Habitat & Conservation  |  06/20/2024

Pheasants Forever Partners With Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District to Manage Publicly Accessible Lands

Restored native prairie on land enrolled in the Greanseams® program

PF on the Landscape

Story and photos by Anthony Hatcher

Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever began a new partnership in Wisconsin with the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District (MMSD) in August 2023. Through this partnership, the Wisconsin Land Stewardship Coordinator position was created. I am proud to be in the role.

The Land Stewardship Coordinator works to manage and restore lands enrolled in MMSD’s Greenseams® program through monitoring, planning and implementation of land stewardship activities, as well as assist with MMSD’s Working Soils® program. Activities planned or implemented thus far include invasive species removal, property assessments, reforestation of former agricultural lands, prescribed fire, and handling hunter inquiries.

Greenseams® is a unique floodwater management program which permanently protects more than 5,400 acres of wetlands, prairie and forest in the greater Milwaukee Area. These lands manage flooding through natural process by providing greater soil infiltration and groundwater recharge, as compared to developed lands.

Greenseams® properties also provide an abundance of habitat for pollinators, migratory birds, and game species. Most Greenseams® properties are publicly accessible and many are open to hunting. The Working Soils® program is a similar program that works with private landowners to protect farmland through agricultural land easements.

Local Pheasants Forever chapters have a history of working with MMSD to help manage Greenseams® lands, and the Land Stewardship Coordinator position was the next step in that relationship. The Southeast Wisconsin PF Chapter (#190) prescribed fire crew has conducted burns on several Greenseams® properties, the Ozaukee/ Washington County Chapter (#680) has been involved, and past PF employees have assisted in prairie restorations.

Other partners in the area also engaged include the Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS), Southeast Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, local land trusts and local municipalities.

Chippewa Co receives award
A woodland stream flows clear on another Greenseams® property.

Thanks in part to chapter involvement and assistance from partners, these publicly accessible open spaces will be managed to provide high-quality habitat and outdoor recreation opportunities in a rapidly developing region with little public land.

Anthony Hatcher is the Wisconsin Land Stewardship Coordinator.

This story originally appeared in the 2024 Summer Issue of the Pheasants Forever Journal. If you enjoyed it and would like to be the first to read more great upland content like this, become a member today!