Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership, Inc.

Inside This Issue

Lakeshore Currents - LNRP Hires a Development and Communications Coordinator

Lakeshore Currents

We are excited to announce the engagement of Lisa Vihos as the LNRP Development and Communications Coordinator. The position is designed to build capacity for LNRP and our partners. We currently support five regional networks, six local watershed groups, and our Restore the Shore projects.

As a parent organization, LNRP uses a model of shared staff and board resources to effectively build their overall capacity. Each year, LNRP revisits our 3-5 year strategic plan at our annual retreat. From that plan, we create targets designed to build internal capacity through sufficient financial support. A parallel process is a step-by-step process in revisiting the action plan and development plan of each partner organization. The year finishes with reporting, financial reconciliation, and an evaluation process that feeds the review of the strategic plan at the January retreat. Lisa will play a fundamental role in supporting this process.

Lisa Vihos, LNRP Development and Communications CoordinatorLisa is an educator, grant writer, and poet who comes to LNRP via a circuitous route, but in her mind, all roads lead to water. Born in Chicago and raised in the Detroit area, she is the daughter of two artists. She got her BA in Art History from Vassar College and her MA in art history from the University of Michigan. She worked for 20 years as an art museum educator, mostly in Los Angeles near the Pacific Ocean and more recently at the John Michael Kohler Arts Center in Sheboygan, bringing her back to the shores of Lake Michigan. She then shifted into Advancement at Lakeland College for eight years. She joins LNRP to use her grant writing, fundraising, and project management skills to help build capacity and support membership and development efforts. 

Please welcome Lisa to the LNRP Team!

Jim Kettler, Executive Director


Water Quality Data Stories Suggest Progress!

Lakeshore Water InstituteOn the evening of October 21, area residents from Manitowoc County came to hear UW-Manitowoc biology student interns, ‘the Stream Team’, report on ‘Emerging Trends in Stream Water Quality (in) Southern Manitowoc County Creeks.’ The event was hosted by the Lakeshore Water Institute that formed in 2014 as a partnership between the University of Wisconsin-Manitowoc and the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership

The team has put together a program that creates opportunities for UW-Manitowoc students to engage in community-based action plans through undergraduate research and service learning, and get boots-on-the-ground experience.  Student interns collect weekly measurements of physical, chemical and biological characteristics of streams and rivers in the watersheds of Manitowoc County.  Additionally, select lab sessions in UW-Manitowoc introductory biology courses sample additional biological and chemical measures along with macro-invertebrates.  Testing involves the pH, temperature, flow, turbidity, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, ammonia, phosphorus and E.coli.

Professors Rick Hein and Becky Abler began collaborating with LNRP in 2010, with student interns first sampling Centerville Creek (which was undergoing initial phases of restoration). From there, they added collection points in Fischer and Point Creek watersheds in 2011, Calvin and Pine in 2012, and the Little Manitowoc River in 2013, collecting over 5000 data points each summer.

Stream QualityThis last spring, two students, Catherine Hinkle and Georgia Ploederl, conducted independent research into the impact of snowmelt on area water quality in these creeks but had limited access. Only the North Branch of Centerville Creek measured high for E.Coli.

Stream Team members Mallary Schenian, Aubri Urbanek, Paige Arneson, and Chelsy Coutermarsh sampled every Monday from June through August, for pH, conductivity, turbidity, stream velocity, ammonia, and for the first time, phosphate loading. Comparing results from 2011-2015, they found the most interesting trends were from 2014 following rain events (one-half inch or greater) concerning levels of phosphates and bacteria.  Rain events raised phosphate loading significantly throughout the watersheds. All creeks were significantly above the threshold for E.coli and phosphates following a rain event. Phosphates drop back down after 24 hours but E.coli levels do not drop off quickly, even after 48 hours.

Higher levels of phosphates in the restoration zone for 2013 and 2014 may be due to the short-term impacts of removing sediment and disturbing land during the project.  However, by 2015 the phosphate levels came down and that might indicate that stream channel stabilization may be benefiting from the restoration.

Rick Hein said, “This (water quality data sampling) is one of the most fulfilling projects for our team…Becky and I get to teach our students how to collect water data and analyze the results, and ultimately explore the trends these data suggest regarding the impact we humans have on water quality in Manitowoc County.” Rick and Becky incorporate the data into all their classes, including freshman level.


