Inside This Issue
A Message from the Executive Director
Welcome to 2013 and our 10-year anniversary! We’ll be celebrating throughout the year and look forward to celebrating stewardship with you. We recently helped host and plan the Niagara Escarpment Resource Network’s Cultivating a Sense of Place symposium with engaging speakers and 50 participants. The upcoming months will see the completion of the first phase of the Centerville Creek Restoration project and the launch of the Little Manitowoc Creek Coastal Wetland Restoration. We’re building on climate change initiatives with the NEW Wilderness Alliance in Brown County and the Friends of the Manitowoc River in the City of Manitowoc. We plan to implement a Youth Leadership Program in collaboration the Friends of the Branch River. We will champion good works in the lakeshore with our Champions of Conservation Program. We’re co-hosting the Door County Sustainability Fair with Sustain Door. We plan to host the second annual Lakeshore Water Summit in Kewaunee County. And we’re already looking ahead to September for our 5th Annual Chautauqua and Barn Dance in collaboration with Gathering Waters Conservancy and the Wisconsin School for Beginning Farmers in Dairy and Livestock Production. It should prove to be a very good year and we continue to be grateful for your support and participation in cultivating environmental stewardship in the lakeshore region.
It's an honor to serve you,
Jim Kettler, Executive Director
Call for Champions of Conservation
Do you know of a deserving person or group in Wisconsin’s lakeshore region who’s involved in great environmental work?
If so, now is the time to submit your nominations with two letters of support for the 2013 Champions of Conservation Awards. This year, deadline for nominations is March 1st with our awards ceremony scheduled for April 11th.
Sponsored by Dominion® and LNRP, we honor excellence in advancing the lakeshore’s environmental quality in Northeast and East Central Wisconsin. Recipients do not need to live in our region as long as the projects have taken place here. Individuals and organizations can also be nominated more than once. Be part of this wonderful way to reward our environmental champions!
We will choose Champions of Conservation in the following categories: Water Resources Protection; Environmental Education & Outreach; Land Use Protection & Habitat Restoration. A Champion of Champions will be selected from the three finalists.
Nomination materials and information can be found on our website at: http://www.lnrp.org/environmental-champions.php.
Please submit electronically all nomination materials no later than March 1, 2013 to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you can’t submit electronically, please send nomination materials to: LNRP, PO Box 62, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235.
Centerville Creek – Up and Flowing
Centerville Creek has once again become a healthy flowing stream, meandering its way into Lake Michigan. The multi-year restoration project is 90% completed, and the impressive results are a visible eye opener.
Following removal of the Centerville Dam in 1996, sediments and erosion made the stream a safety hazard, a biological wasteland and essentially a desert for migratory birds and native plant species.
The principal participants in its transformation were InterFluve, a nationally recognized engineering firm that restores water resources; the elected officials of the Village of Cleveland; Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership; The Centerville Creek Advisory Committee; and Friends of Hika Bay.
During the summer of 2012, earth-moving equipment was busy digging and dumping dirt into the expanded Hika Park, otherwise known as Hika Sands. The creek was cleaned out and shaped to meander to produce healthier water quality and flow. UW-Manitowoc students teamed up to conduct water quality samples throughout the summer, producing an extensive database of information. Stumps and rocks were strategically placed in the riverbed to create quality habitats for fish and other aquatic species. Invasive species were eradicated with volunteers to further enhance the riparian environment, and native woodland grasses were planted. Plans are in place for a massive tree planting in the spring of 2013, as a collaborative project with the community and local schools.
Years of cooperation, expertise, fundraising, persistence, and hard work paid off in this immense undertaking.
The Village Board recently designated the creek corridor as park lands, greatly expanding the size of Hika Park. This impressive restoration converted an area of local concern and decay into a viable wildlife corridor and enhanced community resource. Stay tuned for the final stage of this transformative process!
