Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership, Inc.

Inside This Issue

Lakeshore Currents - Letter from the Executive Director - Action Plan Summary for 2015

Lakeshore CurrentsDear Friends of LNRP:

The LNRP Board gathered on January 17 for our annual retreat to explore our mission, reconfirm our vision, and establish our operational goals. 

We want to build strong communities, a goal underlying all of LNRP’s programs and initiatives. We all need plentiful, clean fresh water, and to safeguard our waters from contaminants and unsustainable usage drives our water ethic.

Our land ethic promotes a balance of land resource values, land use and an invested sense of place to support business, recreation, industry and agriculture.

Our collective stewardship ethic further inspires a shared responsibility for our land and water resources, and the need for effective initiatives that improve the health of our communities, now and into the future.

LNRP supports several watershed-based groups and collaborators with a common vision and fiscal management.  Each group maintains a liaison on our Board who is President, Committee Chair, or Steering Committee Member of their organization.  They engage in our annual retreat and monthly board meetings.  LNRP’s Executive Director also helps mobilize community volunteers to support and build each program partner.  LNRP uses staff resources and funding from our Stewardship Investment Fund to support each program partner.

Current watershed groups and local partners include: Friends of Hika Bay, Friends of the Branch River Watershed, Friends of the Twin Rivers (East and West Twin Rivers), the Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed, the Climate Change Coalition and Forest Recovery Project of Door County, and the Little Manitowoc River Partnership.

We also continue to strengthen the Restore the Shore initiative, a partnership of community organizations throughout the Lakeshore launched in 2014.  For LNRP, this ties together our three networks and engages a fourth network for outreach.  Restore the Shore uses existing staff resources within existing networks: Niagara Escarpment Resource Network (NERN), Lakeshore Environmental Resource Network (LERN), and the Lakeshore Invasive Species Management Area (LISMA) as regional resources.  Each local friend group then can tap into the strengths of each network and link with the resources and capacity they need.  We then connect and engage with the basin-wide Lake Michigan Stakeholders to further expand our impact with education and outreach.

Our main objective is to promote LNRP’s mission, ‘Cultivating Environmental Stewardship in the Lakeshore Region,’ by strengthening and supporting our evolving local and regional partners to expand understanding and awareness of critical water resource issues, instill a water ethic, and get our collective message out to guide effective decision-making, with a reminder ‘We All Live on the Water.’ We have leveraged this campaign to establish the Lakeshore Water Institute in collaboration with UW-Manitowoc. We continue to host and collaborate on educational and experiential ‘Water’ themed events with our partners. Ultimately, we look to instill and build a strong sense of place from the Wisconsin Ledge to the Lakeshore.

Yours in service to our waters,
Jim Kettler, Executive Director
Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership

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Little Manitowoc Conservancy Project Moves Forward

On June 12, 2008, the City of Manitowoc experienced an extreme storm event that caused the Little Manitowoc River to rise 4.5 feet in less than 24 hours.  Following this flood, the Little Manitowoc River coastal wetland drained to become an exposed mud flat.  The mud flat is now inhabited by cattails, reed canary grass, Phragmites, and Japanese knotweed.  The City commissioned a study by Montgomery Associates on the feasibility of restoring the coastal wetland with recommendations placed in the City’s long-term comprehensive plan.

For LNRP, this project started when Justin Winga approached us in 2012 with a request to help develop a strategic fundraising plan.  We helped form the Little Manitowoc River Partnership in October of that year.  Justin joined our Board in 2013 and helped facilitate the development of a prospectus, website materials, and fundraising proposals.

Little Manitowoc River PartnershipOur plan is to create a 250-acre conservancy that will bring three city parks and the adjoining environmental corridor under a single management regime.  We begin with restoring the Little Manitowoc River Coastal Wetland into more of its original meandering structure with existing stream channels used as rearing habitat for pike.  The 50/50 split of open water and highly functioning wetlands is our operational goal.  The habitat will be highly beneficial for fish species, migratory birds as well as waterfowl.  The site will also act to connect several important trails including the Ice Age Trail, Mariner’s Trail, and Little Manitowoc Walking Trail.  Education and outreach will be cultivated in partnership with the Manitowoc Zoological Society that acts as a Friend of the Lincoln Park Zoo.

LNRP was able to leverage significant funding for the project including a $15,000 grant for habitat and water quality assessments, a $100,000 grant from the Fund for Lake Michigan to establish a stakeholder team, develop a conceptual design, and establish a long-term invasive species management plan, and finally a $391,480 grant from the Sustain Our Great Lakes Fund for the actual restoration work.