Watershed Ambassadors Camp

Thanks to an annual summer program operated through the Wisconsin Maritime Museum and UW Sea Grant, Manitowoc area students, aged 12 to 17, experience five days of intensive, hands-on learning about water quality. The Watershed Ambassadors Camp draws students, many who return each year they are eligible. The ultimate goal: to create the next generation of knowledgeable stewards of our lands and waters.

Watershed Ambassador CampProgram leader Wendy Lutzke, director of education at the museum, has directed the Camp’s activities for six years.  Initially, she offered the outdoor education immersion to grades four through six. 

“Even though they loved it, I learned that the Camp is better suited to older kids,” explains Wendy. “I realized we could focus on biology and potential community service work with an older audience.  In 2012, Kelly Eskew-Vorron (formerly from Woodland Dunes) and I ran it for two weeks thanks to grant support at the time…the only drawback was we didn’t feel we could give the personal attention we desired.  Now with generous support from the FORWARD Foundation and WDNR Surface Water Grants, as well as LNRP, we began offering it for 5 days to 14-16 students.”

After Kelly changed jobs, Wendy partnered with Fisheries Specialist Titus Seilheimer of Wisconsin Sea Grant.  “He offers the scientific point of view, a perfect complement to my educational background,” Lutzke stated. ”We start midway up the watershed at Collins Marsh by looking at the stream and wetland ecology, then move downstream towards Lake Michigan, the ultimate recipient of the region’s surface and groundwater,” Seilheimer said.

Camp participantsTitus adds they always tour the Manitowoc Waste Water Treatment Plant (to the groans of the repeat students) to learn about the impacts of what we do with water in our households and lawns, industries and businesses. “This is a great opportunity to compare the similarities and differences between the natural processes we see in wetlands (Collins Marsh) to what we do with our waste in the city,” Seilheimer observed.

“We also visit the Branch River with the students where the habitat is rocky and cobbly with clear water versus the soft sediment at Mud Creek below Collins Marsh. Our strategy focuses on linking what’s happening on the land to the differences or similarities at each habitat.  We now see round gobies moving upstream from Lake Michigan to more inland locations. We see rusty crayfish everywhere. These differences between locations can really drive home the impacts that invasive species can have on the Lake and the Great Lakes system.”

“And, we have fun while learning, canoeing and exploring on the Marsh and fishing,” he emphasizes.

“It is so rewarding to see how this experience builds students’ confidence over time so they can explain exactly what is going on with our water and how what we do upstream impacts the waterways downstream and ultimately Lake Michigan,” Wendy Lutzke added. “We’re striving to help create the next generation of stewards and also push water-based careers with the other science and resource professionals the students interact with during Camp.”

Support from LNRP helped cover part of the program cost in 2014 and 2015 from our Stewardship Investment Fund and DNR River Planning Grants.


Coastal Wetland Restoration in Manitowoc

The Little Manitowoc River Partnership formed in 2012 as an affiliate of the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership (LNRP) to address restoration of a coastal wetland following an extreme storm on June 12, 2008, in the City of Manitowoc. The Little Manitowoc River, which flows into Lake Michigan, rose approximately 4-1/2 feet in less than 24 hours, reaching record levels. Its coastal wetland drained and became an exposed mud flat that later filled in with invasive species of cattails, reed canary grass, Phragmites and Japanese knotweed, inhibiting native vegetation and reducing biological diversity.

Changes before and after 2008 flood.Project partners include LNRP, City of Manitowoc, UW-Manitowoc Lakeshore Water Institute, Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed, the Lakeshore Invasive Species Management Area, the Wisconsin Waterfowl Association, Ducks Unlimited, the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and Stantec Consulting Services.

The Great Lakes coastal wetlands function as essential transition zones providing many critical habitats for fish, birds, and plant life.  Coastal wetlands also help maintain Lake Michigan’s water quality and aid in preventing erosion. This project is focused on recreation, education and conservation goals.

Conservation projects include restoring the meandering stream and shallow open water connection lost in 2008 between the Little Manitowoc River and adjacent coastal wetland along the shore of Lake Michigan.  Our goal, based on the finding in the city’s 2011 Conceptual Design Report, is to restore 38.5 acres of the Little Manitowoc River coastal wetlands (Lake Michigan to Reed Avenue) to a more historic mix of approximately 50% open-water and 50% native emergent vegetation with a flat sedge shoreline.

The partnership facilitates coordination between government agencies, organizations and residents to conserve these valuable coastal wetlands in Manitowoc.  LNRP assists with collaborative planning, outreach and securing project funding.

