Established 1992

Waukesha County Land Conservancy

protecting and caring for environmentally significant land
and water in Waukesha County for future generations

Since 1992, the Waukesha County Land Conservancy has protected over 3,000 acres permanently in Waukesha County.

Conservation easements on private lands resulted in the protection of 933 acres and partnerships have protected another 121 acres. The Waukesha County Land Conservancy has 40 preserves that are open to the public, encompassing over 1,960 acres! We encourage you and your family and friends to explore these places. 

We've listed a few of our preserves which can be accessed by the public below:

Home to one of the rarest native communities globally, Eagle Centre Prairie was protected in 2002. Once covering over five million acres in Wisconsin, less than 1% of oak savanna and oak woodland remains. The Waukesha County Land Conservancy maintains and restores Eagle Centre Prairie by employing brush removal techniques and prescribed fires. These practices keep the protected bur oak tree openings from being overrun by shrubs and saplings. Within the fragile landscape are the state-threatened kitten tails in abundance with many other plant species, such as the pasque-flower, prairie smoke, and lupine.

Frog Hollow is located in the City of Delafield next to the Lake Country Trail as it runs along the south end of Nagawicka Lake.  Half of the Frog Hollow Preserve is a spring-fed pond that contributes high quality water into the Lake.  The pond and the marsh around it contain most of the species of fish found in the Lake and serve as a nursery for young panfish and as an important spawning site for northern pike.  Shorebirds, ducks and song birds use Frog Hollow for feeding and nesting and as a stop-over site during fall and spring migrations.

Geigner Woods is a 20-acre preserve located along the Fox River southwest of Big Bend, Wisconsin. It is a segment of the 427-acre Big Bend Wet Mesic Woods. Obtained in 1999 by the Waukesha County Land Conservancy, the majority of the preserve is composed of wet mesic woods and wetlands. 

Located in the Village of Hartland, the Hartland Marsh Preserve spreads across 180 acres protected by the Waukesha County Land Conservancy in partnership with the Ice Age Trail Alliance and the Village of Hartland. The preserve is known for the Bark River which meanders throughout the protected area. Ranked as a Class 1 Wildlife Habitat and an AQ-1 by SEWRPC, this local treasure preserves ancient bur oak trees and a vital habitat for birds and various woodland animals, including species of mink and turtles. The preserve is open for bird watching and nature study, especially by local schools who use this location for educational experiences.

Langer Nature Preserve, located in Summit and owned by Waukesha County Land Conservancy, is a 10-acre wetland with forest in the northwest corner that provides habitat for waterfowl and various fish species. The wetland on the preserve provides pristine breeding habitat for the state-endangered black tern. Loss of marsh habitat is a factor that has caused a decrease in the presence of these birds mainly because this loss strains breeding capabilities.

In the town of Mukwonago, this critical parcel lies within the watershed of the pristine Mukwonago River. Its preservation will help to ensure the water quality of the river, while also protecting wetlands and steep wooded slopes on the shore of a small lake, plus a field that the Conservancy has begun to restore to an oak opening.  Woodland birds that are uncommon to Waukesha County but found here include the pileated woodpecker and orchard oriole.  A mating pair of grasshopper sparrows, an uncommon prairie species, has also been seen here.

Marsh Hawk is a 9-acre preserve in Pewaukee, WI composed primarily of upland and wetland habitat. It is located in the upper Fox River watershed and acts as critical habitat for migrating bird species and herptiles. 

Located in Big Bend, WI, Martin’s Woods is a State Natural Area and the first preserve protected by the Waukesha County Land Conservancy. Within the 32 acres, comprised of three types of wetlands, are two threatened, nine special concern, and 20 uncommon plants. Native to the preserve are 249 species, including the beautiful prairie, nodding, and large-flowered trillium. Blue-spotted salamanders, snakes, and important bird species can also be found on the property.

