Seal of Dane County County of Dane
Dane County Parks

Prairie Moraine County Park Restoration

Property: Prairie Moraine County Park
Project Status: Active or in Progress
Schedule: Ongoing

Dane County Parks staff and volunteers have worked for several years to restore the three primary natural resources communities that existed historically in the park: prairie, oak savanna/opening, and oak woodland. The restored landscape will provide improved ecosystem benefits, such as water infiltration and pollinator habitat, and also offer visitors a biologically diverse landscape to explore.

  • Prairies are incredibly diverse and important ecosystems. They can soak up as much as seven inches of rain, support hundreds of pollinator species, and absorb and store carbon emissions, among many other benefits.  
  • Oak Savanna/Openings were once one of the most common vegetation types in the Upper Midwest but today are highly endangered with only a fraction of one percent remaining. Intact oak savannas are now one of the rarest natural communities on earth. Savannas are characterized by scattered oak trees covering 10-50% of the site and an understory of prairie mixed with shade tolerant plants.
  • Oak Woodlands have a higher and denser canopy cover (50-100%) than an Oak Savanna/Opening

Invasive species management is a large part of this restoration effort. Typically a mix of management options combined with seeding or planting the area in native plants after the invasives are removed provides the most successful and longest lasting benefits. To learn more about the different methods used, check out these Frequently Asked Questions (PDF) or visit our Invasive Species Management webpage.

For more information on vegetation management at this park, please view our presentation (PDF) or view the Plans/Documents tab below. Much of the restoration work is being accomplished with the help of Ice Age Trail Alliance and Prairie Moraine Friends, Inc volunteers.


Darren Marsh, Park Director
Dane County Parks Division
5201 Fen Oak Drive
Madison, WI 53718
(608) 224-3766