Ozaukee Washington Land Trust

News Blog

Nature Preserves Remain Open!

With the state of Wisconsin's order to close all nonessential businesses, we wanted to reassure you that all 32 of our nature preserves remain free and open to the public. In these uncertain and stressful times, it's nice to know that you can count on the constancy of nature. 

Nature is essential to our well-being, in that it can provide renewal, exercise, and room to breathe. Now, more than ever we need adventures in nature. 

Due to the generous support of the community to protect open spaces these areas are available for us to enjoy and find a sense of peace during this time. Beyond today, these preserves are forever-protected to continue to enrich the lives of future generations. Hence, Ozaukee Washington Land Trust is grateful for all the past support that has made it possible for us to support the community with our mission.

Here are three things you can keep doing to support our community:

  • You can still enjoy our miles of trails stretching from the headwaters of the Milwaukee River, along Cedar and Sauk Creeks, and all the way to Lake Michigan. We all need fresh air and the great outdoors, so enjoy! And remember to smile and wave to your neighbors on the trail. We're all in this together!
  • Plan a special picnic trip for your household to explore a new Ozaukee Washington Land Trust nature preserve and call a local restaurant for curbside pick up. Here are local guides for restaurants in our community that are offering curbside pick up:
  • Post your photos/videos/stories on our public forum at NatureNOWlt.org to share your adventures with the community. Join the community by reacting to other posts on the forum. Remember that not all of our community members have the resources or ability to enjoy nature in the same way. So share the beauties you encounter with those that are sick and fully housebound, those that are craving to see the transition of winter to spring beyond the view of their window.

We wish you happiness, health, and wonderful memories made in nature with your household. Ozaukee Washington Land Trust remains grateful that we are called to do our work in a community with such a generous spirit and a love of all things nature, now and forever.

We hope to see you on the trails!

Finding Comfort as a Community!

Dear Friends,

Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT) is committed to the health and safety of our community, our members, volunteers, staff, and board of directors.

For the last 28 years, through amazing acts of volunteerism and generosity, our community has driven the mission of Ozaukee Washington Land Trust to protect the health of the community's water, land, and wildlife. During these challenging times, we take comfort in the knowledge that our community will again rise to the occasion to get through this ordeal; by helping one another and taking protective measures to ensure the health of our community.

In response to the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, OWLT is instituting the following measures for our staff, nature preserves, and facilities:

Staff & Facilities

  • In the interest of limiting the transmission of the virus, our office at the West Bend Depot is closed to the public.
  • We are directing staff to work remotely or in the field at every opportunity. Our team remains available via email and phone. Staff are directed to refrain from attending in-person events and we are discouraging non-essential travel. 
  • All OWLT workdays and events are postponed until further notice. We are evaluating our future events in 2020 and hope to reschedule.

Nature Preserves

  • Our 32 nature preserves remain free and open to the public. During stressful times as these, and all year round, spending time in nature is a great way for your household to stay healthy and relax.
  • Please adhere to all public health recommendations and avoid nature preserves if you are not feeling healthy, have a fever, cough, or travel history over the last 30 days, so as to not transmit to others.
  • With over 2,000 acres to roam, our preserves are unlikely to be crowded with other visitors, but remember, "winking and waving" is a better alternative to "high-fives and hugs."

Our team will develop longer-term responses as our community continues to learn more and we will keep members updated via email and our website. If you have questions, please feel free to contact me at . 


Tom Stolp

Executive Director



Today, Ozaukee Washington Land Trust is launching a new website feature called Nature News Ozaukee Washington or NatureNOW (http://www.NatureNOWlt.org). We created this website as a resource for lovers of nature, wildlife, rivers, lakes, land, outdoor recreation, health, and the community!

With the uncertainty and stress of the coronavirus pandemic, we want to offer our community a platform to come together and celebrate one of the few things that hasn't changed: our ability to enjoy the forever protected outdoor places that make our corner of Wisconsin special.

