Fort McCoy-Robinson Creek Barrens


Site Description

This area encompasses the Department of Defense’s military installation at Fort McCoy and the extensive barrens of the Robinson Creek watershed. The land is a relatively flat, sandy bowl lying in the midst of sandstone hills vegetated with oaks. The sand and gravelly plains are vegetated with prairie, pine barrens, and pine-oak forest and the surrounding hills harbor goat prairie and oak savanna. Warm and cool season grasses, upland deciduous forest, shallow marsh, and willow thickets also are present.

Fort McCoy Oak Barrens, photo by Eric Epstein

Fort McCoy/Robinson Creek barrens, photo by Yoyi Steele

Photo Credits: Eric Epstein; Yoyi Steele

Ornithological Importance

This site contains the largest and best-maintained barrens and savanna in the entire upper Midwest. It contains some 10,000 acres of habitat, with the potential to add significant acreage through restoration. The prairie, barrens, and savanna are heavily used by many priority species, including northern harrier, upland sandpiper, red-headed woodpecker, whip-poor-will, brown thrasher, blue-winged warbler, field sparrow, Henslow’s sparrow, grasshopper sparrow, lark sparrow, dickcissel, and eastern meadowlark. This site presents an excellent landscape level opportunity to manage for barrens and savannah species.