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DNR recommends money for Lima Marsh Wildlife Area

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Kevin Murphy
January 28, 2011
— The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Board has recommended the state spend $356,000 to add 128 acres northeast of Milton to the Lima Marsh Wildlife Area.

The purchase would help link and develop the Glacial Heritage Area, which is planned to be a 57,000-acre network of 12 state natural areas in Rock, Jefferson, Dane and Dodge counties. The DNR board voted Wednesday to recommend the 128-acre purchase.


The Lima Marsh Wildlife Area is five miles northeast of Milton. It was established in 1956 and offers 2,048 state-owned and 466 leased acres for hunting in several scattered sites. One of the sites completely encompasses the 124-acre Lima Bog, which was designated as state natural area in 1988.


One of the largest bogs in southcentral Wisconsin, Lima Bog is managed as a tamarack swamp, an aquatic swamp and a protected wetland. It provides research and educational opportunities to study native swamps.


"Lima Bog is an area of great interest because its tamarack vegetation may be common to northern Wisconsin but is uncommon in the southern part of the state. It's one of those areas that was never farmed or developed so appears as it was pre-settlement," said Mike Foy, property manager for Lima Marsh and Storrs Lake wildlife areas.


The Lima Marsh Wildlife Area consists of marsh, restored prairie and tamarack swamp. Expanding it by buying 128 acres from Brian Thatcher, Whitewater, adds 77 acres of wetland, 36 acres of cropland and 15 acres of upland woods for hunting, fishing, trapping, hiking and cross-country skiing.


The state received appraisals of $320,000 and $370,000 for the Thatcher property before negotiating the $356,000 purchase price. The purchase option expires March 31.


"The purchase provides better road access to the wildlife area to the north and a buffer to the Lima Bog to the south," said Richard Steffes, DNR real estate director.


Current road access is from East Willow Road east of County KK. Buying the Thatcher property adds access from County N, Foy said.


"It will be easier for people to get down into the marsh and use the property," he said.


The DNR board recommendation goes to Gov. Scott Walker for final approval. State stewardship funds would be used in the purchase.


If approved, Foy would post the boundaries with small signs, but the DNR has no plans to develop a parking lot.


The DNR has set a 4,642-acre goal for the Lima Marsh Wildlife Area. To date, 2,048 acres have been acquired for $574,800.



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