Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership, Inc.

Inside This Issue

LNRP Closing a Good Year for 2016

Lakeshore CurrentsAs Thanksgiving quickly approaches, we are grateful to our supporters and funders helping grow our program partners and regional networks, strengthening the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership’s mission of Creating Community and Stewardship from the Ledge to the Lakeshore.

On September 24, we had a record crowd at our annual Barn Dance Chautauqua with more than 300 people representing all age groups from near and far joining our hosts at the Saxon Homestead Farm in Cleveland (WI). We thank our many sponsors, speakers, and talented chefs and their crews for the fantastic array of local fare. Mark your calendars for September 16, 2017 to hear more about the Future of Farming.

Then, just a few weeks later on October 12, the Lakeshore Water Institute at UW-Manitowoc hosted the 2016 Water Summit with the student interns and Drs. Rebecca Abler and Rick Hein presenting their findings from stream testing at six Manitowoc County creeks. Those of us in the audience were inspired by their devoted work collecting weekly water quality data no matter what the weather conditions, and their precision in analyzing the thousands of data points. Biggest surprise was the public announcement of a significant gift from the West Foundation at the Benefactor level ($100,000-250,000), to support the continued work of the LWI student interns. This gift, one of two received, was the largest single endowment ever received by the UW-Manitowoc Foundation. The other gift will support the General Endowment for Scholarships at the two-year campus.

We are witnessing a steady acceleration in stakeholder engagement in water quality here in our region, with initiatives bringing together citizens, agency staff, and landowners and agricultural operators for constructive engagement to improve water quality. The Wisconsin Agricultural Education Center is breaking ground in Newton. The first Phosphorus trade agreement in the Great Lakes US side was recently signed in Green Bay. We are moving closer to launching a TMDL (Total Maximum Daily Load) study of the Manitowoc River watershed. All these activities give us hope as collaborations grow and prosper.

We invite you to explore this exciting news in this and future issues of The Source as these stories evolve.  As 2016 rushes to a close, we wish you and your families a warm holiday season.

Yours in service to our lands and waters,

Jim Kettler, Executive Director

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LNRP Celebrates Lake Michigan and Wisconsin’s Rural Heritage!

The Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership planned and sponsored two educational and interactive events in August and September with support from strong organizing committees of local, regional and statewide partners.

Lake Michigan StakeholdersOn Friday, August 12, more than 100 participants honored Lake Michigan at the 3rd annual Lake Michigan Day and Champions of Conservation Awards program, hosted this year by the Wisconsin Maritime Museum in Manitowoc. An engaging panel of speakers followed a welcome by LNRP Executive Director Jim Kettler and WMM Director and CEO Rolf Johnson. Of special note were keynote speakers Kim Marotta, director of sustainability at Miller-Coors, and Todd Ambs, director of Healing Our Waters coalition.

After lunch, the 2016 Lake Michigan Champions of Conservation received their awards from Vicki Elkin, director of the Fund for Lake Michigan. John Kennedy from NEW Water was honored as an individual champion, Stantec Consulting Services was awarded as the business champion, Lakeshore Tae Kwon Do from Manitowoc received an award as the community organization champion, and Port Washington Mayor Tom Mlada received an honorary policy maker award due to his outstanding support and active engagement with projects benefitting Lake Michigan and the area’s quality of life.

Barn Dance Hosts Karl and Liz Klessig welcoming attendeesThen, six weeks later with our collaborators Partnering for Progress, a standing room-only crowd filled the Saxon Homestead Farm’s historic barn for our 7th Annual Barn Dance Chautauqua on September 24. Under clear blue sunny skies, more than 300 guests and volunteers celebrated Wisconsin farms, locally sourced food and healthy urban and rural communities.

This year featured the Future of Farming with keynote speaker Dick Cates, director of the School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers, and additional presentations by Julie Mauer, president, and Melissa Bender, executive director, of the soon-to-be-built Wisconsin Agricultural Education Center in Newton.

Organizers thank our many sponsors and volunteers for making our fun-filled fundraiser so successful. Proceeds benefit LNRP, Gathering Waters, and the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers. Mark your calendars for next year’s celebration, Saturday, September 16. Hope to see you there!

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2016 Water Summit: Another Successful Year of Stream Sampling in Manitowoc County

The dedicated biology student interns at UW-Manitowoc enthusiastically carry on annual water testing with a partnership initiated in 2009 that earned LNRP, the university and the Friends of Hika Bay, the UW Chancellor’s Wisconsin Idea Award in 2012. This successful program helped us launch the Lakeshore Water Institute in 2014 and is growing to deal with ongoing water quality issues in Manitowoc County and our region.

