Alexander Oak Savanna
The 45-acre Alexander oak savanna is named for Dick and Joan Alexander who purchased the property in 1965. They lovingly owned and cared for the land for over 50 years, and in 2018 they generously sold the property through a bargain sale to The Prairie Enthusiasts.
Since 2000, the St. Croix Valley chapter has been cooperatively managing the property with the Alexanders. This effort has resulted in one of the largest restored dry-mesic prairie and oak savanna complexes in our chapter’s geographic area.
ST. CROIX VALLEY CHAPTER
ACCESS & DIRECTIONS
The site is located in Pierce County, approximately four miles south of River Falls on state highway 65 and 0.2 miles south of the Town of River Falls Town Hall. There is a parking area access at the south end of the property.
Description & Significance
Alexander oak savanna is located in Pierce county, WI, within the Kinnickinnic River watershed and the Western Prairie Ecological Landscape (a Wisconsin DNR designation).
The dry prairie and oak savanna remnants found on the site are some of the best example of these habitat types in the Western Prairie Ecological Landscape. We have identified 120 native species on the site, including buffalo bean (Astragalus crassicarpus), kittentails (Besseya bullii), and prairie turnip (Pediomelum esculentum), all are threatened or special concern in Wisconsin.
Previously documented but yet to be rediscovered at the site are the endangered species Carolina anemone (Anemone caroliniana) and prairie bushclover (Lespedeza leptostachya). The prairie turnip was a new discovery in 2018, showing promise for the possible rediscovery of the prairie bushclover and Carolina anemone with further site management.
- Outdoor Recreation
- Hunting (for all species, no permit or reservation required)
- Trapping (for all species, no permit or reservation required)
- Collecting Plants, Seeds, Rocks or Animals without permission from The Prairie Enthusiasts
Dick and Joan Alexander purchased the property in 1965, and used it for decades as a resource for family activities, hunting and firewood gathering. The Wisconsin chapter of The Nature Conservancy recognized the resource significance of the site, and in 1985, secured a first right of refusal for the purchase of the property should it ever be offered for sale. This right was transferred to TPE in 2003. In 2018, the Alexanders generously accepted an offer from TPE for the purchase of the property, ensuring its continued resource recovery through TPE management.
Dick has actively participated in the work parties and burning over the years with both TNC and TPE.
Prior to 2000, the site was managed by The Nature Conservancy through their volunteer site steward program. Since assuming management responsibility in 2000, TPE’s efforts have focused on the removal of such invasive species as buckthorn, Siberian elm, and red cedar. Regular prescribed burns are conducted in late winter or early spring. TPE has also re-introduced appropriate species native to this area by overseeding portions of the site with locally collected seed.
The restoration work has been done mainly by TPE volunteers, but the chapter has also received land management grants from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources to hire contractors to assist with this work. We have also been fortunate to have the assistance of many University of Wisconsin River Falls students who have participated in a variety of site management activities. Throughout TPE’s management history of the site, Dick Alexander has shown his continued support for our efforts by participating in many of the on-site work parties.