Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Land & Water Resources Department

Prairie Moraine County Park - Restoration

Property: Prairie Moraine County Park
Project Status: Active or In Progress
Project Schedule: Ongoing

Dane County Parks staff and volunteers have been working to restore the three primary natural resource communities which historically existed in the park: prairie, oak savanna/opening, and oak woodland -- view our Natural Areas Program webpage for more information. The proliferation of invasive/aggressive species has diminished the use of the area where dogs can safely run, blocked views of significant geologic features, and crowded out native vegetation. The restored landscape will provide improved ecosystem benefits, such as water infiltration and pollinator habitat, and offers a biologically diverse landscape for exploration. The restoration project is anticipated to be completed through a variety of activities over multiple years.

Activity:  Oak Savanna and Woodland Restoration
Project Schedule: Fall 2022, Completion
Goals: remove invasive species and restore native oak savanna and woodland vegetation, enhance dog exercise space, and restore views of significant geologic features.
Dane County Parks staff and volunteers are working in an 11-acre temporarily fenced area to remove invasive species and replant oak savanna and woodland vegetation according to current plans. Work includes removal of aggressive/invasive species including multiflora rose, autumn olive, buckthorn, honeysuckle, boxelder, and grey dogwood. Occasional shade and fruit trees are being retained and native flowers and grasses will be added along with a limited number of native shrubs and oaks. Temporary fencing will allow work to proceed with minimal disruption to park visitors and their dogs.

For more information on vegetation management at this park, please view the Plans & Documents tab below. Much of the restoration work is being accomplished with the help of Ice Age Trail Alliance and Prairie Moraine Friends, Inc volunteers.


Lars Higdon, Botanist/Naturalist
Dane County Parks Division
4318 Robertson Rd.
Madison, WI 53714
(608) 245-6898


December 2021
Recent restoration accomplishments include:

  • All invasive buckthorn and honeysuckle has been removed from the project area. Native shrubs including hazelnut, elderberry and plum will be planted in 2022.
  • Twenty-four oaks have been planted in the oak woodland unit.
  • Around 50 dying ash trees, infested by emerald ash borer, have been removed.
  • A grove of young oaks, a stand of American plum, and several American hazelnut were uncovered from the invasive brush, helping to ensure their long term survival.
  • Several gorgeous views of the terminal moraine have been opened up.


October 2021
A temporary fence was added in the southwest corner of the park where active restoration is occurring. Fencing off the 11 acre restoration area means volunteers can work on removing invasive species and planting oak trees and woodland vegetation without having to close the park for work days. The means less disruption for park users. The fence will remain in place through the fall of 2022 so volunteers can continue to remove invasives, treat any resprouts and plant native vegetation in accordance with the vegetation management plan.