The "Great Lakes, Great Rivers" Campaign

SunriseThe Ozaukee Washington Land Trust is pleased to announce our ambitious "Great Lakes, Great Rivers" Campaign.

We are embarking on a four year strategic effort to protect 2,000 acres of sensitive lands in the Milwaukee River Watershed and along the shore of Lake Michigan.

OWLT has been working with the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District and other regional and local partners to identify critical parcels in the watersheds and to fund their preservation. Total investment for the initiative will be about $12 million.

Yes, $12 million!

We’ve identified roughly $10 million that will come from various government agencies and partners toward the four year goal. The Land Trust Board of Directors has committed the organization to raising $2 million in matching and acquisition related funds.

The impacts will be far reaching. The project outcomes will improve the quality of water flowing into the Milwaukee River and Lake Michigan through implementing land management practices in the basin that, for example, expand wetland buffers, restore wildlife habitat, increase surface water infiltration, and preserve productive farmland. This project will also provide area residents with additional opportunities to enjoy nature based recreational activities such as hiking, bird watching, hunting, and fishing, and increase access to and enjoyment of our regional freshwater resources.

There has never been a more exciting time in the 22 years of the Land Trust. That said, we have a lot of work ahead of us to make this a reality. Please consider helping us protect wildlife, restore land, and improve water quality by making a contribution today.

For more information please contact Executive Director Shawn Graff at or
(262) 338-1794

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Holiday Open House!

You and your family are invited to join us for our holiday open house. Come and help us celebrate another successful year.

A dinner buffet of turkey, pork and beverages will be provided. We appreciate any appetizer, dessert or favorite holiday treat you would like to share with us all.

Saturday, December 6, 2014
4:00pm to 8:00pm

The West Bend Depot Office
200 Wisconsin Street - West Bend

Please RSVP to: 262-338-1794 or email:

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Another Milwaukee River Success Story

VDP Sept. 2014 6Recently OWLT helped the City of Mequon protect 142 acres of open space and 3,300 feet of Milwaukee River frontage in perpetuity. 

For over a year the open space areas around the Ville du Parc development in Mequon have been a contentious and somewhat litigious issue. There were a series of vague and inconsistent open space easements surrounding the River Club of Mequon golf course. The golf course owner was arguing that he had the right to develop some of the open space property.

The City of Mequon and the surrounding subdivisions were arguing that his rights were very limited or nonexistent. Several law suits and legal opinions later the City Council in April unanimously backed a compromise that permitted a limited housing development along with a plan to clean up the patchwork of easements. This is the point where we stepped in to help shape the compromise.

Mequon agreed to allow the owner of the River Club of Mequon to develop five homes on 10 acres, with the rest of the open space and river frontage to be protected. OWLT was provided a grant to purchase a 20 acre parcel and the City purchased the remaining 122 acres of open space.

Now we’re working with Mequon to establish one conservation easement that will protect all of the parcels in a consistent fashion. The easement will be held by OWLT and most of the land will be open to the public for nature based outdoor recreational activities.

We’re pleased that both the City of Mequon and the Ville du Parc neighbors recognize OWLT as a trusted community partner. We’re grateful to the City for their efforts to protect the Milwaukee River and proud to be a part of this land protection effort.

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My Healthy Wetlands Workshop



Would you like to learn more about wetlands and how to care for them? My Healthy Wetlands low res

OWLT and the Wisconsin Wetlands Association invite you to attend Getting to Know Wetlands, a special free event for private wetland landowners on Saturday, October 11 from 1:00 – 4:00 pm.  The event will convene at the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve and will include a tour of two nearby privately-managed wetlands.

At this event, you will:

- Learn more about resources for private wetland landowners, including the new My Healthy Wetland handbook for private wetland landowners

- Meet natural resource professionals who can help you learn about and care for your wetlands

- Meet other landowners in your area who own and care for wetlands

- Share your wetland questions and concerns

We will be holding a wetland workshop for private landowners next spring and will use this opportunity to listen to your questions and concerns.  That way we can plan a spring workshop that answers your questions and concerns, provides information you need, and connects you with the additional tools to help you care for your wetland.