LNRP Launches Restoration Project
The Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership is launching a new restoration project on the Little Manitowoc River and Coastal Wetland. The more than 15-acre wetland/river complex is located adjacent to Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Little Manitowoc River in the City of Manitowoc. As with any restoration project to a wetland and water resource located in an urban environment, gaining both agency and public buy-in is paramount. The City Master Plan that has emerged has been discussed with several members of the public and WDNR staff, and all have indicated that this restoration project has the potential to be a significant improvement over the existing condition.
We helped form the Little Manitowoc River Partnership. The group is devising a work plan for invasive species monitoring and eradication, water quality monitoring, bird surveys, and outreach. LNRP actively supports similar groups including the Friends of the Branch River Watershed, the Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed, and the Friends of Hika Bay which have mobilized a number of citizens to engage in habitat restoration and enhancements in the Manitowoc River basin, and the five frontal watersheds in southern Manitowoc County including Centerville, Fischer, Point, Pine, and Calvin Creek watersheds.
The Little Manitowoc Coastal Wetland Restoration aims to restore the shallow open water connection that was lost in June 2008 between the Little Manitowoc River and adjacent wetland. The overall project goal is to restore approximately 50% open-water and 50% native emergent vegetation with flat sedge shorelines to provide excellent habitat for fish, migratory birds, and invertebrates. Our proposal would seek support for a strategic planning process for a comprehensive watershed restoration plan. The Little Manitowoc River is a vital waterway in central Manitowoc County with substantially significant cultural, economic and environmental importance. The watershed contains two city parks, is adjacent to the Lake Michigan Tour and Water Trail, the Mariners Trail, the Ice Age Trail, and the Lincoln Park Zoo. Stay tuned for further developments as this project gets underway.
Sense of Place: Killsnake State Wildlife Area, Southeast Calumet/Southwest Manitowoc Counties by Sherrill Anderson
Driving along State Highway 151 three miles east of Chilton in Calumet County, the 7,000-acre Killsnake State Wildlife Area (WA) stays quietly hidden among the surrounding towns, villages and fields. This subtle presence belies its vast expanse and importance for wildlife habitat and water quality management. It contains the Killsnake River, the South Branch of the Manitowoc River, and Cedar Creek. The WA’s rivers, marshes and cedar swamps host diverse species of birds and waterfowl, some rare. The property extends east into southwestern Manitowoc County as well. Thanks to its old grassy fields, numerous wetland and prairie restorations by the Wisconsin DNR, an increasing number of grassland birds and mammals enjoy its habitat and continue to grow in numbers and species.
The DNR website for state wildlife areas, www.dnr.wi.gov, offers some interesting background. In 1948, the Killsnake Bottoms and Cedar Creek area occupied about 4,500 acres within the present boundary – all leased land. The first purchase came in 1956 in Manitowoc County (referred to in Rock Anderson’s recollection below) and in the mid-1960s the property was expanded into Calumet County. Originally set up as a goose satellite area, it still shares its ecosystem functions with agriculture on over 1,000 acres. Restorations of prairie on over 1,500 acres along with small wetlands totaling over 50 sites continue to add to the diversity of this property. The Wisconsin DNR would like to ultimately expand it to 9,106 acres as additional properties become available.
Currently, the DNR uses prescribed burning for grasslands to support a variety of wildlife. They manipulate water levels to manage small impoundments or ponds, maintain agricultural fields for food production for people and wildlife, and use sustained forest management to yield fiber and optimize habitat for wildlife.
“The landscape consists of prairie grasslands, uplands with large wetland-grassland complex, bottomland hardwood forest, a small area of cedar swamp, a small area of tamarack and bog, agricultural landscape, small areas of upland forest and over 50 small wetland restorations,” according to the website management description.
