Celebrating Earth Day with the Planting of 44,000 Trees at Meachem Preserve!
April 28, 2021 | Topics: Places
Text and images from Root-Pike WIN
The Meachem Preserve project is underway with 60 acres of wetlands being restored to near pre-settlement conditions! Located in Mount Pleasant, east of Meachem Road and across from Sanders Park, site planning began in 2019 with restoration work starting in 2020. Restoration work so far has included the removal of agricultural drain tiles and invasive species, general site clean-up, reseeding and is now focusing on planting 44,000 trees in a variety of over 20 species in an effort to restore natural functions at this historic wetland site.
This project is critical to addressing many of the watershed threats identified in the DNR/EPA-approved Pike River Watershed Plan, including the infiltration and storage of stormwater that effectively slows runoff and improves water quality, all while creating valuable habitat for native species. This agreement also provides a conservation easement on the area so that it will remain a protected wetland in perpetuity.
Joe Pfeiffer, Vice President, KCI Environmental Technologies and Construction, Inc. says “The Meacham Road wetland and habitat restoration project is a great project with great local partners and leadership. It’s been a lot of fun to see it come together with this recent tree planting over the last few weeks. KCI has a long record of working with conservation groups and agencies to complete water quality and habitat projects like this around the country. This restoration helps us support the Pike River Watershed Restoration Plan and meet local goals and it couldn’t happen without the full support of the Wisconsin DNR’s Wetland Conservation Trust. We look forward to continuing to work together in the future”.
Funds for this project came from the Wisconsin Wetland Conservation Trust (WWCT), which funds wetland restoration projects that offset permitted wetland impacts. Some of these funds include mitigation fees from the Foxconn development in an effort to restore native wetlands to create a passive, public place for the community to enjoy.
Wisconsin Conservation Corps (WisCorps), a private non-profit located in La Crosse, was also onsite to aid in the planting. WisCorps Conservation Program Manager Andrea Frisch shares, “WisCorps’ mission is to develop leadership, self-confidence, and a strong work ethic in youth and young adults through the active stewardship of Wisconsin’s communities and natural resources. WisCorps Crews complete high-priority conservation projects including trail building, habitat restoration, carpentry, and invasive species removal”. This is one of 6 conservation projects this team has completed throughout the state this season.
As County Executive Jonathan Delagrave explains, “It is great to see public-private partnerships like this one working together to advance the environmental needs of our county. The restored wetlands will leave a legacy for residents and visitors to the Meachem Road site to enjoy for future generations and at no cost to Racine County taxpayers.”
Upon completion of this project, the site will be open to the public for nature-based outdoor activities such as hiking.
Root-Pike WIN (Watershed Initiative Network) is a nonprofit organization dedicated to restoring, protecting and sustaining the Root and Pike River basin watersheds through the funding and facilitation of a regional network of locally initiated projects. All text and images courtesy of Root-Pike WIN.