In 2013, 2014, and 2015, the partnership completed a habitat assessment of the entire 240-acre planned conservancy, completed three years of water quality and macro-invertebrate analysis sampling four sites on the river, completed a full topographical and hydrology analysis of the coastal wetland, produced an invasive species management plan complete with photos of invasives projected onto maps with GIS coordinates, and finished one year of bird and fish monitoring data. We also have treated Phragmites for three years with plans for follow up through an Aquatic Invasive Species grant in collaboration with Stantec Consulting Services.

Map of the vision for Little Manitowoc River ConservancyThe habitat assessment shows 15 unique habitat types within the conservancy that are described and mapped in GIS as they change from the lakeshore inland.  The conservancy will have 2500 feet of Lake Michigan Shoreline bordering the mouth of the River, with plans to enhance shorebird habitat. The City of Manitowoc is part of the Bird City Wisconsin program formed by Wisconsin Bird Conservation Initiative (WBCI), making quality shorebird habitat a project priority. The U.S. Shorebird Conservation Plan 2004 (USFWS) identifies 54 high priority shorebirds, 35 documented in the Manitowoc lakefront area. In all, an average of 215 different species of birds is observed here annually.

LNRP helped facilitate meetings with adjacent landowners in August and September of 2015 and has launched the process of further developing the conceptual restoration plan into a permit-ready engineered design. Stay tuned for further information on this important wetland restoration project. 


Loving the Ledge:  Niagara Escarpment Resource Network’s  News

Niagara Escarpment Resource NetworkOur program partner, the Niagara Escarpment Resource Network (NERN), is currently immersed in re-invigorating its steering committee to offer engaging Waters of the Ledge/Ledge Tours and other events for the upcoming months and into 2016.

Founded in 1998, NERN has accomplished growing awareness of the value of our geological feature that connects our region of Wisconsin with Ontario, Michigan and all the way to New York State, through its events and outreach activities.  Most recently, they have joined forces with our Canadian partners in Tobermory, Ontario where they host an annual Sources of Knowledge Forum.  NERN is planning to offer a Wisconsin gathering in the coming years to complement these international events.

Additionally, watch for an opportunity to join NERN’s “Breaking Bread in the Holy Land” Tour, being set for mid-December, 2015, by coach bus.  This special holiday tour will treat participants to an up close examination of some of the oldest and most historic churches in Calumet and Manitowoc Counties, followed by a hearty meal at an area supper club.  We’re hoping to offer a second tour in the summer of 2016 as well. Stay tuned for final details and registration information!

Other tours being planned for 2016 include the Door County Coastal Islands, Menominee Gorge & Falls, snowshoe and kayak/canoe paddles of the Killsnake Wildlife Area in winter and summer.

Lastly, NERN is looking to expand its steering committee!  If you have an interest and passion in the Escarpment and would like to get involved, contact Eric Fowle at


Regional Conservation Groups Exploring Collaboration with LNRP

Jim Kettler and Sherrill Anderson of LNRP’s staff met mid-summer with members of Glacial Lakes Conservancy (GLC) and the Sheboygan River Basin Partnership (SRBP) to initiate and discuss ways to collaborate to extend our reach and effectiveness. LNRP has a service contract with SRBP to help them with capacity building and outreach including the SRBP newsletter

Glacial Lakes ConservancyGLC’s mission is to preserve and manage lands as part of the statewide network of land trusts.  SRBP is project focused and offers technical expertise, emerging from the same basin groups in the 1990s as LNRP. LNRP and the executive team at SRBP would like to create a team effort with GLC to have a greater voice and impact on resource and quality of life issues. 

Initiating positive best management practices and farmer-led watershed councils was the focus of the Lake Michigan Stakeholders’ second annual Lake Michigan Day at UW-Manitowoc in August. 

Sheboygan River Basin PartnershipGLC is involved with annual monitoring of its conservation properties.  The largest preserve is being negotiated with the Schuckardt Property collaboration to develop a long-term management plan and continued focus on Willow Creek. The 163-acre parcel is similar to the Sauk Creek Preserve that the Ozaukee Washington Land Trust created that also lies within an urban corridor. 

We’re collectively looking at planning a celebratory educational event -- a collaborative effort that would focus on conservation priorities and celebrate the collective works of Glacial Lakes Conservancy, the Sheboygan River Basin Partnership, and the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership.

A follow-up meeting will be scheduled soon.


Proposed Wisconsin – Lake Michigan National Marine Sanctuary Approved!