The team of citizens, academia and LNRP put together an effective program creating opportunities for UW-Manitowoc students to get hands-on experience conducting real-life research and engaging in community-based action plans. These student interns collect weekly measurements to get an overall picture of the health of the streams and rivers in Manitowoc County. Testing involves measuring the pH, temperature, flow, clarity, conductivity, and presence of dissolved oxygen, ammonia, phosphorus and E.Coli bacteria. They also test following rain events greater than one half inch. They present their findings each fall to the community at the annual summit.

Water Summit attendeesAt this year’s Water Summit held on October 12, interns Chelsy Coutermarsh, Aubri Urbanek, Paige Arneson, Catherine Hinkle and Abby Adams presented their data stories and the emerging trends in the region’s water quality. They said increases in phosphorus and E.Coli in many of the streams continue to call for more research into the causes and anomalies where water clarity is not impacted. Due to the change in water levels, some sampling sites were not accessible. Abby said the Union South site showed higher ammonia and phosphate levels coming from fertilizers.

Catherine Hinkle, a registered dietitian, returned to college in her late 40s and ventured into a zoology class taught by Dr. Rick Hein, one of the LWI leaders along with Dr. Becky Abler. Then, she got in on the summer internship and is now majoring in biology and environmental science. She said that first summer in 2015, she helped out and got hooked so it’s now become her passion.

“I helped with snowmelt sampling the last two years,” Catherine said. “We used to drink water right out of the creeks and now, from what we found, I won’t even let my dog drink that polluted water. What a surprise that even if it looks clear, it’s not safe to drink. My 94-year-old grandmother who was a farmer can’t believe the water quality today. I’ll be 53 when I graduate and I plan to do this as long as I can climb up a creek bed. I tell everyone I know and run into the situation with water quality.”

Newest intern Abby Adams heard about the LWI intern program through another intern, Aubri Urbanek, and had never heard of stream sampling until this year. She’s now majoring in biology with a conservation emphasis and has grown interested in how farm animals and sewage are impacting water quality.

“I didn’t know anything about this before I began sampling this year,” Abby commented. “I find before and after storm events most interesting. Afterwards, E.Coli levels drop dramatically within 24 hours and Cladophora (a stinky algae) as well. I think it’s cool to talk to folks who stop by when we’re sampling and tell them about it. One guy told me he saw white fluffy clouds of phosphorus coming down the stream.”

The pair of professors involved from the beginning can’t say enough about how proud they are of their students. Becky Abler enthused, “We are so proud of these interns who continue to grow in their questions of why and how we see these changes in water quality.” Rick Hein added, “Our interns are such a pleasure to work with and are becoming dedicated professionals.”

We at LNRP are grateful to their vision and perseverance to draw attention to and collect and analyze hundreds of thousands data points to give us an accurate picture of what’s in our surface waters as well as infusing their students with a passion to make a difference and pursue careers in the sciences. Now, with the two generous gifts to the UW-Manitowoc Foundation, we are collectively breathing a sigh of relief their work will continue into the future.

Friends of Hika Bay

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LNRP Board Welcomes Mickey Judkins

Mickey currently lives in Eau Claire with her husband Jeff Rochon, a Manitowoc native. For the past 30 years, she has been CEO of Details, Fine Apparel and Accessories in Eau Claire. She is also a partner in Rochon Investments and has developed three Lake Michigan projects in Manitowoc County, two of which are conservancy subdivisions. Concerns over deteriorating water quality led Mickey to get involved with LNRP efforts to address the issue.

Mickey JudkinsMickey served in Governor Doyle’s administration as the Administrator of the Global Ventures Division of the Commerce Department, where she was responsible for attracting investments to Wisconsin from around the world. While working in all industries, Mickey focused on Wisconsin’s high potential areas of biotechnology, information systems, sustainable energy, water technology, advanced manufacturing and agriculture. She accompanied Governor Doyle to Israel for the World Water Summit.

Mickey has served on more than 20 boards, currently as the President of the Pine Creek Conservancy Landowners Association, Vice President of Pine Creek Conservancy Land Trust, member of the Water Street Business Improvement District, and on Business Forward’s Local Leadership Council in Washington D.C. She recently attended the White House Water Summit.

Mickey loves to garden and is known for her extensive collection of heirloom tomatoes.  LNRP is excited to have Mickey as our newest board member!

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Lake Michigan Stakeholders Hold Engaging Fall Member Meeting

Lake Michigan StakeholdersOn October 20, LMS hosted their Fall Member Meeting in Baileys Harbor in Door County amid the fall color splendor. Natural resources managers, agency representatives, and interested citizens explored a number of community-led conservation initiatives.

