On September 7, eighteen County Mine Reclamation Specialists visited Prairie Nursery to learn about using prairie grasses and flowers to stabilize former sand and gravel pits. Led by Tom Portle of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and Scott Konkle of the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission, participants learned about the best prairie flowers and grasses for stabilizing dry, nutrient-poor soils that often result after sand and gravel pits are closed.
Not only are many prairie species capable of growing on poor soils, they also create high quality habitat for upland game birds, rare grassland songbirds, and a host of other wildlife. Each participant shared their mine reclamation experiences with the group, making it an educational event for all parties.
Sand and gravel mining is the number one mining activity in Wisconsin. New challenges are emerging, since Wisconsin possesses some of the highest quality “frack” sand,” used in high-pressure fracturing of natural gas wells. This rapidly expanding industry has increased the demand for frack sand significantly, leading to larger and more complex mine reclamation projects.
It was a pleasure and an honor to host the County Reclamation Specialists at Prairie Nursery. We look forward to future visits and shared learning opportunities with our associates entrusted with protecting the environmental and improving wildlife habitat for all the citizens of Wisconsin.