Now in his 39th year working for the WDNR, Area Game Manager Dick Nikolai has been the main force managing and improving the Killsnake since he began. Looking back, he reflects that, “It’s initial 3,000 acres have more than doubled. Three hundred acres in grasslands now span 2,000. Four initial wetlands now number 45-50 restored. Roughly 1,300-1,500 acres are now in canary grass and the area floods seasonally which was the original impetus for its creation. In the spring, you’ll see 8,000-10,000 ducks and 1,000 geese there. The wetlands host Yellow Rails and uplands have 30 pairs of the nomadic Dicksissels arriving late May into early June and leaving by August. Shovelers show up in the spring. We have three Osprey nests. We have Eagles, Pheasants, Kestrels, Bitterns, Northern Shrike. Grasslands bird species are increasing and include several Sparrows and Harriers. These species were there since the early ‘90s but I’m pleased to see so many more now in 2012. Last year, there were Snowy Egrets!”
“The Killsnake contains the most acres of grasslands next to the Kettles to the south of us. For Northeast Wisconsin, the Killsnake is ‘it’ for grassland habitat.”
“We’ve grown from three parking lots for visitors and hunters to more than 14 now. We haven’t reviewed our master plan since 1979 and will be revisiting it in the next two or three years. Years ago, we mapped invasive species with student help here and in the Brillion Wildlife Area which we’ve used to target our efforts at eradication and containment. I’m pleased to say we’ve controlled 90% of the Wild Parsnips and treated Buckthorn and other species of invasive plants.”
LNRP board member Rock Anderson assisted Nikolai in wetland restorations in the late 1990s and early 2000s. On a recent driving tour of the Killsnake, Anderson shared his reflections and insights. “I have been coming here (to the Killsnake) since I was old enough to venture out on my own, when I was nine or 10. I would fish for bullheads off the Lemke Road Bridge or go looking at waterfowl in the spring.”
Anderson continued, “Its archeological sites are some of the oldest in North America going back to pre-tribal times, reportedly with a mastodon kill site. The original marsh area began off Highway 151 East. The first property to be purchased by the WDNR in the 1950s lies in Manitowoc County and was referred to as the ‘state farm’ by locals. Additional farms and property were purchased as they became available.”
“With habitat changing, the canary grass marshes have replaced most of the cedar swamps right along the Manitowoc River in the SW corner of the Killsnake. Throughout the marsh, it’s slowly replacing the lowland hardwoods. When I’m out hiking, I still stumble across the ghosts of cedar trees. The remnant lowland forest containing silver maple and green ash is slowly giving way to canary grass. As old trees die or are damaged, canary grass fills in before tree seedlings can sprout. It produces abundant seeds so it spreads quickly when the opportunity arises.”
“The marsh floods in spring and is full of waterfowl in breeding plumage. Abundant dogwood patches have been cleared to provide open habitat for waterfowl during these periods of high water. The Killsnake River, in particular, contains lots of sediment from upstream land use practices. The North and South Branch of the Manitowoc River come together just northeast of the Wildlife Area to form the main stem.”
“Recreational opportunities include hiking, snowshoeing, day trip canoeing especially where the Killsnake and Manitowoc Rivers converge, bird and waterfowl watching, including Bald Eagles all year round. Snow Buntings flitter like dancing confetti over the prairies in late winter as well as Lapland Longspurs along the roadsides and fields. Meadowlarks, Bobolinks, and Short-eared Owls delight in spring and summer. Marsh areas include Osprey nest summertime viewing. The Killsnake WA is a major stopover for Swans in the spring. It is absolutely magnificent to drive through the middle of it on an embankment road. The area even contains native Phragmites which are less prolific remnants and do not spread.”
“Flowing from the south into the area, Cedar Creek has been nearly untouched by time. Hayton Pond flows to the marsh and, with the dam facing possible removal, provides a perfect opportunity for restoration. What many people forget is that rivers are always changing; they’re dynamic and yet we expect them to stay the same. We’re just lucky enough to witness and experience their presence,” Anderson concluded. And, Dick Nikolai added, “The Killsnake is an area near and dear to my heart.”