The stakeholder team that makes up the Little Manitowoc Partnership includes the City of Manitowoc, the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association, the Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed, the Lakeshore Water Institute at UW-Manitowoc, the Lakeshore Invasive Species Management Area (LISMA), Stantec – the environmental consultant contracted for the work, and of course, the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership that will provide overall coordination of the project.

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Lake Michigan Champions of Conservation Awards

LNRP and NERNDo you know of an individual, organization or company, or policy maker involved in innovative initiatives or projects to improve the health of Lake Michigan?  Consider nominating them as a 2015 Lake Michigan Champion of Conservation!

The second annual Lake Michigan Champions of Conservation Awards, sponsored by the Lake Michigan Stakeholders and LNRP, honor and recognize individuals, businesses and community organizations, and policy makers for outstanding environmental achievements and innovation.

This year, the nomination process is simple. You fill out and submit a form online with specific information on the nominee and his/her outstanding contributions. Our community-based selection committee may ask for additional information as the process moves forward.  Go to www.lakemichiganstakeholders.org to nominate your favorite community Champion by May 1.

Self-nominations are welcome!  Nominations can come from any group, program, organization, business, or individual located and working on the restoration, improvement or enhancement of Lake Michigan (in the Wisconsin portion of the Lake Michigan basin) or any of the watersheds that flow into the lake.

All nominations should focus on one of the following areas:

  • Water Resources Protection:  Projects that monitor or improve streams, rivers, lakes or wetlands in the Lake Michigan basin.
  • Environmental Education and Outreach:  Projects that establish or improve communication and education about environmental issues for the general public, youth and stewardship programs.
  • Land Use Protection and Habitat Restoration:  Projects that focus on improving land development decisions to restore and protect natural areas.

Award winners illustrate examples of best practices addressing environmental challenges.  We will notify award recipients in June, and honor them at the second annual Lake Michigan Day at UW-Manitowoc on August 14.  Watch for event and nomination details in the coming months on the Lake Michigan Stakeholders website, www.lakemichiganstakeholders.org.

We initiated Lake Michigan Day in 2014 to highlight this great water body’s importance to our basin’s environment and economy and the special connections people have to this unique world treasure.

Lake Michigan DayClean water is a basic right and necessity for all life. If you live near Lake Michigan or one of its tributaries, you are fortunate to be living near one of the world’s largest fresh water lakes. Each day, every resident in the Lake Michigan basin uses its water for drinking, home use, agricultural and industrial use, or recreation. The lake is also essential for countless fish, birds, animals, and plants.

Last year’s successful inaugural event attracted more than 90 participants to celebrate Lake Michigan, including showcasing restoration projects, an educational forum, special events such as dragon boat races, beach clean ups, musical concerts, library displays, church services, and signed proclamations that designate the second Friday in August as Lake Michigan Day.  

Lake Michigan Day is a special opportunity to consider our connection to Lake Michigan’s water.  At each Lake Michigan Day, all residents who live, work, play, and worship around the lake can organize events in their communities or take action in their homes, at their places of employment or in community groups, to help protect the vital treasure that is Lake Michigan.  Watch for more information on how you can be part of this great event on August 14!

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Village of Cleveland Establishes Adopt-a-Park Program

Building on area organizations and volunteers whose diligent efforts helped establish parks in Cleveland (WI), the Village is launching an Adopt-a-Park program to assist with cleanup, invasive species removal, and improvements. As the next step to further this invaluable stewardship, this new initiative fosters civic engagement by providing additional volunteers opportunities, improves the environment by cleaning up trash and debris, planting trees and flowers, and raises awareness of the need to protect our natural spaces. 

Friends of Hika BayAdopt-a-Park program volunteers from the Friends of Hika Bay provide services beyond what the Village has time or the budget to carry out.  These efforts enhance the Public Works Department’s regular maintenance with special touches and make Cleveland parks safer, all while saving the Village money.  It also ties in well with other area initiatives in Manitowoc and Calumet, Fond du Lac and Kewaunee Counties.

Restore the Shore is a partnership between the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership, Woodland Dunes and the four-countywide Lakeshore Invasive Species Management Area designed to improve the health of Lake Michigan.  This year, a Manitowoc County Resolution declared April ‘Restore the Shore Month’ to officially launch their initiative to remove and control invasive species.

Similar to the City of Manitowoc’s collaboration with the Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed that adopted Lower Schuette Park last year, the Village program will build on other regional initiatives already underway under the Restore the Shore initiative.

At Lower Schuette Park in Manitowoc, the friends group completed an inventory of its invasive species with treatment plans in place as part of their program.

