The Military Ridge Prairie Heritage Area is a region in southwest Wisconsin that is unique for its exceptional populations of grassland birds, a high number of prairie remnants, concentrations of rare plants and animals, extensive surrogate grassland, and spring-fed streams, all set within a working agricultural landscape. A partnership of non-profit organizations and government agencies has teamed together to conserve these rare and important natural resources.
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The Military Ridge Prairie Heritage Area is a special place. An open prairie landscape, now rare but once common throughout America’s heartland, survives here. It is an incredibly beautiful place. The first immigrants who settled in this area of Wisconsin were surrounded by a sea of grass. In fact, prairie once covered more than 2 million acres of Wisconsin. Oak savannas, open grasslands with scattered oak trees, covered another 5.5 million acres. Through these grasslands flowed clear, coldwater streams.

View of Blue Mounds from Thomson Memorial Prairie, by Katie Abbott

At first glance, this area may not look different from any other Midwestern farm countryside, but a closer look reveals a landscape that is still grassy and primarily treeless. Pockets of native prairie still exist, representing one of the highest concentrations of native grasslands in the Midwest. Many uncommon plants and animals are found here, scattered throughout the farm fields.

Recognizing both the threats and opportunities in the area, a group of nine conservation organizations and agencies formed the MRPHA partnership, agreeing to work together in this special landscape. Maintaining the natural resources of the MRPHA hinges upon successful partnerships. Together, landowners, concerned citizens, local governments, and conservation organizations can protect the MRPHA for all who live here. If we are successful, our legacy to future generations will be a rural landscape rich in natural diversity.

See the links above for more information about the MRPHA partnership, natural resources, land management, conservation programs, and what you can do to help.

News and quick links:

The MRPHA partnership has expanded to become the Southwest Wisconsin Grassland and Stream Conservation Area! This website is no longer updated. Feel free to browse the information, but check out for updated contact information.

Map of MRPHA project area

Map of places to visit in the MRPHA

Restored prairie, by Shawn Papon