Another Bluff Prairie Saved in The Driftless Area
By Sarah Barron
View of the Mississippi River from Marowski Bluff Prairie
“I’m very happy to save this unique piece of land as it represents not only disappearing habitat but also the very character and uniqueness of the Driftless Area.” — Dr. Marowski, the generous landowner preserving a prairie for future generations.
Ferryville, WI — When Dr. Marowski, a cardiologist living near Milwaukee, stood upon a steep bluff above the town of Ferryville, he was in awe of the stunning view. The Mississippi River, blue and majestic stretched below him, and to the north and south, the unique and ancient landscape filled the horizon. At his feet, he took notice of prairie flowers rarely seen any more and quickly understood the conservation value of the property.
The diversity of life this bluff prairie holds will now be stewarded forever. In December 2023, Dr. Marowski generously arranged for the protection of his 11-acre property by The Prairie Enthusiasts, ensuring the land will be stewarded and enjoyed for generations to come. Additional support from Mississippi Valley Conservancy, the Natural Resources Foundation of Wisconsin and Wisconsin’s Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program helped make this protection project possible. Dr. Marowski also gifted The Prairie Enthusiasts with a land management endowment, which will provide resources to steward the habitat far into the future.
Stewardship of this prairie already began back in July of 2022. Working with Dr. Marowski, The Prairie Enthusiasts Coulee Region Chapter began restoration work on the bluff prairie. Volunteers removed some areas of sumac, red cedars and other aggressive vegetation from the site. There was already a healthy plant community there, with prairie plants like dwarf blazing-star and leadplant, as well as various birds, insects and reptiles that live on the site. The stewardship work that started and will continue in perpetuity will ensure this rare prairie ecosystem thrives.
This land, now named Marowski Bluff Prairie, is situated between Rush Creek and Sugar Creek State Natural Areas and contributes to an important protection corridor linking them together. Even though the remnant prairie at the site is in outstanding condition, it will need consistent land stewardship to remove and prevent tree and woody brush encroachment, which can shade out prairie plants. Part of that stewardship will be returning fire to the site using prescribed burns at regular intervals. The Prairie Enthusiasts Coulee Region Chapter invites the public to participate in upcoming work parties no matter what your experience level. Work parties will be scheduled this winter as weather permits. Additional volunteer opportunities and field trips will be available in the future. Details about work parties and field trips will be posted on the events calendar on our website at ThePrairieEnthusiasts.org.
About The Prairie Enthusiasts
The Prairie Enthusiasts is an accredited land trust that seeks to ensure the perpetuation and recovery of prairie, oak savanna, and other fire-dependent ecosystems of the Upper Midwest through protection, management, restoration, and education. In doing so, they strive to work openly and cooperatively with private landowners and other private and public conservation groups. Their 11 regional grassroots chapters of volunteers in Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Illinois lead projects in their local communities focused especially on high-quality remnants, which contain nearly all the components of endangered prairie communities. Find more information at: ThePrairieEnthusiasts.org