Long-term Management at Pleasant Valley Conservancy

 

A restoration project never ends

Most restored sites exist in areas surrounded by huge amounts of disturbed land. Whether the nearby land is rural or urban, it will be rife with exotic plants that have the potential to invade and degrade the restoration. If the restoration work is not to be wasted, provision must be made for long-term maintenance. Such maintenance should not require as much expense as the original restoration, but will still be significant.

Provision must be made for:

  1. Funding long-term maintenance
  2. Arranging that the maintenance be carried out, either by a paid contractor or an unpaid volunteer group.

Pleasant Valley Conservancy is permanently protected. It is owned in part by The Prairie Enthusiasts (TPE) and in part by Tom and Kathie Brock and TPE holds a conservation easement on the Brock portion of the Conservancy. Pleasant Valley Conservancy is a dedicated State Natural Area (number 551), and a conservation easement to this effect is held by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.

In addition, a nonprofit foundation has been set up to ensure long-term funding. Savanna Oak Foundation, Inc. is a tax-exempt (501-c-3) organization that is able to receive tax-free funds from donors. It was initially funded by Kathie and Tom Brock.

These funds can be used to hire contractors to conduct prescribed burns, control invasive shrubs and weeds, maintain trails and interior roads, or carry out many other maintenance activities.

Pleasant Valley Conservancy is a preserve of The Prairie Enthusiasts, a membership organization with chapters throughout the upper Midwest. Oversight of Pleasant Valley Conservancy is by a site manager appointed by TPE, and this site manager is charged with dealing with the various maintenance problems that may arise.

Pleasant Valley Conservancy is open to the public for hiking and nature study. It is hoped that people who visit the Conservancy frequently and come to know it well will be interested in seeing that it is well maintained. It seems evident that the best way to ensure long-term oversight is through public input and pressure.

There is no "forever" in the world or in life, but with sufficient safeguards, the Conservancy may exist in perpetuity.