Morning speakers focused on three different clusters. DNR Wildlife Biologist Joe Henry and Steve Leonard, executive director of The Ridges Sanctuary, focused on the high biodiversity of its ridge swale community in Door County with some of the most in Wisconsin. The second cluster featured Door County Invasive Species Team Coordinator Kari Hagenow, and Land and Water Conservation Department staff member Krista Lutzke, speaking on Phragmites control and engaging municipalities and private landowners in these efforts. The third and final cluster featured Bob Bultman and the Door County Forest Recovery Project and Brian Forest, Land Manager at The Ridges Sanctuary and the comprehensive orchid research being conducted on-site. The Ridges Sanctuary is home to 29 different species of rare orchids!

Fall meeting taken outdoorsThe afternoon took participants outdoors for a choice of two field trips led by citizen conservationists. The Clark Lake Advancement Association is a group of landowners on Door County’s second largest lake that embodies the spirit of volunteerism to protect this amazing resource for future generations. Citizen Scientists conduct surveys, perform monitoring and contribute to countless conservation efforts along the shorelines and across its 865 acres of surface water. Paul Schumacher and The Ridges Sanctuary’s Brian Forest led a hike through the Logan Creek State Natural Area and an ancient forest to the shoreline of Clark Lake, where they discussed the geology, how glaciers impacted the area, invasive species control, restoration of fish habitat, watershed studies, and many other conservation efforts taken up by tireless volunteers. The lucky participants even got to spot some wild Ridges’ volunteers in their natural habitat taking care of the forest.

The other field trip explored an innovative approach to creating fish and wildlife habitat along the shoreline of Kangaroo Lake. It’s called the “Fish Sticks” approach and involves anchoring recently cut whole trees in shallow water off the shore to create feeding, spawning and resting areas for fish and other animals in the lake. The discussion at the site was in the context of a larger suite of coordinated conservation activities by several non-profit organizations, notably the Kangaroo Lake Association, and government agencies from federal to local levels to protect and restore the aquatic health of Kangaroo Lake.

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Bur Oak Conservancy and Outdoor Laboratory

In 2005, the Garton family deeded 35 acres of land along the Pigeon River at the northeast corner of County Road J and Rangeline Road in the Town of Sheboygan to the Maywood Environmental Park and the City of Sheboygan. The land was set aside to protect it from development through the Glacial Lakes Conservancy. With Maywood and Glacial Lakes Conservancy serving as the property’s stewards, the land has been deemed the Bur Oak Conservancy and Outdoor Laboratory, and will provide environmental education and research opportunities.

Boardwalk built for trailA master plan, adopted in 2014, serves to guide enhancing the property’s educational potential through trail access, invasive species removal, native plantings, research projects, and more. In 2015, volunteers began intensive work removing invasive species to create a perimeter trail. A major hurdle was a defunct tile line in the northwest corner of the property. This perpetually wet area was spanned with a 130’ boardwalk at the end of last year. 

With a 2016 grant from LNRP, volunteers will remove even more honeysuckle and buckthorn to complete the trail route.  Another section of boardwalk and two small bridges will be worked on this fall and winter to link all sections of the perimeter trail, opening access for educational programs and research projects. 

With the property containing a beautiful beech forest, pine plantation, meadow, and floodplain, the 35 acres are well diversified. Several ephemeral ponds exist, providing good habitat for breeding frogs, toads and salamanders. In 2008, blue spotted salamanders were discovered in one of these ephemeral ponds, evidence of a quality habitat. The property’s namesake Bur Oak requires three people with outstretched arms touching fingertips to encircle this ancient specimen. Upon several recent visits, great-horned owls have made their presence known. Undoubtedly, as work continues there, new discoveries like these will reveal themselves and provide enormous environmental education and research opportunities for generations to come.

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Ledge Wars - A Culinary Experience a Great Event

Culinary Chefs from Fox Valley Technical CollegeOn Friday, October 7, members and supporters of the Niagara Escarpment Resource Network were entertained at a special event at the Fox Valley Technical College near Appleton in Grand Chute. Their Culinary Arts and Hospitality Program (CAHP) is home to the Midwest’s only ‘kitchen stadium’ where participants watched student chefs compete in two rounds while being served a four course meal paired with Wisconsin Ledge AVA wines from Trout Springs Winery.

WBAY’s engaging Bill Jartz entertained us throughout the evening, calling on various organization leaders to talk about their programs and purpose. CAHP Chefs RC Schroeder, Mike Balistrieri and Scott Finley welcomed us and explained how the competition would unfold.