The volunteer-based Project RED (Riverine Early Detection) trained the Friends of Hika Bay, Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed, and Citizens for a Scenic Lakefront to identify invasive species along the shoreline.  Removal of Phragmites continues with a demonstration project and treatment at Hika Bay, Fischer Creek Park and Calvin Creek.

The Village of Cleveland encourages its residents to watch for volunteer opportunities as projects get underway with the Friends of Hika Bay to improve our lakeshore and Lake Michigan.  Everyone is welcome and encouraged to participate in this initiative:  individuals, families, church groups and businesses can all help maintain and beautify their public parks.  For more information on Adopt-a-Park, contact Jenn Hansmann, jenn@lnrp.org or (920) 627-1799. 

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Sustainable Living Fair

Friday Night Kick-Off
June 5, 2015

This year’s Friday night kick-off of the Sustainable Living Fair will focus on the Niagara Escarpment, bringing the stories, recommendations, and insights from the upcoming 2015 Sources of Knowledge Forum, titled “The Great Arc: Life on the (L)Edge”.  Taking place in Tobermory, Ontario, on May 8-10, 2015, the forum’s goal is to build bridges to other communities which, like the Bruce Peninsula, lie on the rim of the Michigan Basin.

Sources of Knowledge: Life on the Ledge of the Great ArcThe Niagara Escarpment , often referred to as the “Great Arc,” is a prominent geologic feature that extends visibly from the western New York State, through southern Ontario, Manitoulin Island and the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, before descending southward through the Door Peninsula of Wisconsin and our Eastern Highlands just past the Horicon Marsh basin.

Communities situated on the Great Arc, while different in many ways, have in common this special underlying geological feature, sometimes submerged or buried, but very evident in areas such as the ‘mirror imaged’ Door and Bruce Peninsulas.   This year’s forum intends to explore those commonalities and differences of these two prominent Great Lakes peninsulas.    

For examples, we all share a dolostone bedrock chemistry; and, where the Escarpment’s rim is exposed, the soils are thin and rocky.   The cliffs of the Escarpment, however; face west in the Door, and east in the Bruce.   Thanks also to this common bedrock source, the soils support a similar biodiversity of flora and fauna, although it is fair to say that The Bruce is quite a bit more ‘wild’ than the heavily worked farm fields or tourism developed lands of the Door.

Generalized Location of Niagara Escarpment in North America

Both economies depend - to some degree - on tourism, they both have offshore islands and tour boat operations, are home to retirees and artists, and have stronger urban centers near their base (Sturgeon Bay and Owen Sound) for major supplies. Both contain rich archeological and cultural histories, have First Nation communities, struggle with groundwater contamination and wind turbine issues, as well as offering a vast array of hiking trails and parks.   In fact, the notable John Muir, famous founder of the Sierra Club, lived for a time at the base of both peninsulas!

The Door Peninsula is more heavily populated and economically more developed than the Bruce. In a sense, the Door may represent one version of a desired future for the Bruce, as this Canadian region seeks to address challenges in developing economically.   Conversely, residents of the Door might envy the state of preservation that exists in the Bruce, and seek to learn from it.

The 2015 Forum will provide opportunities to examine these connections and future collaborative possibilities, such as the potential for seeking a UNESCO Geo-Park designation.  Forum planners are working with Eric Fowle of the East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commission (co-founder of the Niagara Escarpment Resource Network and an LNRP Board member) in preparing for this event, and we invite local elected officials, resource professionals, students and interested Wisconsin residents to make the trek as well.  The Forum will include field trips along the Escarpment, a Friday evening Film Festival with Dr. Stephen Scharper (a renowned Canadian author, professor at the University of Toronto, and a scholar of religion and the environment), and a Saturday evening social and a Saturday dinner with this year’s keynote speaker Dr. Joanne Kluessendorf, Director of the Weis Earth Science Museum in Menasha (and also a NERN Steering Committee member). 

For more information about the forum and registration connect with their website: www.sourcesofknowledge.ca.  Do consider marking May 8-10, 2015 on your calendars for a breathtaking trip to the Bruce Peninsula if you have the resources to travel to Ontario.   Be sure to take along our locally produced wines and cheeses to share if you do!  If not, then consider joining us closer to home for this year’s Sustainable Living Fair and Friday night event to learn more about this exciting collaboration between Ontario and Wisconsin.  Celebrating and elevating our common Niagara Escarpment!

