County Parks Division
5201 Fen Oak Drive
Madison, WI 53718