NatureNOW will feature original content from our staff and volunteers and most excitingly will offer you a forum to share your outdoor recreation tips, get answers to questions, and get inspiration for how to make the most out of your time outdoors.

We hope you enjoy NatureNOW and that you add your great ideas to this forum. 

We wish you happiness, health, and wonderful memories made in nature with your household. Ozaukee Washington Land Trust remains grateful that we are called to do our work in a community with such a generous spirit and a love of all things nature, now and forever.

Image from Forest Beach Migratory Preserve (Port Washington)


Preserve Today, Protect Forever!

The support of donors has made it possible to conserve 60 acres of farmland in Mequon. This is a significant step toward improving the health of our community through soil conservation, water quality protection, and the production of healthy produce. This acreage on the outskirts of the urban core will be protected forever for farming.

Furthermore, this acquisition provides underrepresented farmers with a pathway to affordable farmland. OWLT will partner alongside willing farmers to implement best management practices on the land, such as planting cover crops and harvestable buffer strips. Targeted approaches to managing soil conservation will generate positive impacts for our farmers and their crops; as well as improve the health of our communities’ soil and water. As a result, family farmers will become life-long stewards of the land, and community supporters by meeting the much-needed demand of growing healthy produce close to urban areas.

This great success was made possible with donor support and Making Allies for Healthier Communities, the farming conservation partnership made up of Ozaukee Washington Land Trust, Fondy Food Center, Milwaukee Metropolitan Sewerage District, The Conservation Fund and the Land Trust Alliance. Special thanks to Fund for Lake Michigan, Thomas J. Rolfs Foundation, Brookby Foundation, Greater Milwaukee Foundation and Green Bay Packers for their generous support.

Request for Proposals


Comprehensive Planning to Promote Climate Resiliency Through Natural Infrastructure

Ozaukee Washington Land Trust (OWLT) is seeking a contractor to access and plan priority restoration projects on its nature preserves. The outcome of this effort will also inform OWLT’s approach to future conservation projects by identifying and prioritizing the most resilient lands in our mission area. Our strategic approach to land and water protection focuses on preserving and restoring biodiversity. Through conserving lands containing a diversity of natural features, we maintain the infrastructure necessary for maintaining the biodiversity and resiliency of our aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems. Our protected lands also include agricultural holdings and improving farming practices on those lands is an important long-term restoration strategy.

Read more ...

Dohmen Tribute

Dear Friends,

Today we share the sad news of the passing of one of our Land Trust supporters, Erv Dohmen. Many will recall Erv and Jane Dohmen were the 2015 recipients of the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust Pat Wilmeth Stewardship Award. Below is the award description highlighting Jane and Erv's many contributions to OWLT and Forest Beach Migratory Preserve, in particular. 

Erv Dohmen's full obituary may be found here: https://www.legacy.com/obituaries/jsonline/

To read Jane Dohmen’s full obituary visit https://www.poolefh.com/dohmen-jane-m

I first had the opportunity to visit with Erv and Jane in the spring of 2017. In addition to hearing about their great love of the outdoors, the most memorable take away from my afternoon spent visiting in the Dohmen's in their home along Lake Michigan was the sincere and gentle affection Erv and Jane had for one another. Over sixty years of marriage and these two were very in love. May we all be so lucky!

We are grateful for the Dohmen family’s support of conservation and happy to have known this incredible couple whose visionary conservation leadership will benefit generations to come.


Tom Stolp

Ozaukee Washington Land Trust Executive Director

Read more ...

OWLT Biennial Report 2016-2018

OZAUKEE WASHINGTON LAND TRUST forever preserves and stewards the water resources, natural areas, and working lands of Ozaukee and Washington Counties. We accomplish our mission by creating strong conservation relationships, raising public awareness of the benefits of land preservation, and providing opportunities for nature-based recreation.

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