Come check it out for a x-country ski or snowshoe promenade this winter. You can find the Killsnake Wildlife Area by taking Hwy 57 to Chilton then head east on Hwy 151 for approximately 5 miles. Take a left on Lemke Road heading north through the interior of the property.
LNRP Welcomes New Board Members
We are pleased to welcome two new Board Members, Justin Winga from Manitowoc and Diane Schauer from Brillion. They both bring interesting and pertinent backgrounds and perspectives and, amazingly enough, both lived in Florida for some years.
Justin Winga grew up in Iowa spending his summers in Clear Lake where he learned to sail and enjoy all things water. In 1992, his passions led him to Florida, where he earned his Captain’s license and ran a small island freighter between the mainland and the Bahamas. Justin returned to Iowa, and in 1994 he became an entrepreneur and invented a dog toy (aptly named “Wing-a-Ball”) and built a successful manufacturing and distributing company. In 2000, he married Betsy, then a medical student. After they moved to Grand Rapids, MI for her residency, he started a remodeling company. He became a stay-at-home dad to their two children, a job he treasures. Knowing they wanted to live on the Great Lakes, Betsy took a job in Manitowoc, WI. Spending most of his summer months boating on Lake Michigan has strengthened his bond with the Great Lakes and raised concerns about how best to protect it for his kids. After a massive flood in 2008 altered the outlet of the Little Manitowoc River, he was asked by a group of like-minded citizens to represent their interests in the subsequent restoration project which led him to found the Little Manitowoc River Partnership. He believes that successful conservation involves connecting people to nature, both physically and mentally. When individuals feel connected to an area they become stakeholders which leads to stewardship and helps ensure long-term success.
And, we welcome Diane Schauer, the Aquatic Invasive Species Coordinator for Calumet County. She says she ‘first became interested in the world around her when she moved to Palm Beach County, FL and only recognized cattails.” Following intense training and volunteering, classes in horticulture, and involvement with several Florida plant organizations, she worked at an orchid nursery in Florida and managed the Book and Gift Shop at Mounts Botanical Garden in West Palm Beach, expanding their native plant titles. Through her work with native plants, Diane learned about invasive species. Diane and her husband moved to Brillion in 2001 and became involved with the local nature centers and wildlife areas. She “monitored bluebird box routes, did raptor surveys and studied and photographed the plants and critters in this new environment,” as well as “killing hundreds of buckthorn and honeysuckle plants and pulling a ton of garlic mustard at the Brillion Wildlife Area.” As a regular contributor to On Wisconsin Outdoors since 2008, her topics alternate between invasive species and featuring our local natural treasures. She currently lives in Brillion with her husband Roger and two Brittany dogs, Fenway and Wrigley.
Niagara Escarpment Symposium A Great Success!
Nearly 60 participants engaged in cultivating a sense of place at the Niagara Escarpment Symposium held January 10-11 at UW-Green Bay. Land management agencies, state park staff, university faculty, elected officials, and community organizations from several counties were all well represented with people coming from as far away as Madison, Milwaukee, Door County and even Chicago!
The symposium began by exploring the geology and ecology of the escarpment including an exploration of the historical cultural landscape. Following an engaging presentation of the area’s geological history with Roger Kuhns bringing it to life, keynote speaker Karen Harwell engaged the audience in developing a road map for developing a sense of place essentially following her book “Exploring A Sense of Place – How to create your own local program for reconnecting with nature.” In fact, Karen generously donated copies of her guidebook to all participants.
The evening presentation by Jim Uhrinak explored the creation stories of Native Americans and their connection to the Niagara Escarpment and the Great Lakes. Jim connected the dots on a wide-ranging exploration of origin stories and the Niagara Escarpment.
Day two began with building the conservation toolbox with a presentation by Dr. Stanley Temple, Senior Fellow at the Leopold Foundation. Roger Kuhns followed with a focus on the sustainability toolkit that examined how to use the triple bottom line to optimize community, economy, and the environment.
