Dane County Parks Begins New Vegetation Restoration and Innovative Biofuel Project at Dorn Creek Wildlife Area in the Town of Westport

June 11, 2015
Sara Kwitek, Acquisition and Planning Specialist, 608-224-3611 Erika Hotchkiss, Marketing & Outreach Coordinator, 608-224-3762
Land & Water Resources

Dane County Parks is embarking on a new, innovative vegetation restoration and re-use project at Dorn Creek Wildlife Area in the Town of Westport.   The wildlife area is jointly managed by Dane County Parks and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources who have been working hard over the years to restore the land to native grassland and wetland.  Today, these restored habitats are being threatened by invasive black locust and box elder trees that out compete the native, desirable plant species. The invasive trees reduce habitat quality for meadowlarks, bobolinks, pheasants, waterfowl and other grassland wildlife found at the site.


Through a partnership with U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, these invading species will be removed and the areas will be restored to a native grassland.  The unique and exciting part of this project is that the woody vegetation removed from the site will be chipped and utilized for biofuel (i.e. production of energy or electricity from biomass).


This is a first of its kind project in Dane County that was initiated and will be overseen by Mike Engel, a Wildlife Biologist for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.  “Using waste from wildlife habitat restoration for biofuel utilization is an example of the forward thinking and dedication to sound land management practices we have in Dane County.  This is an incredible opportunity for collaboration on a new, exciting and groundbreaking project.” stated Engel


The project is expected to begin within the upcoming weeks.  At no cost, Lambert Forest Products will be removing, chipping, and processing the trees for biofuel utilization.  They are one of the very few forest management companies that do this type of work.  According to Lambert Forest Productions, there are multiple environmental benefits of biofuels including:

  • Less emissions (sulfur dioxides, nitrogen oxide, mercury and particulates) than coal.
  • Woody biomass is carbon neutral. If not burned, wood releases carbon dioxide as it decomposes
  • Less ash is produced compared to coal, reducing landfill.
  • As a local product, the fuel does not have to be transported as far as coal sources
  • Provides a beneficial use for material that has been considered a detriment and taken to the landfill.


The public and media are invited to visit the site for a demonstration by Lambert Forest Products. Please contact Sara Kwitek at Kwitek@countyofdane.com if you would like to be notified of details regarding a field visit.


For a map of Dorn Creek Wildlife Area visit http://danedocs.countyofdane.com/webdocs/pdf/lwrd/parks/Dorn_Creek.pdf.