Terrell's Island

Location: 5420 Shubert Rd. Winneconne, WI 54963

Terrell's Island Restoration Project

In 1998, the Butte des Morts Conservation Club, with the assistance of public contributions, and Wisconsin Department of Natural Resource grant programs, purchased 1183 acres of this habitat known as Terrell's Island and placed it in 'public trust' for perpetuity. In 2010 we added 18 acres bringing the total acreage of Terrell's Island to 1201.

This wetland area has all of the basic ingredients necessary to rebuild and restore a healthy and productive wildlife habitat and spawning grounds for a vast variety of marine life. The long term commitment by the Butte des Morts Conservation Club to Conserve, Preserve, and Restore the habitat of Terrell's Island is the primary focus of the club's efforts on Lake Butte des Morts.

Terrell's Island is open to the public and offers a variety of educational and recreational opportunities. It is the goal of the BDMCC to apply CPR to this habitat so that it will continue to provide these and many other opportunities for our generation and generations to come.

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Breakwall Trail

Location: 5420 Shubert Rd. Winneconne, WI 54963


Breakwall Project

In 1998 the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources constructed a 15,000 foot break wall enclosing 630 acres of Terrell's Island. The seven nesting islands rest inside of this enclosure.

A carp barrier was installed along the breakwall ensuring that water and nutrients will flow in but carp will not. Carp are an invasive species and they like to root around and upset the native vegetation. Even with the barrier some carp do make it through and catching them is an ongoing effort.

Since building the breakwall and barrier water clarity has increased significantly and we have seen desirable aquatic vegetation take root in the area. Wild celery and wild rice can now be seen with some regularity. 

The wall requires periodic maintenance to ensure that no large trees take root and try to tear it down from the inside out. The wall may also need to be added to in the coming years as high waters from the floods have allowed some carp to sneak in.

The Breakwall Trail

After securing a grant from the WDNR in 2012, the Club set about putting the money to use to smooth out the breakwall and construct a bridge to connect each segment of the trail. The trail and bridge were completed in June of 2013 and is now a desirable walking, jogging, and biking path. Our newest trail offers breathtaking views of Lake Butte des Morts, the wetlands, and the abundant wildlife at Terrell's Island.

The western side of the trail is referred to as the "The Frank and Alice Kachur Trail," while the eastern side is called "The Lake Marsh Trail." Visitors can head out to the trail by either traveling east or west out of the parking lot. The entire loop is 3.8 miles.

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Wetlands Debt Retirement

Location: 5420 Shubert Rd. Winneconne, WI 54963

Thank you for your Support!
We reached our goal and the Club can now retire our wetlands debt.

Wetlands Acquisition Successful!
The Club is happy to announce that we have completed the purchase of 18 additional acres of wetlands. This brings the total acreage of the Terrell’s Island Wetland Restoration Area to 1,201.

With the help of generous donors and a grant from the WDNR we raised $245,000 of the $300,000 that we needed. So as not to lose the funds already raised, we took out a loan for the remaining amount and continued our fundraising efforts. With this past Spring Dinner we were able to raise the remaining money owed on our loan and retire the debt with help from a $10,000 match from the U.S Oil/Schmidt Family Foundation.

Thank you once again to everyone who donated and worked diligently on our fundraising endeavors! You should all be very, very proud.

This purchase preserves this land in perpetuity for future generations. It also allows us unrestricted access to the breakwall and the mouth of the Fox River and is invaluable in our efforts to repair the area's wetlands. It also opens up the possibility of a nature education center and a 4 mile looping hiking trail out along the breakwall in the future.

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Nesting Islands

Location: 5420 Shubert Rd. Winneconne, WI 54963

Many endangered and threatened water birds, such as the common tern, will only build their nests away from the mainland. When wetlands are converted to farm land or cityscapes they are no longer able to act as a buffer against wave erosion and the small islands out in the Lake are quickly widdled away. This is bad news if you are a common tern. Luckily for them the BDMCC and the WDNR have been working to restore some of the lost waterfowl habitat on Lake Butte des Morts. The Breakwall has made it possible for us to bring this unique habitat back to life.