The Meyer Preserve is an 80-acre remnant oak ecosystem located within the Southern Kettle Moraine Conservation Opportunity Area as determined by the WI DNR. The preserve contains a diverse but degraded remnant complex of moraine upland woodlands, oak savanna and dry prairie, and kettle sedge meadow, emergent marsh and fen wetlands. The preserve is part of a 143-acre regionally significant natural area that offers critical species habitat for rare plants, including the state threatened Kitten tails, and wildlife Species of Greatest Conservation Need. The entire preserve supports ground water discharge and maintains good water quality for two Class II trout streams, Jericho Creek and the Mukwonago River. 

In the city of Oconomowoc, the 28-acre Mud Lake Preserve was acquired by the Waukesha County Land Conservancy in 2003. The 5-acre lake drains into a tributary that leads to the Oconomowoc River. Shrub-carr and lowland hardwoods cover the wetland community and provide excellent wildlife habitat. Some uncommon plants includesmall tamarack relict are yellow birch, northern bog orchid, and wood reedgrass. The wetland community protects the water quality where a state-threatened fish species, the slender madtom (a catfish relative), resides. The boardwalk on the preserve renders it a convenient site for nature study, research, and environmental education.


Located in the northern kettle of Nagawicka Lake, the three properties that make up the 13.35-acre Nagawicka Kettle Bog were purchased in 1997 by the Waukesha County Land Conservancy. In addition to the bog, there is an upland oak forest that includes the uncommon nodding trillium.

Covering 114 acres in the town of Ottawa, Nelson’s Woods is the fourth preserve obtained for preservation by the Waukesha County Land Conservancy. The landscape includes the Scuppernong Creek ranked as an AQ-1, several ponds, and wetlands, making this area an excellent habitat for birds and waterfowl, particularly the great blue heron.  A variety of trees also decorate the preserve, including several species of oak, shagbark hickory, and black cherry. Rarely seen this far south, the yellow birch tree inhabits the forested area as well. Vegetation native to the land are Dutchman's breeches, skunk cabbage, and marsh marigold.


Nicholas Preserve

This 20 acre site in New Berlin is a good mixed forest, with sugar maples, a very large hackberry tree, and a ground layer of wildflowers including Jack-in-the-pulpit and wild geranium.

Ottawa Wildlife Refuge

Designated as a “Significant Natural Area,” the 350-acre Ottawa Wildlife Refuge provides a critical link in the same corridor containing Scuppernong Creek Preserve and Nelson’s Woods, two other Waukesha County Land Conservancy sites. The Ottawa Wildlife Refuge provides feeding and nesting habitat for several uncommon woodland bird species including the Veery, the Nashville warbler, the blue-gray gnatcatcher and northern water thrush. Geologically significant also, the refuge has numerous oval drumlin hills. Over half of the preserve was once the bottom of a large, shallow glacial lake, now a thriving wetland.


Summit Bog

Summit Bog is a 54 acre parcel located in the Village of Summit.  The preserve is designated as a Class I Wildlife Habitat capable of supporting breeding populations of birds and other animals.  The Veery, Northern waterthrush and Canada warbler have used the area for nesting.

Tamarack Swamp Preserve

Located in the Village of Menomonee Falls, within an 830-acre wetland system, Tamarack Swamp Preserve is a 147-acre site acquired by the Waukesha County Land Conservancy in 2004. The preserve is described as a “birder’s heaven,” hosting a variety of species including woodcock, several types of hawks and sparrows, nesting woodpeckers, and flycatchers. Tamarack Swamp Preserve also protects beech trees, which are rare this far west, as well as ephemeral ponds and the threatened Butler’s Garter snake. SERWPC ranked this preserve as a NA-2 and Class 1 Wildlife Habitat.

Weiland Preserve

Located in Menomonee Falls, Weiland Preserve contains an open prairie, mature wooded areas, and a large ephemeral pond. The chorus frog and wood frog, two species of special concern due to habitat loss, have been sighted and are being monitored on the preserve. The Digger Crayfish, a rare species of crayfish, also resides in the ephemeral pond.

Wilson Wood Duck Sanctuary


The 60-acre preserve, purchased in 1999, is located in the village of Summit. Initially protected for wood ducks, mallards and bufflehead ducks now nest here as well. The variety of habitats found on the preserve include a small prairie surrounded by an oak woodland bordering a large wetland. Open to the public for nature study, birdwatching, and educational use.