The symposium organizers were happy to see participants feeling empowered to work with their local communities or constituencies on building a sense of place around the important features of the Niagara Escarpment. We plan to integrate the lessons from the conference and Karen’s helpful guidance to nurture our appreciation of this precious resource lying beneath our feet. We will be posting presentations soon on our websites. Support came from the Wisconsin Coastal Management Program, LNRP, UW-Green Bay, The Avenue 91.1, Bay-Lake and East Central Wisconsin Regional Planning Commissions, Milwaukee Audubon Society, the Weis Earth Science Museum, Foth, Terra Verde Coffeehouse, and Trout Springs Winery.
News from LNRP
LNRP to Co-host Sustainability Fair
Friends Activities and Workshops
LNRP Receives Two Important Grants to Launch 2013
LNRP Says Goodbye to Two Board Members
Centerville Creek Restoration Featured in Webinar
Water’s Edge Artists Grow to Become Independent
LNRP to Co-host Sustainability Fair
The Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership will co-host with Sustain Door the 2013 Door County Sustainability Fair on April 27, 2013.
The event will take place in downtown Sturgeon Bay at both Graham and Martin Parks. Exhibits from local vendors and producers will feature everything from renewable energy to organic, locally sourced foods. And, there will be fun family activities and plenty of opportunity to network with interesting people.
Speakers include Paul Tukey, on “Safe Lawns” and Rick Brooks on “Free Little Libraries.” The Sustainability Fair seeks to promote the social, economic, and environmental sustainability of Door County. Sustainability is broadly defined as meeting the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Stay tuned for more details coming in the next few weeks and check out http://www.sustaindoor.org/ for more information.
Friends Activities and Workshops
Friends of the Branch River Watershed is presenting a workshop on Animal Tracks and Signs. Expert Kyle Koch from Medicine Hawk Wilderness Skills will lead the class on Saturday, Feb. 2nd from 9:00 am-Noon at Woodland Dunes Nature Preserve. He will show how to identify animals by their footprints and the patterns of their gaits. Time will be spent both inside and outdoors.
How Well is Your Water?
Monday, February 4 at 6 p.m. at Franklin Town Hall in Taus on the corner of Hwy J and Taus Road.
Learn more about your drinking water source: well maintenance, when to test your water, treatment systems, and regulations. After the program, FOBR invites you to learn more about the 2013 programming plans including the Spring Banquet on March 19.
Check out the Friends of Branch River Watershed Facebook page.
Friends of Hika Bay is planning a massive Tree Planting project May 1st – May 4th, in the nearly restored Centerville Creek Corridor. With grants and private funds, we will be planting over 1,000 trees and shrubs. Come get your hands dirty; we are looking for volunteers and shovels for the planting. Please contact us to sign your friends, family or organization up for the cause.
Friends of Hika Bay is also planning a Lakeshore Tour. We will explore Point Creek, Pine Creek and the beach ecology of Lake Michigan. There will also be a training session on beach cleanup and how to control Cladophora. Join us for a gazebo conversation and training on the effectiveness of GPS coordinants and invasive species rectification. Bringing the community together to steward our precious Lakeshore.
Please check out our website:
Nearly a year ago, a group of local individuals who wanted to help care for the Manitowoc River formed the Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed. Now the group, and LNRP, are gearing up for a Climate Change Seminar March 7th, at The Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc. It is the second of three seminars presented by the Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed and LNRP, focusing on adapting to climate change.
In honor of Earth Day, on April 20th, the friends group will gather to clean all accessible Lakeshore city beaches. Everyone is welcome to volunteer for the impactable beach cleanup. On this day, they will also have a booth at the Manitowoc Earth Day celebration at Lincoln High School.
“Friend” them on Facebook to stay updated on current information.
