Skip to main content

Contact: Anne Reis, DNR Public Lands Specialist or 608-279-6483

Shelly Torkelson, Natural Resources Foundation Director of Communications or 602-481-4109

Grants From Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund Will Help Support Habitat Projects In Jefferson, Portage And Sauk Counties

Hunters Can Donate While Purchasing Licenses

MADISON, Wis. – The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR) encourages hunters purchasing their licenses to consider making a donation to the Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund.

Established to protect, restore and improve habitat for Wisconsin's plants and animals, the fund provides an opportunity for the public to invest in the public lands and waters where they recreate.

The Cherish Fund is built through voluntary contributions from the public when they purchase their hunting and fishing licenses through the DNR's Go Wild license portal.

"Donations from hunters, anglers and nature enthusiasts to the Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund make restoration and management work on public lands possible," said David Clutter, executive director of the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin. "When people donate to the Cherish Fund, they're improving wildlife habitat, controlling invasive species, and restoring wetlands, grasslands and forests."

"The Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund has grown to over $2 million, and we continue to fund more projects and improve priority habitats with this essential endowment," said DNR Deputy Secretary Steven Little.

The DNR is pleased to announce that recent funding will help support three high-priority habitat projects on public lands in Jefferson, Portage and Sauk counties.

The three selected projects represent high-priority habitat restoration work from across the state, and they support wildlife-dependent recreation in highly populated areas.

Jefferson County

In Jefferson County, $19,800 will go toward enhancing a remnant wet prairie in the embedded state natural area at Waterloo Wildlife Area. Wet prairies are the rarest of the wetter prairie communities, and the site at Waterloo was noted by DNR Natural Heritage Conservation staff to be of very high quality and high importance for continued work.

As a large block of public land, these areas offer many outdoor recreational opportunities, including stocked pheasant hunting, trapping opportunities, bird watching and hiking. The property also harbors a rare prairie plant community, one of the rarest remaining in Wisconsin.

Portage County

The Leola and Buena Vista wildlife areas will receive $21,313 for a 350-acre grassland restoration and enhancement project. This project will support our goals of increasing and improving prime habitat in the greater prairie-chicken management area.

The Buena Vista and Leola wildlife areas have a special significance for rare and declining grassland birds and several rare butterflies. Both properties are home to a large proportion of Wisconsin's state-threatened greater prairie-chicken population, in addition to numerous other grassland bird species of greatest conservation need.

Sauk County

In Sauk County, $21,313 will go towards improving oak savanna, oak woodland, bedrock glade and remnant prairie habitat at Devil's Lake State Park, Lower Wisconsin State Riverway and Natural Bridge State Park, as well as associated state natural areas.

The Baraboo Hills are home to one of the largest contiguous blocks of oak habitat remaining in North America and have provided critical food and habitat for several game and rare/endangered plants and animals for thousands of years.

Projects were chosen through a grant application process and reviewed by an engaged stakeholder group, including Backcountry Hunters and Anglers, Ducks Unlimited, Pheasants Forever, Wisconsin Bird Conservation Partnership, Wisconsin Conservation Congress, Wisconsin Waterfowl Association and the Wisconsin Wildlife Federation. The DNR and the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin are grateful for these organizations' participation in the process of distributing Cherish funds.

About The Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund

Created in 2012 by an act of the Wisconsin State Legislature, the Cherish Wisconsin Outdoors Fund is a public-private partnership that provides a permanent source of funding to care for Wisconsin's public lands for generations to come.

Learn more on the Cherish Wisconsin Fund website.

About The Natural Resources Foundation Of Wisconsin

The Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin (NRF) helps protect our state’s lands, waters, and wildlife by providing funding, leading partnerships, and connecting all people to nature.

NRF invests over $1 million each year into conservation and environmental education and leads several diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts for Wisconsin’s conservation community. NRF also helps people explore the outdoors by coordinating 250+ expert-led Field Trips each year to Wisconsin’s most special places and hosts The Great Wisconsin Birdathon, the state’s largest fundraiser for bird conservation.

Learn more and get involved at