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Mission & History

It was 1957 when a few conservation minded groups incorporated and formed the Sheboygan County Conservation Association.  Now the group consists of 27 conservation clubs, over 2200+ members strong.  The group is no longer “men only”, it includes women and children, all working together to educate, conserve, and protect the environment.

The pioneers of the SCCA did not have much to start with.  They would argue over where money for postage stamps would come from.  They held fundraisers in order to improve habitat or plant pheasants in the County.

Since 1982, the SCCA has held an annual fundraising banquet.  To date, over $850,000 has been raised for conservation efforts and projects.  Projects include:

  • Wild Turkey Survey
  • Jetzer Lake Study
  • Rainbow Trout Survey
  • Wisconsin Conservation Corps
  • Annual Scholarship
  • Habitat Establishment
  • Sheboygan River Bass Survey
  • Creek Census
  • Trees for Tomorrow
  • Outdoor Skills Center
  • Aquatic Labs at High Schools
  • Gerber Lake Acquisition Project
  • Bergin Marsh Acquisition Project
  • Petrie Marsh Acquisition Project

The SCCA works with area farmers and landowners to increase habitat for pheasants, deer, turkeys, and other small game.  The SCCA provided funds to purchase a no-till planter for use in Sheboygan, Ozaukee, and Washington Counties.

In the early 1990’s, the SCCA established a new pheasant program in Sheboygan County.  Birds are purchased, raised until the appropriate age and released on new habitat lands.  These birds are raised mainly for restoration purposes.

Members work hard to improve lake habitat on all lakes in Sheboygan County.  Fish cribs are constructed to add bottom and shoreline structure.  The SCCA purchased a weed cutter for use on area lakes eradicating weeds.  Rivers have been improved.  Members work with high school students on river and stream bank improvements, particularly the effort between the SCCA and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources on stocking fish in area lakes and rivers too.

In cooperation with the County and the State, the SCCA has been instrumental in refurbishing many local boat landings.  Almost all of the fishing and access piers on County lakes have been donated and kept in repair by members of the SCCA.

The most recent pride and joy of the SCCA has been the satisfaction of protecting one of the last pristine lakes in the County, Gerber Lake.  The original 108 acre parcel has two large lakes with a vast diversity of habitat.  The SCCA donated over $100,000 towards the purchase price and for improvements (i.e. restoring former prairie land back to its original state, scenic overlook, etc.)  Part of these funds were used in 2001 for the acquisition of an additional 45 acres of land on the south end of the Lakes, threatened with development.

An advisory group, “Partners in Conservation” has been established to oversee the Gerber Lakes parcel.  Three members of the SCCA serve on this committee to ensure the protection of the jewel.  Public concern for the preservation of this pristine environment was overwhelming.  “Partners in Conservation” meet twice a year to assure the mission will continue on track.

In 1999 the Association received a donation of about 25 acres of floodplain on the Sheboygan River in the City of Sheboygan Falls.  This donation was used as an in-kind match to leverage a Stewardship grant to purchased the Billy Bergin property, a strategic 80 acre piece of land at the south end of the Sheboygan Marsh.  The land in the City of Sheboygan Falls as well as the Bergin property was subsequently donated to the DNR.  An additional 10 acre parcel of privately owned land surrounded by public land  in the Sheboygan Marsh was acquired and donated to Sheboygan County.

SCCA members also serve on the “Broughton Sheboygan Marsh Park & Wildlife Area Advisory Committee”.

In late 1999 the SCCA was instrumental in the creation of a County Stewardship Fund.  This Fund, financed in part with tax dollars and in part with user fees charged when land is developed, has been used to assist local municipalities in Smart Growth planning as well as projects to develop local parks and recreational facilities.

The SCCA meets the third Wednesday of each month; a different club hosts each meeting.  Members of the SCCA serve on committees not only locally, but also throughout the State.  During the SCCA monthly meetings, reports are given from by delegates to the Conservation Congress, Wisconsin Wildlife Federation, U.S. Sportsmen’s Alliance, and other groups.

Local DNR employees (Wildlife Biologists, Fisheries Biologist, Conservation Wardens, etc.) are also on hand at monthly meetings to keep members updated on the most recent activities or rule changes the Department may have.  Many of these employees attend the meetings on their own time, which helps keep a fantastic working relationship with the DNR alive.

Local legislators attend the meetings as well.  Whether an assemblyman or local senator, updates are provided on what’s happening in Madison.  The SCCA works very close with legislators, assisting in rule changes whenever possible.

Volunteers do everything the SCCA accomplishes.  Monies that make many of these activities or events possible are raised by the work of volunteers.  Countless volunteer hours are spent protecting the environment through conservation projects.  Each year the SCCA sponsors an Outdoor Activity in conjunction with the State’s Free Fishing Day as an educational day for youth.

 

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