The new 714-acre Wildlife Management Area in Rock County is the second largest land acquisition project completed by Pheasants Forever in Wisconsin. Officially dedicated as the H&L FarmsWildlife Management Area, the project was made possible, in part, by a Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Knowles Nelson Stewardship grant, a North American Wetland Conservation Act grant, Pheasants Forever’s Build a Wildlife Area fund, and many other partners and donors. The area will be managed by Pheasants Forever and open to public hunting and outdoor recreation.
“This acquisition was a challenging undertaking, but it shows that partners working together can accomplish great feats,” stated Doug Fendry, Pheasants Forever’s regional representative for Wisconsin. “Acquisition projects, such as H&L Farms, provide exceptional public wildlife habitat for hunters and outdoor enthusiasts to enjoy for many years to come.”
The H&L Farms Wildlife Management Area builds upon the Avon Bottoms Wildlife Area—a designated Important Bird Area of Wisconsin and part of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource’s Wildlife Action Plan. The H&L Farms project adds 714-acres to the Avon Bottoms Wildlife Area creating a contiguous 3,549-acre complex of permanently conserved upland and wetland habitat benefiting a variety of wildlife. In addition to adding acreage to the Avon Bottoms Wildlife Area, the acquired land has significant road frontage that will provide access to areas of Avon Bottoms that were not readily accessible prior.
The H&L Farms property, located in the sandy floodplain of the Sugar River, features sprawling acres of restored grasslands and wetlands that provide critical habitat for a variety of wildlife including pheasants, quail, cranes, ducks, shorebirds, and songbirds. In total more than 30 partners collaborated on the project. Additional partners include the Rock River Valley Pheasants Forever, Walworth Pheasants Forever, Fox River Valley Pheasants Forever, Southwest Pheasants Forever and Southeast Pheasants Forever chapters, the J.A. Woollam Foundation, Green-Rock Audubon Society, Fort Atkinson Wisconservation Club, Green County Conservation League, National Wild Turkey Foundation and many more.
“I am very proud to be part of such a large undertaking,” stated Jim Cole, the president of the Rock River Valley Pheasants Forever chapter, the group who spearheaded the project. “It is a great accomplishment for so many donors and organizations to work together and protect a very important outdoor resource for future generations. The level of collaboration by all parties involved was truly remarkable.”
The H&L Farms Wildlife Management Area is located directly southwest of Avon, Wis. and will be open to public hunting when the pheasant hunting season starts on Saturday, October 18.
Emy Marier (651) 209-4973
Image courtesy Pheasants Forever