Bill JartzThree student chefs competed in the first thirty-minute round creating an appetizer from an array of ingredients. Large video screens captured the students’ every move of the creative process. After judges Eric Fowle, NERN co-founder; Jim Kettler, LNRP executive director; and Steve DeBaker, owner with wife Andrea of Trout Springs Winery, tasted and rated the three appetizers, the two women went on to the second round.

Here the stakes were higher as Bill Jartz surprised the two competitors with TSW’s live trout along with the other ingredients to create an entrée. Neither student had ever killed a fish before, and their shock was palpable. They still managed to create beautiful, delicious results and the vote was just one vote shy of being a tie.

We got to experience a fantastic meal and witness the amazing talents of the student chefs and their instructors in a state-of-the-art facility. The instructors brought in the other student chefs who had prepared and served our dinner. We all agreed it was an evening well spent and look forward to collaborating with FVTC’s culinary program again in the future.

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Last Ledge Tour of 2016 Fun and Engaging

Niagara Escarpment Resource NetworkThe last Niagara Escarpment Resource Network 2016 “Ledge Tour,” on Sunday, October 9, highlighted the geology of Dodge County. Joanne Kluessendorf, geologist and director of the Weis Earth Science Museum in Menasha, led a group by caravan to Ledge Park, the Neda Iron Mine area, Mayville Limestone Quarry area, and the Friends of Horicon Marsh Education & Visitors Center.

At Ledge Park, Joanne shared stories of ancient seas that yielded the rocks of the Niagara Escarpment, how an escarpment forms, and examined karst features at the top of the ledge. At the edge of Horicon Marsh, she explained how glaciers shaped much of the landscape, creating the marsh and famous drumlin fields of Dodge County. At the Neda iron mine area, they learned about the history of lime burning and iron mining and examined iron ore up-close. At the end of the tour, they visited the Iron Gallery at the Mayville Limestone School Museum with a comprehensive history of the local iron industry and the first item ever cast from Neda iron ore.

Ledge Tour participants in front of the mammoth sculpture at the Friends of Horicon Marsh Education and Visitors Center. Photo by Beth JohnsonAfter the tour, participant Andy Holman said, “I have been to the Horicon Marsh area many times and hiked different parts of the escarpment in that area. Thanks to the tour I now have a much better understanding of the geology that created both. It was also very interesting to learn about the many mining activities that have now come and gone in the area.”

Tour enthusiast Bob Root added, “Having previously visited a few Escarpment sites in Dodge County on my own, I appreciated how much Joanne widened my perspective on the geologic history there. When you heft a piece of dolomite or look at a chunk of iron ore close up after standing on the edge of the escarpment and looking out across Horicon Marsh, it helps you balance the immediate and the particular with enormous gaps of time and the complications of tectonic space and glacial movement. It was a very rewarding outing.”

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Fall 2016

Friend Group Updates

Friends of the Twin Rivers Combines Education and Clean Up Efforts

FOTR, our friend group based out of Woodland Dunes Nature Center and Preserve in Two Rivers, supported several projects over the last few months. Local Girl Scout Troop 8525 of fourth graders cleaned up the East Twin River in Mishicot, working towards a conservation badge. Team leader Betsy Galbraith discussed coastal habitats and Lake Michigan as part of the river clean-up.

Girl Scout Troop 8525 at the East Twin River

The volunteers also supported habitat enhancement of the Mishicot School Forest. This project focused on education, with continued planning underway for habitat restoration, supported by students, teachers and community members in the Mishicot School District. They will create educational signage and displays to help people learn about the fish, wildlife and native ecosystems of Northeastern Wisconsin; widen and manage trails to allow for safe and accessible use for the entire community; engage students and the community for support; restore the trail’s habitat quality by controlling invasive species (including buckthorn, autumn olive and garlic mustard); and restore native plant growth including trees, vegetation and pollinators.

In association with FOTR, Woodland Dunes was approached to become a partner in developing a canoe/kayak trail within the city of Two Rivers. A floating dock and interpretive sign at the end of Woodland Dunes’ boardwalk on the West Twin River will provide easy docking for canoers and kayakers and encourage hiking, birding, exploring and relaxing on the property. This initiative was designed to leverage support for additional attractive and informative signage to highlight the Two Rivers area’s parks, shops, restaurants and additional dock sites throughout the East and West Twin Rivers, with a horseshoe-shaped trail connecting them.

Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed Continue Improving Lake Michigan

The Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed have provided a steady flow of service to their community over the past four years. With more than 150 members, they have impacted all 11 Manitowoc County beaches, not including the Manitowoc River. Their volunteers have collected more than 4,564 pounds of trash twice a year with beach and river clean ups. Their volunteer time has surpassed 1,700 working hours.

