Jackson County

The Jackson County Iron Mine reclamation was an experiment to test native species vs. conventional species in their cost, soil stabilization ability, and species diversity. It was a risky prospect for AES and collaborator Dr. James P. Ludwig.

Conventional practice was to seed tailings and waste rock with reed canary grass and crown vetch, aggressive invasive non-native plants that were cheap and easy to establish. And destructive to ecosystem health.

In 1976, the science of applied ecology was still emerging, and this reclamation produced innovations of many unproven strategies and technologies. Founded, always, on the underpinning of proven scientific principles.

Today’s native plant nursery industry did not exist in the late ‘70s, and quantities of viable native seed and plants to use in a thousand-acre reclamation were not available. AES hand-collected seed in the wild, establishing what has become Taylor Creek Restoration Nurseries, to produce the seed needed for the native species reclamation.

The experiment worked. Native legumes and dry prairie species found a home at the closed taconite mine. And they’ve provided a healthy ecological setting for the crystal clear Lake Wazee, a popular Midwestern scuba diving destination.

  • Permitting
  • Consulting / Design
  • Restoration Installation
  • Construction Oversight
  • Annual Maintenance
  • Compliance Monitoring

Jackson County Iron Mine Reclamation
Black River Falls, Wisconsin
1,340 acres
1976-1999


appliedecoJackson County