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LNRP Welcomes New Board Member

Mary SmytheWe welcome Mary Smythe from Door County to the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership Board. Along with husband Dick, Mary co-founded the Climate Change Coalition of Door County in December, 2012.  Born in Alliance, Ohio, she grew up in Detroit, outside Chicago (in the second deliberately integrated community in the U.S.), and in New York City.  Mary majored in Russian History at the College of Wooster (Ohio), and has worked at the Methodist Office for the United Nations and for the University of Minnesota Hospitals and Clinics in Volunteer Services and Public Relations.  Despite volunteering in each community where she has lived, her heart lies in the outdoors. An avid conservationist, Mary has participated in native plant societies, helped remove invasive species, and promoted responsible landscaping and a ‘green’ lifestyle.

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Silver Creek Project Forges Ahead



Silver Creek projectNEW Water (the brand of the Green Bay Metropolitan Sewerage District) is leading project planning, driven by new permit requirements, to evaluate if it is more cost effective to spend over $200 million on wastewater treatment plant improvements for further phosphorus reductions or to partner with agricultural efforts and others in the watershed to control the amount of phosphorus and sediment reaching the bay of Green Bay from upstream.

The Silver Creek watershed was selected as a demonstration area to partner with agricultural landowners and operators, Outagamie and Brown County Land Conservation, Natural Resource Conservation Service, and the Oneida Nation, to collect soil and water samples and design and install conservation practices to reduce phosphorus and soil erosion.

Silver Creek, a small stream located 1 mile west of the Austin Straubel Airport near Green Bay, flows into Duck Creek, which flows into the bay of Green Bay. The watershed is about 7.5 square miles (4,800 acres). Water testing in Silver Creek has indicated high levels of phosphorus and sediment that contributes to algae growth, low oxygen and loss of habitat for fish and aquatic life.

Success of the project depends on the willing participation of landowners and operators in the Silver Creek watershed. With no cost or obligation to the landowner or operator to participate, free services include sampling soils and providing results at a 2.5-acre frequency, updating or developing new nutrient management plans and new conservation plans.

This free information equips landowners/operators with the potential to improve crop yields and soil health, while reducing soil erosion and improving water quality. Soil sampling was nearly completed last fall after crops were harvested, with landowner permission on 123 of 124 fields in the watershed.

Local crop consultants, contacted landowners, and operators gather to discuss the project goals, share their ideas, and coordinate access to their fields.

For additional information about the project, contact:  NEW Water, consultant Brent Brown (414-847-0393) or Jeff Smudde (920-438-1071).

Winter 2015

Swales education

News from LNRP

Friend Group Updates

Waters of the Ledge Winter Tours

LISMA Holds 2nd Annual Partners Meeting

Friend Group Updates

Love Lake Michigan

Love Lake Michigan

The Lake Michigan Forum and Bay-Lake RPC are launching the "Love Lake Michigan" campaign to increase awareness of the value of Lake Michigan and catalyze action to protect it through education, engagement and empowerment of citizens of the Lake Michigan Basin.

They believe that Lake Michigan is ours to protect, promote and enjoy and call out to the citizens of the Lake Michigan Basin, “to balance the three fundamental elements - environmental integrity, economic vitality and sociocultural well-being.”

Join the campaign by:

  1. pledging to love Lake Michigan;
  2. sharing your love of the Lake via social media (#loveLakeMichigan); and
  3. participating through the Forum; and volunteering in the basin.

Learn more about the Love Lake Michigan campaign at www.lovelakemichigan.org.

Climate Change Forum

Climate Change Coalition of Door County

The Second Annual Door County Climate Change Forum, May 9 at Stone Harbor in Sturgeon Bay, is being organized by the Climate Change Coalition of Door County (CCCDC), an association of county residents committed to increasing public awareness of climate change and its implications for Door County, our state and the globe by providing highly credible information on various aspects of this issue. Climate change, resulting from global warming caused in large part by burning fossil fuels and deforestation, will affect all aspects of life on earth, including, but not limited to, food production and security, economic wellbeing and public health, plant and animal habitat, and the beauty of our environment.  See www.wicci.wisc.edu for a detailed analysis of expected impacts on Wisconsin, including our region.  For more information check the CCCDC website.

Friends of the Twin Rivers – East Twin and West Twin

Friends of the Twin Rivers Watershed

In 2014, the Friends of the Twin Rivers group was launched with LNRP board member Annette Paul and U.S. Fish and Wildlife staff Betsy Galbraith as principal organizers.  The purpose of this project is to provide targeted watershed education and outreach to local community members, including directly engaging high school students.  In 2015, they are moving forward with a watershed action volunteer (WAV) program to address water quality issues and a joint program with the Lakeshore Invasive Species Management Area and the Woodland Dunes Nature Center to help implement a comprehensive invasive species program.  The 334 square miles of the East and West Twin River watersheds will serve as the geographic area for this project and be based out of the Woodland Dunes Nature Center. The watershed includes the communities of Two Rivers, Mishicot, Kewaunee, and Denmark.  For more information, please contact: Jenn Hansmann at jenn@lnrp.org.

