Patrick Marsh land purchase before County Board Thursday

September 07, 2017
County Board Chair, Sharon Corrigan - 608.333.2285
County Board

Deal would preserve key natural resources area near Sun Prairie

In what conservationists are calling a key acquisition, Dane County is poised to provide matching funding for a 25-acre addition to Patrick Marsh in the town of Bristol.


The resolution is before the Dane County Board at tonight’s 7:00 meeting in Room 201 of the City County Building at 210 Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. in downtown Madison.


Patrick Marsh, which borders the northeast limits of the city of Sun Prairie, has been a hub of activity involving wildlife habit management, trail building and public access improvements. It’s also a crucial component in the Patrick Marsh Middle School environmental education curriculum.


“This purchase hits on so many points of interest to residents in Dane County,” said County Board Chair Sharon Corrigan “It’s a beautiful area right on the edge of a major population center.”


Total project costs are $1.37 million, with the Dane County Park Commission recommending up to $704,000 in county matching funds. The remainder would be provided by the city of Sun Prairie, town of Bristol, Patrick Marsh Conservancy, Token Creek Watershed Association and private gifts to the Natural Heritage Land Trust -- which has applied to the Dane County Conservation Fund Grant Program to assist in purchasing the land from owner Tom Hanley.


Set on high ground overlooking the marsh visible from U.S. 151, the property is identified in the Dane County Parks & Open Space Plan as a “Priority One Acquisition Area.” It’s also identified as a “Legacy Place” in the Wisconsin DNR’s Land Legacy Report.


The Patrick Marsh Natural Resource Area is home to numerous varieties of waterfowl and the purchase will greatly enhance upland bird nesting, according to Jim Welsh, Executive Director of the Natural Heritage Land Trust. The property will be open to the public year-round for hiking, fishing, cross country skiing, bird watching and nature appreciation.


“It provides a beautiful view but protecting this land from development will help preserve wildlife habitat and protect the marsh,” said Welsh.

Other items before the County Board Thursday include:


• Approving a memo of understanding to extend the Dane County Narcotics Task Force through 2026. First established in 1972, the unit includes law enforcement officials from the Madison Police Department, Dane County Sheriff’s Office and University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department personnel.


• A resolution preventing Dane County from entering into any contract for services for jail inmates that would return a profit including telephone, video conferencing or laundry services. Contracting for those services would be subject to competitive bidding to achieve the lowest possible cost for inmates consistent with public safety.


• Improving wildlife habitat for turkey and other species at Walking Iron County Park near Mazomanie by removing invasive trees and brush. Dane County Parks has secured a DNR Wild Turkey Stamp Funding grant of $8,800 for the 88-acre restoration project that will cover a third of the project costs. The remaining costs will be covered by Dane County Parks and a grant from the US Fish & Wildlife Service.