State DNR board adds to Rock County wildlife areas
ROCK COUNTY The state Natural Resources Board has added 655 acres of Rock County wildlife habitat by accepting a pair of land donations and recommending a $540,000 purchase.
The board's decision this week means about 360 acres were added to the Avon Bottoms Wildlife Area, which is about 15 miles southwest of Janesville. Another 295 acres were added in the town of Center to preserve pheasant habitat.
The Avon Bottoms acquisition includes 165 acres purchased from a Brodhead couple. The purchase was funded by State Stewardship bonds and is subject to approval by Gov. Scott Walker, according to a Janesville Gazette report.
As part of the board's decision, the state will also accept 199 acres donated by the National Heritage Land Trust.
"This is adjacent to (a 348-acre) tract we purchased in 2008," said Caleb Pourchot, a National Heritage Land Trust conservation specialist. "All the properties are part of the Avon Bottoms Wildlife Area, which is an amazing natural resource, especially for birds."
Mike Foy, who manages Department of Natural Resources lands in Rock and Green counties, says Avon Bottoms is one of the most diverse properties he manages.
Michael Moore, Avon's town chairman, opposed the acquisition because of maintenance costs. He said the state already owns about 25 percent of the rural township's area but doesn't provide enough aid to keep town roads repaired.