Chiwaukee Prairie Recognized As ‘Wetland Of International Importance’

More Than 400 Plant Species Found On Prairie Near Kenosha

Chiwaukee Prairie
Wildflowers in the Chiwaukee Prairie. Owen Boyle/Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

A lakeside prairie in Wisconsin and Illinois has received an international honor, with a celebration scheduled for Friday.

The Chiwaukee Prairie covers 3,700 acres along Lake Michigan, stretching from south of the city of Kenosha to northeastern Illinois, with 477 acres on the the Wisconsin side.

A global intergovernmental agreement known as the Ramsar Convention has named the prairie a “wetland of international importance.”

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Owen Boyle of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources said he thinks that the upland plain and wetlands that make up the Chiwaukee are beautiful.

“During the summer it just has unbelievable, just spectacular displays of wildflowers,” said Boyle. “The diversity is remarkable. Over 400 species of plants are found just on the Wisconsin side of the prairie.”

Boyle said grassland birds and turtles are among the wildlife species that live on the prairie.

Wetlands in Door and Ashland counties, along the Mississippi River and in Horicon Marsh already have a Ramsar designation. It carries no additional protection but recognizes ongoing preservation efforts.

A celebration of the Ramsar designation will be held Friday afternoon at the North Point Marina in Winthrop Harbor, Illinois.

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