Wisconsin Important Bird Areas

Conserving the most important places for birds

Fish Lake Wetlands & Barrens

Site Description

This 14,000 acre property is the second-largest in the Glacial Lake Grantsburg Wildlife Management Complex. It is characterized by a gently rolling topography with many flat basins vegetated by wiregrass sedges. Native and restored pine barrens, grasslands, and flowages also are present.

Ornithological Importance

The site provides habitat for breeding trumpeter swans, yellow rails, northern harriers, sharp-tailed grouse, upland sandpipers, sedge wrens, Le Conte’s sparrows, and Nelson’s sharp-tailed sparrows, among others. Thousands of sandhill cranes congregate here in the fall, and thousands of shorebirds use the flowages during drawdowns. This site, along with the larger Crex Meadows Wildlife Area to the northeast, provides one of the best opportunities in Wisconsin for landscape-level barrens and sedge meadow habitat management.

Fish Lake Wetlands & Barrens, photo by Andy Paulios

Fish Lake Wetlands & Barrens, photo by Andy Paulios