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Waukesha County Land Conservancy and Muskego Lakes Land Conservancy to Merge

January 28, 2020  |  Topics: Issues

Mill Valley Preserve

Waukesha County Land Conservancy is pleased to announce that it will combine forces with Muskego Lakes Land Conservancy, uniting under the Waukesha County Land Conservancy name, to take effect by year end. Both organizations will be made more effective by this merger, which will eliminate duplicate effort, maximize the impact of donations, and leverage a more efficient economy of scale.

Recognizing the Muskego Conservancy’s impact, history of organization

“We deeply admire the Muskego Lakes Land Conservancy board for their 25-year track record of conservation success, and we are excited about the power of our organizations’ collective impact.” said Steve Schmuki, Board President of the Waukesha County Land Conservancy. “We extend our appreciation for and gratitude to founding members Ron Ford, Howard Schneider, and Wayne Radtke for pioneering conservation and stewardship efforts that have dramatically improved the water quality of the Muskego Lakes Watershed.

The Muskego group was founded in 1994 when Ford and Radtke, then City of Muskego aldermen, realized that they could not depend on city ordinances to protect environmentally sensitive lands such as wetlands from development. They invited William O’Connor an attorney who specialized in assisting land trusts, to Muskego, and in the words of Ford himself, “the rest is history.” 

Calhoun Creek Prairie: 40-acre savanna with two restored wetlands and ten acres of native prairie,
located south of Beloit Road in the City of New Berlin.

Strong alignment between the groups’ missions, visions, and values

Now, 25 years later, the conservancy is still dedicated to its mission of “protecting life and land at the water’s edge” by preserving lands that significantly contribute to the ecological integrity of the wetlands, stream banks, and waters of the Muskego Lakes Watershed. This watershed is a priority project area for the Waukesha County Land Conservancy, as well, and, its mission to “protect and care for environmentally significant land and water in Waukesha County for future generations” aligns seamlessly with their priorities, Schmuki stated.

Both conservancies strive to acquire properties to protect land and water resources; maintain regional conservation values; steward and care for properties with science-based practices; and promote public enjoyment, recreation, awareness and education in the community.

Four years ago, the Muskego Lakes Land Conservancy board recognized the need to plan for the future.  They determined that the most effective approach to long-term sustainability would be to merge with the Waukesha County Land Conservancy, leveraging its established professional staff and resources instead of reinventing the wheel.

Mill Valley Preserve: 2-acre, lotic (flowing water) ecosystem,
located on the south side of College Avenue in the City of New Berlin.

Commitment to carry on stewardship and protection of the Muskego Lakes Watershed

Management of the Muskego group’s four protected properties—Calhoun Creek Prairie, Mill Valley, Linnie Lac Marsh, and Calhoun Creek Preserve— will become Waukesha County Land Conservancy’s new responsibility, along with activating volunteers to steward and care for this land.

Linnie Lac Marsh Preserve: 8-acre marsh at the head of the Linnie Lac Mill Pond with both lotic (flowing water) and lentic (still water) ecosystems.

A more sustainable future for both organizations

Given the extraordinary successes of the Muskego Lakes and Waukesha County Land Conservancies, this exciting merger will result in increased synergy, helping us broaden and deepen our impact. We are excited to use this partnership to continue to realize our shared missions and to usher in the future of conservation and stewardship in Wisconsin.

Calhoun Creek Preserve: 9-acre wooded wetland and upland habitat.

Waukesha County Land Conservancy (WCLC), founded in 1992, is a nonprofit conservation organization that was completely volunteer-run until 2015. Over its 27-year history, WCLC has protected over 3,000 acres of environmentally significant land in Waukesha County thanks to a highly engaged volunteer base, a dedicated board of directors, committee members, staff, and donors.

Muskego Lakes Land Conservancy is a nonprofit, volunteer-run organization that was founded in 1994. For the past 25 years, MLLC has preserved over 50 acres to protect the ecological integrity of the Muskego Lakes Watershed.

Text provided by Waukesha County Land Conservancy. Images of MLLC preserves courtesy Muskego Lakes Land Conservancy. For more information go to the WCLC website.