CLINTON — The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will conduct several prescribed burns this spring.
The burns will take place on the Upper Mississippi River National Wildlife and Fish Refuge in Carroll and Jo Daviess counties. Sites planned for burning include Goose Point (near the Ingersoll Wetlands Learning Center), Spring Lake levees, Duckfoot Marsh and portions of Lost Mound Unit.
Russell Engelke, Supervisory Wildlife specialist for the Refuge, said prescribed fire is commonly used as a tool to manage habitat.
“Timing of a prescribed burn is critical,” Engelke said. “With the late spring this year, we are hoping to begin our burning program later this month in advance of the nesting season.”
Burning assists in restoring and maintaining plant communities by removing dead plant material, returning nutrients to the soil, encouraging growth of native grasses and flowers, suppressing growth of non-native species, and opening space for new plants to grow.
Fire also can reduce the invasion of woody plants in prairies and create a habitat for migratory and nesting birds and other wildlife.