This past September, many volunteers came out to show their love for  Lake Michigan and to celebrate 25 years of Great Lakes clean ups with the Alliance for the Great Lakes. On a single beach, they removed 60 pounds of litter alone!

25 years of great lakes love

The group also enjoyed their first moonlight paddle down the Manitowoc River on September 16. “It was great to get in my kayak and paddle at night under the moonlight,” said one volunteer. Paddlers used the new kayak launch installed and dedicated at Lower Schuette Park, the group’s adopted park, this past spring.

Friends of Crescent Beach Educate Algoma Community in Many Ways

To support the Friends of Crescent Beach’s many community projects, Algoma Utilities/WPPI awarded their 2016 economic development grant to the group. This summer, volunteers participated in the Algoma Tall Ship Sneak Peek event, providing a children’s play area on Crescent Beach featuring a treasure chest of toys and a pirate ship constructed by an Algoma Destination Imagination team. 

Soar on the Shore

In August, the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative grant helped to install infiltration basins, rain gardens and permeable pavement at Crescent Beach that will prevent more than 110,000 gallons of untreated runoff from reaching Lake Michigan.   

Their 2nd annual Soar on the Shore event was a success, despite challenging weather patterns. They featured kites, food, raffles and a terrific beach mosaic-making activity. On September 16, 110 Algoma 3rd and 4th graders and their teachers helped clean up Crescent Beach. Efforts are progressing to add improved beach signage to provide beach-goers with better information and the group plans to treat and remove invasive species there next summer as well.

Friends of the Branch River Watershed Host Day at Lincoln Park Zoo

FOBR offered a fun day Wednesday, August 10 at Lincoln Park Zoo in Manitowoc with more than 50 participants. The group rented Cabin 2, hosting children’s activities, sharing past event pictures and providing a large array of food, beverages and desserts.

Lincoln Park Zoo

The day focused on fun-filled activities, holding a morning zoo tour and an afternoon program in the Education Center, both enjoyed by kids and adults. The mountain lion watched a group of kids through the “stump window” and they watched the bear get fed lunch. Vicki Rathsack, Curator of Education at the Zoo, offered kids an up close and personal experience with critters from spiders to the beautiful tortoise, the latter who slowly meandered around the room during her program.

Sheboygan River Basin Partnership Healing the River

SRBP has launched the Raising Awareness of a River that is Healing project, essential to building continued community awareness and stewardship surrounding the substantial continuing work to restore the Sheboygan River. 

In late 2016, the group took further steps toward completing renewal projects and initiatives. They identified potential points of entry and exit for additional signage along the river bank. The project lead has made recommendations as to location and content from signage installed previously in conjunction with restoration activities. They’re using existing photos and design so the new signage will complement those in place.

Sheboygan River Basin

The group has researched similar project models of river mapping in surrounding areas, including Manitowoc, Milwaukee, Madison and La Crosse, by comparing and contrasting design, style and content of printed and electronic information. SRBP has also recently updated their website, making it mobile ready and more accessible to accommodate the river maps once they’re complete. Board members have gone through training so they can update the new website consistently and frequently after the river maps are in place.

Little Manitowoc Coastal Wetland Restoration Project Awaits Federal and State Approval

The Little Manitowoc River Partnership (LMRP) has developed a complete habitat assessment of the wetlands in the lower reaches of the Little Manitowoc that quantifies existing wetland impairments and establishes benchmark water quality, avian and fish analysis. The habitat analysis identifies 15 unique habitat types in the project area.

Little Manitowoc River Partnership

LMRP has collected four consecutive years of water quality data from 2013 to present.  The group has also established benchmark data for avian species completing both a marsh bird survey and songbird survey in spring 2015 and repeated in 2016.  LMRP collaborated with UW Sea Grant to perform fish surveys in 2015 and repeated sampling in 2016.

In collaboration with the Lakeshore Invasive Species Management Area (LISMA), they completed a full invasive species management plan in 2015 and have treated Phragmites for three years with final treatment in October 2015. 

A fully engineered design has been completed for the primary coastal wetland restoration and a habitat enhancement will create a beneficial use of the dredged material at a nearby park. Landowners have been engaged and the three with land within the proposed river channel have received a temporary construction easement. The permanent construction easement will be held by the City of Manitowoc. The project is now in the permitting phase with the Wisconsin DNR and Army Corps of Engineers.

Coastal wetland reconstruction is projected to begin in late spring, early summer 2017.

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