Friends of Hika Bay

tree planting

After completing the reconstruction of Centerville Creek in 2014, the Friends of Hika Bay furthered its work on the ridge swale community at the Hika Shores property along Lake Michigan.  Volunteers organized six successful sessions of tree planting, invasive species removal, and beach clean-ups.  They began their permitting and engineering designs for a pedestrian bridge and viewing platform.  The Village of Cleveland approved excavating the southern berm on the property when conditions are suitable.  Four UW-Manitowoc interns performed water quality measures on five watersheds in Manitowoc County and presented several years of compiled data to the community.  The group received a 2013-2014 WDNR River Planning Grant that helped support these efforts and has submitted another  for 2015 to continue enhancing and maintaining the sites.  They will launch an adopt-a-park program in the upcoming year!

Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed

Kayaking

After forming in 2012, the Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed has evolved into a sustainable group of active volunteers.  Funding from a 2013-2014 DNR River Planning Grant supported their series of public education seminars with topics including the history of the Manitowoc River, the definition of a watershed, invasive species, healthy beaches and restorations and “Project RED” training (Riverine Early Detection) for aquatic invasive species.  Volunteers successfully cleaned up 10 of Manitowoc’s beaches in the spring and fall of 2014, engaging more than 100 volunteers each time and collecting over 1100 pounds of trash!  They also cleaned the Manitowoc River with canoes and kayaks, collecting 135 pounds of trash.  To celebrate water and our country’s independence, members paddled the Manitowoc River on the 4th of July.  The Watershed Ambassadors camp was held once again at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, a program designed to educate youth!  The group has submitted another WDNR Planning Grant for 2015 and hopes to put in a kayak launch along the Manitowoc River.  They have adopted Lower Schuette Park in 2014 and will continue to improve and steward the park in 2015. 

Friends of the Branch River Watershed

Youth conservation leadership program

In 2014, the Friends of the Branch River further developed their Vickie Mayer Youth Conservation Leadership Program with funding from a Scholten Family Foundation Grant.  With education at the forefront, their programs in 2014 included All About Bats, Fun with Froggy Friends, a picnic featuring a live animal program with youth activities, outdoor skills events, and how to plan your own outdoor adventures. They celebrated and raised funds with brat fries, an Earth Day celebration, a presentation about leaving a legacy, and their annual spring banquet.

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Waters of the Ledge Winter Tours

Killsnake Marsh Wonderland Snowshoe Hike
Saturday, February 14, 2015
Calumet County
Love the Ledge® with the Niagara Escarpment Resource Network!

Join us for our inaugural tour of 2015:  an invigorating and illuminating exploration of the Killsnake Marsh in Calumet County by snowshoe (snow-dependent) or foot to learn about its wintertime inhabitants, identifying tracks and bird watching with expert local guide, Rock Anderson.

snowshoes

Bring your snowshoes or hiking boots to explore the Marsh in places out of reach in warmer months.  We will venture to an ancient island where we’ll enjoy a campfire and hot food and beverage before returning to the parking area. Rock, former Calumet County Conservationist, will cover tales of the area’s unique history, folklore and geology. 

Tour will begin promptly at 9:00 a.m. and run until about 1:00 p.m.  Reservations required by email, Sherrill@LNRP.org, or phone, (920) 412-1920.  Cost is $15/LNRP or NERN members; $20/non-members (payable by cash or check to LNRP) and includes lunch and all printed materials.   

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LISMA Holds 2nd Annual Partners Meeting

Lakeshore Invasive Species Management Area

The staff and volunteers of the Lakeshore Invasive Species Management Area (LISMA) invited the public and other stakeholders to attend their 2nd annual partners meeting January 21 at Woodland Dunes Nature Center and Preserve, Two Rivers. LISMA coordinator Jennifer Powell provided a summary of LISMA activities and successes for 2014 and the regional restoration initiative known as Restore the Shore.  Other steering committee members highlighted control projects, public education and outreach events, and a regional mapping effort.  Guest speaker Josh Martinez of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources presented on the Phragmites management efforts in Kewaunee County.  Contact Jennifer at 920-793-4007 or jenniferp@lisma.net if you want more information on LISMA or have an invasive species related challenge.

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