(Map and text excerpted from the Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)

It’s official: President Obama recently announced approval of two National Marine Sanctuaries, including Wisconsin-Lake Michigan! For the first time since 2001, NOAA announced its intent to designate new sanctuaries under the National Marine Sanctuaries Act and asked for public input on protecting Wisconsin-Lake Michigan’s maritime heritage resources.

Marine Sanctuary Map“Wisconsin-Lake Michigan is an 875 square mile area of Lake Michigan with waters extending from Port Washington to Two Rivers. The state of Wisconsin nominated this area as a national marine sanctuary through the Sanctuary Nomination Process with broad community support. (It) encompasses historic shipwrecks of national significance that merit the additional management authority of the National Marine Sanctuaries Act. The nominated area contains an extraordinary collection of 39 known shipwrecks, 15 of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.”

“Fifteen of the known shipwrecks are essentially intact and three vessels possess standing masts – a rarity in the Great Lakes. The area also includes Wisconsin’s two oldest known shipwrecks. Archival and archaeological research indicates that the proposed sanctuary also includes 123 reported vessel losses.”

The Sanctuary Designation Process has four steps: Scoping, Sanctuary Proposal, Public Review, and Sanctuary Designation. Before the designation becomes effective, the Governor reviews the documents and Congress may review them as well.

“In December 2014, the state of Wisconsin submitted a nomination to be added to NOAA’s inventory of places to consider as national marine sanctuaries.  The nomination is focused on protecting and interpreting the nationally significant collection of shipwrecks, fostering partnerships with education and research partners, and increasing opportunities for tourism and economic development.”

“It was endorsed by a diverse coalition of organizations and individuals at local, state, regional and national levels (including) elected officials, historical societies, businesses, museums, and environmental, recreational, conservation, fishing, tourism and educational groups.”  For more information, go to


Fall 2015

Soar on the Shore
Soar on the Shore Kite Aerial Kite Eye View Photography picture with a GoPro camera @ 300' above the beach.

News from LNRP

Restore the Shore Receives Significant Funding

Friend Group Updates

Restore the Shore Receives Significant Funding

The lands and waters of the Lakeshore recently received a boost of financial support when LNRP was awarded two grants for our Restore the Shore efforts. Freshwater Future and the USFWS Coastal Program contributed to our plans for invasive species management and restorative planting at Fischer Creek Park and Hika Park in southern Manitowoc County as well as supporting the efforts of our watershed partners.

Restore the Shore

Freshwater Future contributed $1,500 to support additional enhancements to the kayak launch that the Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed installed at Lower Schuette Park on the Manitowoc River (see related story in this issue) and our work in restoring the coastal wetland of the Little Manitowoc River.

The USFWS contributed $25,000 for habitat enhancements for migratory birds on the Lake Michigan shoreline.  The grant is in collaboration with the Woodland Dunes Nature Center in Two Rivers who received an additional $25,000.

This funding is designed to support the environmental community in the Great Lakes and protect and restore water quality and natural habitats in the Lake Michigan basin. 


Friend Group Updates

Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed Activities Support Our Waters!

Dozens of area volunteers gathered to participate in the statewide AIS Bridge Snapshot Day the end of August. They searched for invasive species that threaten recreation and the health of our waters by taking photos and documenting their observations of each location. This information helps the River Alliance of Wisconsin refine their understanding of where these invasives have been spotted and where to best target outreach efforts such as signage and education events.

Volunteers – young and old alike – gathered on September 19 to help clean the Lake Michigan beaches in Manitowoc

In September, the group collected 296 pounds of trash on the beaches of Manitowoc at the 4th annual Fall Beach Clean-Up in Manitowoc. Over 100 people from the communities in Manitowoc County cleaned eight beaches. The volunteers also expressed their love for the lake and its’ beaches in the “#ILoveTheGreatLakes because” campaign, sponsored by the Alliance of the Great Lakes. 

On October 14, groundwater specialist Kevin Masarik from the Center for Watershed Science and Education, UW-Stevens Point and UW-Extension, discussed the basics surrounding groundwater issues from across the state and specifically Manitowoc County at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc.  His presentation emphasized the importance of clean water and growing need to protect this precious resource from contamination and overuse.

Kayak Launch Gets Installed

The Manitowoc Parks Department installed a new kayak launch at Lower Schuette Park Thursday, October 22.  The launch will be open for use for a couple of weeks before being taken back down for the winter, said Chad Scheinoha, operations division manager of the Parks Department.

"We'll watch the weather and leave it in as long as we can before taking it out for the winter," Scheinoha added. "It'll be back in again once spring hits next year."

