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Pictured at the land closing were (front) Becky Nagel, Vern Nagel; (back, left to right) Dan Wilkening, KRLT vice president; Eric Forward, KRLT conservation programs manager; Nelson T. French, KRLT executive director; Michelle Bredahl, KRLT treasurer; and Brent Johnson, KRLT secretary.

Land trust announces Erin Prairie purchase

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The Kinnickinnic River Land Trust, Inc. (KRLT), along with its partners the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, Ducks Unlimited, the North American Wetlands Conservation Council, the Indianhead, Kinni and Racine Chapters of Pheasants Forever and Pheasants Forever Build A Wildlife Area Program, announced the purchase of a 204-acre parcel of restored wetlands and adjacent upland grasslands in St. Croix County from Vern and Becky Nagel.

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According to Vern, "Becky and I have worked extremely hard over the last 15 years to restore the landscape surrounding our home to native grasses and wildlife habitat. This work has truly been a labor of love for us and we are so pleased that through this transaction our vision that this land be conserved for the enjoyment of future generations will be realized."

The private parcel was sold to the KRLT at a bargain price by the Nagel family. KRLT intends to donate the property to the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources for inclusion in the Western Prairie Habitat Restoration Area as the Nagel Wildlife Management Area. KRLT will present this request to the Wisconsin Natural Resources Board for approval later this year.

"This property on the headwaters of the Kinnickinnic River contains beautifully restored wetlands and prairie grasslands and provides an important building block within the Western Prairie Habitat Restoration Area," noted Harvey Halvorsen, local DNR wildlife biologist. "The wide open spaces provided by the surrounding farmland coupled with the Nagel grassland is what's needed to provide habitat for pheasants, bobolinks and other grassland related wildlife species."

According to Ducks Unlimited Regional Biologist and project partner Jason Hill, "The permanent protection and future management of this property will ensure that critical production and migration habitat is available for a diversity of waterfowl, and a variety of other wetland and upland dependent wildlife, including many threatened or endangered species."

"The acquisition and permanent protection of the Nagel property is an outstanding conservation achievement that Pheasants Forever (PF) and our partners are very proud of," said David Lackey, Land Acquisition Coordinator for the local Kinni Chapter of PF. "This project was so important that three chapters teamed up with the national office to support the acquisition of this property as part of the KRLT Protect the Kinni Campaign."

"This project represents the first Build a Wildlife Area campaign project for Wisconsin," said Joe Duggan, Pheasants Forever vice president of corporate relations and marketing. "The Build A Wildlife Area campaign received funds from Enbridge Energy Partners to provide support for this project and we extend our thanks to Enbridge. Because of their vision, Wisconsin residents will soon have new wildlife management area to hunt and enjoy the great outdoors."

KRLT Executive Director Nelson French stated, "This project exemplifies the value of conservation partnerships and shows what can be done when we all work together towards a common goal.

We commend the Nagel's for their stewardship of this magnificent prairie restoration and their desire to see it protected forever."

Acquisition of the Nagel property was completed with resources made available by the Nagel family and funding from the Wisconsin Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Fund, the Wisconsin Northwest Pothole Habitat Initiative Phase IV Project managed by Ducks Unlimited, local PF Chapters, and the PF Build A Wildlife Area campaign.

KRLT is a community-based non-profit organization with more than 600 individual and business members.

Since 1993 KRLT has protected over 2,000 acres of land and eight miles of stream bank in the Kinnickinnic River Watershed. Learn more about KRLT by visiting www.kinniriver.org. View KRLT's most recent annual report at http://www.kin niriver.org/wp-content/uploads/2009/03/11021_2007-2008-krlt-annual-report_lowres.pdf.

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