The Little Manitowoc River Partnership has launched their coastal wetland restoration project. The city and its citizens are reaching out to find the expertise and funding needed to restore and enhance the valuable ecosystem that has been compromised since the flood of 2008. The Little Manitowoc River is a vital waterway in central Manitowoc County that has very significant cultural, economic, and environmental importance. Stantec Consulting Services did a habitat and a Floristic Quality assessment of the area in December of 2012. Montgomery and Associates also completed a “Conceptual Design Report” that provides preliminary recommendations of restoration needs and costs. Justin Winga, founder and newly elected LNRP board member, and cooperative groups like LNRP, are moving forward with plans for the restoration.
LNRP Receives Two Important Grants to Launch 2013
The Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership received several grants to begin the new year. The Dominion Foundation awarded LNRP $40,000 for their Champions of Conservation program as well as a donation to the Stewardship Investment Fund.
The Brico Fund supported LNRP’s efforts to mobilize local friend groups and the Lake Michigan Stakeholders with a $40,000 grant.
Work Continues on the Centerville Creek – Hika Park Restoration Project
Plans are underway to host a week of tree planting in the Centerville Creek – Hika Park Restoration Project. LNRP received a WI DNR Urban Forestry Grant that will help finish the restoration. Community participation will be encouraged with help already coming from the UW Manitowoc Environmental Club, the LTC Horticulture Program, and Cleveland Elementary School.
Adapting to Climate Change
LNRP received a second Climate Change Grant for $5,000 along with a $1,250 Insight Grant for strategic development from Freshwater Future. On the heels of Hurricane Sandy, the need for more proactive adaption to climate change is abundantly clear. The mouth of the Fox River in Green Bay, WI has one of the largest urban flood plains in the country. It is also an area where poverty and other socio-economic blight issues abound. The residents of this area need to be engaged to advocate for policies and best practices that could save them from economic, social and environmental devastation from the next major weather (rain/snow) event. The grant will finance public engagement (Neighborhood Associations) with the focus on getting citizens engaged in the problem and pushing for flood plain conservation management corridors and other adaptive management system best practices. Stay tuned as our plans for further engagement evolve and emerge.
LNRP Says Goodbye to Two Board Members
The Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership sends our best wishes for a fond farewell to two beloved Board Members. Kelley O’Connor and Lynn Utesch are moving on and resigning from the LNRP Board. Lynn has become significantly involved with Kewaunee Cares and their collaborative efforts with the Northeast Wisconsin Clean Water Council, as well as other organizations such as Sustain Wisconsin Rural Network (SWRN). Kelley will continue to volunteer for LNRP but has needed to refocus on her professional goals at the DNR. We appreciate all they’ve done for LNRP, Kelley for many years and Lynn more recently. We will miss both of them and wish them the very best.
Centerville Creek Restoration Featured in Webinar
On January 22, Jim Kettler presented an informative slide show highlighting the Centerville Creek restoration project to an audience of more than 600 participants! The webinar host, Sustain Our Great Lakes, focused on stream restoration in the Great Lakes basin. Experts featured four case studies to illustrate how natural channel design and in-stream structures are being used to improve stream habitat across the basin. In addition, the webinar provided information on relevant funding opportunities. Go to this link to hear a recording of the webinar:
Water’s Edge Artists Grow to Become Independent
The Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership is pleased to announce that the Water’s Edge Artists have matured into an independent group. In the last few months of 2012, they became an autonomous organization by creating a set of officers and committee structures.
The original collaboration began in the autumn of 2006 when the LNRP met with a number of painters who shared a method called plein air (literally, painting in the open air). Plein air painters create from life using all of their senses to capture the light and colors particular to a place. The Water’s Edge Artists have chosen prominent and otherwise overlooked creeks, streams, lakes, rivers and wetlands to feature in their paintings. The annual calendar captures the essence of these important places through the painters’ direct contact with nature. Look for the link to their new website in the next few weeks. Artists still participate in our events such as Ledge Tours, painting on site, and engaging with other Lakeshore organizations concerned with our quality of life and the environment we live in.
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