Your gift to CSWAB will help support the successful conservation of the former Badger Army Ammunition Plant lands - ensuring an important part of Southern Wisconsin's history and unique natural resources are restored and protected for ourselves and the generations to come.
Since we first organized in 1990, we have leveraged the Army’s withdrawal of a proposal to incinerate 1,000,000 pounds of waste munitions, blocked a proposal to open burn 2,500 pounds per day of hazardous waste, and obtained comprehensive water testing for neighbors living near the ammunition plant.
More recently, CSWAB led a successful national campaign to stop the wholesale open burning of PCB-contaminated buildings by the military. Today, literally hundreds of toxic-laden buildings that were slated for open burning have been safely dismantled, preventing the uncontrolled release of dioxins, lead, asbestos and other toxins to the environment.
CSWAB seeks to directly address social and environmental justice issues by raising public awareness, engaging community members in campaigns to change public policy, defending the community’s right to know, and ultimately reducing risks to human health and natural systems.
The Badger Army Ammunition Plant property currently hosts some of the largest populations of grassland birds in southern Wisconsin – 103 bird species have been recorded here, of which 21 have critical status in our state. With the Baraboo Hills adjacent to the north, the Badger lands provide a rare continuum of grassland to oak forest.
One factor in the apparent success of bird species at Badger is the remarkable size of this property. The 7,354-acre property provides a variety of habitats which in turn have attracted a wide range of species. Some grassland birds, such as Upland Sandpiper, require short grass habitat. Others, such as the Sedge Wren and Henslow’s Sparrow, require habitat with taller grasses. Sufficient acreage for both short and tall grass habitat, providing an environment with such a rich variety of species, is found in few places in the Midwest simply because most other properties are too small.
Grassland birds were fairly common throughout southern Wisconsin from the days of pre-settlement prairie and savanna until the mid-1900s, but populations have declined with the loss of habitat. Our main hope to hold onto them is to get more grass out onto the rural landscape.
Clearly, the Badger lands are critically important in maintaining, and possibly recovering, some of the biological richness of Wisconsin’s disappearing native grasslands. Badger plays a crucial role in protecting our natural heritage. That role can change, for better or worse, as Badger’s future is decided.