In September 2011 as part of the Butte des Morts Bridge Hwy 41 Wetland Mitigation Project the Wisconsin Department of Transpertation agreed to rework Islands 2-6. A rock berm was placed around each of the islands and rows of emergent vegetation planted: Hardstem bulrush, river bulrush, three-square bulrush and bur-reed. The aim is to discourage the nesting of Pelicans and Cormorants which have taken over the islands and encourage diving ducks and grebes.

The WDOT has agreed to monitor and maintain the islands for the next 5 years and adjust the plan as needed to ensure that it is successful. Below are a few photos of the project.

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Purple Loosetrife Eradication

Location: 5420 Shubert Rd. Winneconne, WI 54963

Purple Loosestrife Eradication

Purple loosestrife is a beautiful wetland plant that was brought from Europe by gardeners in the 1800's and established itself in Wisconsin in the 1930's. With no predators to keep it in check it quickly became invasive, pushing out native plant species to become the only show in town.

Enter the galerucella beetle. 

This little guy loves to eat purple loosestrife and only purple loosestrife. With his help we are able to bring the plant under control and allow native vegetation a chance to flourish once more.

The Club is working with students from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh and the Boy Scouts of America to raise and release hundreds of these beetles in Terrell's Island over the summer. The wetlands appreciate their efforts and so do we. 

U.W.O Students Dig Terrell's Island.     

Nearly 200 students from the University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Biology 104 class worked to unearth 90 purple loosestrife plants. They donned swampers and dove in with enthusiasm after the invasive plant.

Biology Professor Robert Stelzer calls Terrell’s Island a “living laboratory” and uses the land to  “discuss important themes such as ecosystem functions performed by wetlands, invasive species, and wetland restoration.” The trip is something that the students look forward to all semester and they generally have fun with it. “The vast majority of students in Biology 104 have never visited a wetland as large and relatively undisturbed as Terrell’s Island.” he said.

The plants will be used to raise Galerucella Beetles for release this July in partnership with the Boy Scouts. 

Thank you to UWO and the Boy Scouts for their assistance with this project!

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Our Hiking Trails

Location: 5420 Shubert Rd. Winneconne, WI 54963


Hiking Trails

Terrell's Island currently offers three hiking trails for visitors to enjoy. The Club is continually working to improve them and we hope that you are able to get a copy of one of our visitor guides for additional information

Breakwall Trail

The main trail is accessible to everyone from the parking lot. You have the option of either heading east or west onto this trail. The eastern side is referred to as the Lake Marsh Trail, and the western side (by the Fox River) is called the Frank and Alice Kachur Trail.  Each side of the trail extends far out in Lake Butte des Morts and connects via a wooden bridge. The entire loop is 3.8 miles.

The Orchard Trail

The second trail is semi-rustic and can be found at the end of the wooden bridge at the entrance to the property. Plans are in the works to connect it to the main trail with a little bridge, but for the moment it ends where the wetlands take it over. You will need to turn back the way you came if you do not wish to get wet.

The Rustic Trail

If you like your trails to be extremely rustic then the third one is for you. The trail winds around the wetlands and comes out back at the parking lot. The entrance can be found on the right hand side not too far from the main entrance. Make sure that you have your hiking boots on for this one!

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Wish List

Location: P.O. Box 385 Butte des Morts, WI 54927

Below are items that the BDMCC is in need of:
Donations to the Club can be earmarked specifically for these items and projects that are part of the Community Classroom and Terrell's Island as a whole:

  • Audio/ Visual Equipment
  • Flat Screen Tv’s
  • Interactive Smart Board
  • Spotting Scopes with tripods
  • Any needed Lawn or grounds equipment
    example- wood chipper
  • Porch Furniture
  • Educational Teaching Kits (see Heckrodt Website)
  • Display cases for display items
  • Informational Kiosk
  • Security cameras
  • Blacktop parking lot
  • Maintenance Costs of Terrell's Island ($600/month)
  • ?6" diameter, 6 ft long steel pole for Donation Station on the property

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