Augusta Wildlife Area
Augusta Wildlife Area is a 2,503-acre property located 4 miles north of the city of Augusta in Eau Claire County. Kelly Road and its junction with County Road G form the western and northern boundaries of the area. Parking areas are located off Highway G, Kelley Road and Wildlife Road. This 2,500-acre marsh and woodland lies just south of Lake Eau Claire. Hiking trails and gravel roads provide access into the interior of the property.
The area consists of gently rolling, sandy upland soils interspersed with lowland peat and marshlands which were probably formed by melting glaciers 10,000 years ago. The Augusta Wildlife Area is comprised of two ecological landscapes: Western Coulee and Ridges (82%) and Central Sand Plains (18%).
Prior to settlement in the 1930s, the northern half of Augusta Wildlife Area was historically jack pine, scrub (hill's) oak forest and barrens. The southern half of the property was oak, including white oak, black oak and bur oak, with a minute portion in white pine and red pine. During the settlement era, the entire region was subject to explosive timber harvest and was probably burned over by wildfire. Marshlands were drained creating a negative impact on the thousands of ducks and geese that used the area. The DNR began purchasing lands here between 1942-1955 and Augusta State Wildlife Area was created to restore wetlands. Three flowages were constructed in 1957, 1960 and 1966 and provide a combined water surface area of about 140 acres. In addition, 10 potholes and many ditches provide habitat for mallards, blue-winged teal and wood ducks. Muskrats and beaver are also common to the area. Today, Augusta Wildlife area is managed primarily for waterfowl, ruffed grouse and deer.
The majority of the property is managed as a wetland complex to provide habitat for waterfowl. Upland management consists of maintained trails, small timber sales, aspen, oak and mixed timber management to provide habitat for grouse, woodcock and mammals including deer, bears and furbearers. A northwest portion of the property was recently converted into an open barrens habitat.
Management techniques include small scale timber sales, prescribed burning, water level management (three control structures) and trail maintenance. The property also maintains a number of artificial nesting boxes for waterfowl.
Augusta Wildlife Area offers many recreational opportunities:
- Cross-country skiing (no designated trail);
- Hunting (especially noted for deer, bear, waterfowl, turkey, grouse and small game);
- Wild edibles/gathering; and
- Wildlife viewing.
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