Pope Farm Conservancy: Where Agriculture and Ecological Restoration Work Together for Sustainable Land Use


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Pope Farm Conservancy looking north towards Blackhawk Road from the ridge top in the northeast corner of the property.  Notice the prairie plantings on either side of the mowed grassy path.

Pope Farm Conservancy is owned by the Town of Middleton, Wisconsin, near Madison in Dane County, Wisconsin.  It is a working farm and ecological restoration project on the eastern edge of the Driftless Area (un-glaciated portion) of southwestern Wisconsin.  In 2018, in addition to seven row crops, the Conservancy also grows prairie and other native plant communities among six different restoration projects.

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At the bottom of the same slope shown above, looking south.  Hard to believe,  because of the lack of erosion and bare soil, but this is actually a storm water channel for the Pope Farm Conservancy.

Pope Farm Conservancy seems to me to be a model of sustainable and land use in general and of wise agriculture land use, in particular.  It is one of the few exemplary cases, that I know of,  in which agriculture and ecological restoration co-exist in harmony and work toward their mutual benefit on the same piece of land.

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The 1938 CCC Spillway leading into the storm water channel shown in the photo above.  The Civilian Conservation Corps, from the Mt. Horeb, Wisconsin Camp, built this spillway 80 years ago.  It is still functioning and intact.

One point of emphasis for the Pope Farm Conservancy is preventing soil loss through wind and water erosion.  The 1938 CCC Spillway is the centerpiece of this land use philosophy and is a model of storm water management best practices.

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The terrain is steep.  The 105 acre Pope Farm Conservancy sits atop three recessional moraines and straddles the point where three different watersheds come together.  Looking south across the agricultural fields.

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View of the surroundings from the top of the recessional moraines.

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Pope Farm Conservancy invites visitors and provides 7 miles of hiking trails. To learn more about Pope Farm Conservancy, click here.

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About Steve Glass

The blogger is a restoration ecologist, Certified Ecological Restoration Practitioner (#0093 SER) and writer living in the Midwestern United States.
This entry was posted in Ecological restoration, Pope Farm Conservancy, Restoration ecology, Stormwater best management practices and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Pope Farm Conservancy: Where Agriculture and Ecological Restoration Work Together for Sustainable Land Use

  1. athada says:

    Thanks for sharing!

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