Landowner Bob Wojtusik returned to his Oneida County roots with a passion for wildlife conservation. With the assistance of multiple agencies, and the EQIP and CSP cost-share programs, Bob has transformed his property into a wildlife habitat haven.
Landowner Robert “Bob” Wojtusik developed a strong conservation ethic by managing his 80 acres of forestland and associated agricultural lands in the town of Three Lakes, Oneida County, Wisconsin. He was born and raised in Three Lakes and after living in various farm communities across Wisconsin, returned to the area upon retirement with a passion for wildlife habitat restoration.
Before working with the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Bob was able to create several ponds to establish aquatic wildlife habitat with the help of a neighbor. The U.S. Forest Service helped clear conifers from his property as part of a larger aspen tree release for grouse on adjacent public lands, while Bob released oak trees on his property to supply mast for wildlife.
After learning about USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) programs through local connections, Bob decided to apply for the Environmental Quality Incentives Program (EQIP) to further enhance wildlife forage and habitat on his land. Through cost-sharing assistance and help from family, he planted 6.5 acres of clover for conservation cover, established four wood duck boxes (which have successfully promoted nesting), and planted 5 acres of native trees and shrub varieties known to be beneficial to wildlife.
In 2018, with the support of multiple generations of family and the NRCS Conservation Stewardship Program (CSP), Bob planted an additional 700 native trees for wildlife on 2.5 acres of his land. He is most proud of the 1.8 acres dedicated to pollinator and beneficial insect planting established through NRCS cost sharing. With extensive site preparation and seeding and a combination of over 20 different pollinator-friendly plant species, the plantings are thriving. Bob noted, “The results of the pollinator planting are outstanding. I have seen bees, monarchs, birds and deer enjoying this area. During peak flowering, it looks comparable to successful pollinator plantings I have seen in other parts of the county.”
Tim Botting, who is currently a Soil Conservationist with NRCS, stated, “Bob was one of the first customers I interacted with when starting at NRCS. I have been impressed with his conservation ethic and love of wildlife. He is also not afraid to ask for technical assistance to make sure everything is implemented properly.”
Outside of NRCS programs, Bob also grows a variety of crops exclusively for wildlife benefit including corn, sunflowers, pumpkins and potatoes.
Over the past few decades, Bob has noted a recurring theme of help from others including the NRCS, the Forest Service, neighbors and family to help care for his land and promote wildlife. His son, Michael, echoed that sentiment while assisting with the pollinator and beneficial insect planting, “We are giving back for all the enjoyment we have had on this land.”
Bob plans to continue to promote wildlife on his land as new opportunities become available and plans to partner with NRCS for technical and financial assistance to further his conservation efforts.