In the blufflands region of the upper Mississippi River valley, strong local public-partnerships led by an alliance of area land trusts work with conservation-minded landowners and active communities work to protect the precious natural resources of the area for their own sake – and for their economic, health, aesthetic and other human benefits. These partners work cooperatively to achieve “a state of harmony between men and land” as sought by the great conservationist and Wisconsin native, Aldo Leopold.
Mississippi Valley Conservancy has forged a strong and broad array of partnerships to address the myriad conservation challenges found in MVC’s service area of 3.4 million acres. These partnerships include:
La Crosse Bluffland Protection Program
Since 2001, the City of La Crosse has budgeted money each year for bluffland protection. MVC uses the money to acquire properties within the eight-mile stretch of Mississippi River bluffs overlooking the city. The program provides scenic preservation to ensure that the beauty of the landscape is not destroyed by poorly-planned development. Through this program, MVC carries on the proud tradition of land conservation in the Coulee Region pioneered by Ellen Hixon and other citizens in the early 1900s who purchased Grandad Bluff and Hixon Forest and donated these gems to the city for all residents to enjoy. Through these ongoing efforts, MVC and the city work to enhance the quality of life of all local residents, provide accessible outdoor recreation, and promote our tourism-fueled economy.
Onalaska Natural Lands Protection Program
In 2009, MVC and the City of Onalaska entered into a formal contract whereby MVC protects land within Onalaska’s Greenway Plan. The first project was completed in December 2009—the Savannah Oaks Tract in Greens Coulee is a beautiful bluff adjacent to existing city park land. The land is now open to the public for activities like hiking, hunting and bird watching.
La Crosse River Conservancy
The La Crosse River Conservancy project is located in the valley east of Highway 16 and south of Interstate 90 along the La Crosse River State Trail. This partnership is a public-private, community-based effort to conserve this river valley with its associated riparian forests, wetland prairies, tamarack swamps, and open wetlands with an additional emphasis on low-impact recreational trails and environmental education. The partners involved include Gundersen-Lutheran Medical Center, Western Technical College, the Cities of La Crosse and Onalaska, private landowners, and Mississippi Valley Conservancy.
Borah Creek Prairie Partnership
MVC joined forces with The Prairie Enthusiasts and Driftless Area Land Conservancy to protect an important tract of native prairie in Grant County with rare wildflowers. The prairie was at risk of being plowed up for agriculture and lost forever.
Holland Sand Prairie Partnership
A 61-acre tract, the last remnant of what had been the expansive “Prairie La Crosse,” was about to be bulldozed for development. The site contains incredible biodiversity and was a spot school children could go to study nature. Through the join efforts of MVC, Town of Holland, WI-DNR, The Prairie Enthusiasts and the Friends of the Holland Sand Prairie, the land was saved. Town of Holland citizens actually voted to tax themselves to help pay for the prairie! How often does that happen? Friends of the Holland Sand Prairie.
Our corporate sponsors see how local conservation efforts have helped to make this a great place to live, work and play. They assist MVC in numerous ways; distributing our newsletters in their lobby, promoting our educational hikes and assist in introducing MVC's conservation efforts to others. MVC is greatful for the contribution these corporate sponsors put forth each year.Corporate Sponsor page
By working together, we can make a much bigger impact in addressing the environmental challenges we face!