The launch was funded, in part, by grant money received through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program. Donations from the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership and the Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed funded the rest of the project.  The launch is handicapped accessible.

Friends of Crescent Beach Making Big Splash in Algoma

Dozens of colorful flying objects filled the skies in Algoma in August with the Friends of Crescent Beach (FOCB) launching the first annual Soar on the Shore.  Kites of all shapes flew in the perfectly windy sky, attracting nearly 1,000 people to the shores of Lake Michigan.

In September, the FOCB joined nearly 700,000 volunteers worldwide for the largest global effort to clean up local shorelines, coastal areas, parks and neighborhoods.  In 2014, they eliminated 16 million pounds of trash from 91 countries.  The friends group in Algoma collected over 14 pounds!

Three of our volunteers chat with a visitor to the beach.  We have found that beach clean-up days also provide a good opportunity to interact with the public to spread the word about our group and the reasons we exist.

The Bank of Luxemburg held their 8th Annual Algoma Cookout and chose the FOCB as recipient of the proceeds. The group is thankful for all the support, raising nearly $1000.

Algoma Cookout proceeds were awarded to the Friends of Crescent Beach

If you are lucky enough to enjoy this beautiful beach, you will also find three decoy coyotes strategically placed on the beach to deter gulls and terns. These real-looking coyotes have become a favorite photo op for beach visitors. You may also see lots of dogs on the beach (real ones, not decoys) with the 2015 Dog Photo Contest underway. Watch out for the shutterbugs!

With annual beach walks being conducted, and goals for 2015/2016 being drafted, the group hopes to further develop group structure and leadership, fundraising, and educational and advocacy opportunities. If you would like to get involved please email.

Friends of the Branch River (FOBR) Plan 2016 Activities

The Princess and the Frog

The Board of Directors met on October 26 to outline plans for 2016.  A focus on engaging youth continues to be a primary theme with programs encouraging parents and their children to explore the natural wonder of the Branch River Watershed.  Events will include Randy Korb’s Fun with Frogs, an entertaining and educating live demo that allows kids to handle many of Wisconsin’s frog and salamander species. Another year of ‘Helping Hands for the Dodge Nature Preserve’ is also planned with activities designed to engage kids in the natural history of this protected property that runs along the Branch River. The Summer Picnic will again provide education activities for young people as well as adults.  The group is also looking for volunteers that live in the watershed to help with member management, event logistics, and fundraising.  If you are interested please contact Tom Ward

Friends of Hika Bay Planting for Beneficial Insects and Other News

On September 26, a small but dedicated group of volunteers gathered at Hika Shores in Cleveland (Wis.) to cultivate the soil and plant a mix of wildflower seeds to attract bees and other beneficial insects.  We were pleased to find that the trees planted last spring and fall are thriving, along with the sedges planted in the swale this spring. 

Friends of Hika Bay

On September 25, a group of people touring East Central Wisconsin’s autumn beauty visited the Hika Bay restoration project. They caravanned to caves in Calumet County, ghost towns, and collected fossils along the way before learning about the restoration of Centerville Creek and Hika Shores. 

As the article in this issue reports, student intern data collected in the restoration site suggests optimism for the water quality in Centerville Creek and Hika Shores!  We thank the student interns at UW-Manitowoc for their dedication in sampling area creeks these last several years and are impressed at the quality and depth of their presentations each October to the community.

Friends of the Twin Rivers Looking for Additional Leadership

Friends of the Twin Rivers Watershed

The Friends of the Twin Rivers (FOTR) is putting out a call for persons interested in providing leadership and capacity for the group. FOTR seeks to connect the people to the rivers to support awareness, enhancement, and enjoyment of the land, water, and other natural resources. These natural assets are vital to our history, economy, recreational activities and quality of life.

FOTR uses an integrated, watershed-based planning and decision-making process to accomplish their goals. The group encourages those groups and individuals having an interest or ‘stake’ in conservation in the East and West Twin River Basins to actively participate in the FOTR by inventorying water quality concerns, prioritize concerns, identifying strategies to achieve water quality objectives, and providing a forum for information sharing and networking through community outreach and events. Each year the group creates an annual FOTR “Action Plan” to guide activities, including goals and objectives.

The group leader would join the LNRP Board and act as the group liaison. If interested, please contact Jenn Hansmann at



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Friends of Hika Bay have placed a bench on the cliff side at Fischer Creek Park.  The bench has spectacular views of Lake Michigan!


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