The Agenda

1:00pm   Refreshments and conversation with natural resource professionals who will have information about how they can help you learn about and care for your wetlands

1:30pm   Introductions (hosts and guests) & overview of the My Healthy Wetland handbook for wetland landowners

2:15pm   Tour of wetlands at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve

3:00pm   Tour of nearby privately-owned wetland (we’ll caravan the short distance)

Please help us plan for this workshop by letting us know if you plan to attend. RSVP by calling (262) 338-1794 by October 6th

We will send you a reminder letter as the workshop date approaches with additional information, but for now, please mark your calendar, call us with your RSVP, and make plans to attend. 

This will be a great event that you won’t want to miss.



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Announcing Our 2014 Award Winners


OWLT is pleased to announce our annual Preservation Award winners. As always we will honor the award winners in person at our Annual Fly In Dinner Celebration on Saturday, August 23, 2014 from 3:00 – 10:00 p.m.  The event, featuring locally-sourced food, will be held at the Forest Beach Migratory Preserve 4970 Country Club Beach in Port Washington, WI.

And the winners are....

The Timothy Kaul Leadership Award for a public servant or community leader who has shown outstanding leadership in conservation.

Port Washington Mayor, Tom Mlada. Tom has a passion for and commitment to the environment.  Once in office Tom established the City of Port Washington Environmental Planning Committee.  In its first couple years the committee has been successful in securing grants to fund a sustainability intern and has been named a Bird City.  The committee is currently working to develop public information signage at prairie restoration on Coal Dock Park and rain garden information near Skateboard Park.  This summer the committee developed plans to promote a home composting program and a green business initiative. 

The Arthur E. Schait Award for outstanding volunteerism. 

Bob Holzrichter. Bob is a jack of all trades for OWLT and he is quite deserving of the award.  Bob helps in a variety of capacities from preparing grant reports and assisting with accounting to joining the land restoration team on controlled burns. He builds birdhouses for use on OWLT preserves and donates them for auctions. He is also an easement monitor and tractor operator. Bob accepts no money and no accolades – he just enjoys what he’s doing and the Land Trust loves him for it.

The Patricia Wilmeth Stewardship Award for work on behalf of OWLT and the environment.  

John Lhost. John was one of the founding members of the Ozaukee Land Trust and served nine years on the board.  He crafted the organization’s articles of incorporation and by-laws and assisted with the transition to the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust.  He was instrumental in shaping the organizations land preservation practices and continues to be active on OWLT’s Land Conservation Committee. 

John’s land trust work does not stop at the borders of Ozaukee and Washington Counties.  John serves on The Nature Conservancy of Wisconsin Board of Trustee and chairs their Conservation Committee. He was a former director of Gathering Waters Conservancy and is still an active commissioner on the City of Mequon Open Space Preservation Commission. 

The Michael Frome Outreach Award for demonstrating excellence in educating or sharing information related to land preservation and the environment.   

The production team responsible for  the “Built on Water” lecture series.  The team includes Milwaukee historian John Gurda, UW-Extension Natural Resources Educator, Gail Epping Overholt, and DNR Milwaukee Estuary Area of Concern Coordinator, Megan O’Shea.   

Lake Michigan and the rivers that feed it have been Milwaukee’s dominant natural resources since the days of the Potawatomi. “Built on Water” was an illustrated look at the lake, its adjacent waterways and its service to the community as transportation routes, industrial corridors, and centers of recreation.  The program dealt with the cycle of heavy use and flagrant abuse of our water system and how it has emerged as focal points of both concern and celebration in the twenty-first century. The series was sponsored by the Wisconsin DNR and organized by UW Extension.  John Gurda presented the program at eleven different locations in the fall of 2013.    

OWLT extends a special thanks to the sponsors of this event including:  Mark & Cheryl Brickman, Dan Dineen & Linda Vanden Heuvel, Chris & Jude Ford, Suzanne Hodges – Flowersmith, Mary & James LaVelle, John & Cynthia Lhost,  David & Genie Meissner, Don Hauser – R & R Insurance, Jean & William Schanen – Ozuakee Press, Steve Tews, John & Kine Torinus and Chris Wenzel – Alexssa.  The companies and individuals who have stepped forward with sponsorships help contribute to the success of this year’s event and OWLT preservation programs.


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