Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership, Inc.

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Lakeshore Currents - LNRP in Transition

Lakeshore Currents

It is with bittersweet emotions that LNRP says good-bye to our long-term friend and Board President Chris Goebel. As we reported in our Spring newsletter, Chris and his wife Marggie are heading to Virginia to be closer to their grandchildren who eagerly await their arrival.

However, we announce with great confidence our new President and Vice President. John Kirsch will move from Vice President to President, and Chris Olson will add the Vice Presidency to his Development Committee Coordinator role.

In-coming President John Kirsch, out-going President Chris Goebel and newly elected Vice President Chris OlsonJohn Kirsch was born and raised in West Bend and has lived in Cleveland (Wis.) since 1981.  In his professional capacity, he has designed buildings throughout the US for a wide range of clients with more than 30 years experience in Building Design, Project Management and Computerized Building Information Modeling.  As an engaged citizen, John has enjoyed more than five terms as Trustee for the Village of Cleveland.  His duties have included Plan Commission Chairman and member, Parks Committee Chairman and Human Resources Chairman. He also served on the Village of Cleveland and Town of Centerville joint planning committee. Both as citizen and elected official, he promoted and was instrumental in preserving the Fischer Creek Conservation Area, Point Creek Conservation Area, Veterans Park Conservation Area and most recently the restoration and enhancement of Centerville Creek and Hika Park.

Chris Olson came from Milwaukee, graduated from UW-Stevens Point, and now resides and works with wastewater and water quality issues in Door County.  Despite his formal education and nearly 20 years’ experience regulating septic systems, he learned the real work is about people and relationships.  This year, Chris took on the role as coordinator of the LNRP Development Committee, helping facilitate LNRP’s efforts to build capacity for each of its regional networks and local partners.  Chris has also been instrumental in helping coordinate the annual Sustainable Living Fair in Door County. 

Both John and Chris bring a passion and commitment to LNRP that instill confidence in continuing to fulfill our mission of “cultivating community and stewardship from the Ledge to the Lakeshore.”

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


Second Annual Lake Michigan Day a Huge Success

Lake Michigan DayA diverse audience of more than 90 Lake Michigan Stakeholders and policymakers joined us on August 14 at UW-Manitowoc’s Lakeshore Water Institute for our second annual Lake Michigan Day to showcase opportunities for continued restoration and protection of this vital resource and the broader Great Lakes region, and explore the challenges we face. 

This year’s day-long gathering celebrated and explored our region’s agricultural accomplishments in and around Lake Michigan. Following Dick Cates discussing our state’s rich heritage of a land ethic, a panel of engaging speakers presented an array of projects throughout Wisconsin exploring win-win opportunities for landowners and farmers.

2015 Champions of Conservation (from left to right): Will Wawrzyn, Congressman Reid Ribble, Brian Russart, and representatives of the Cat Island Advisory Committee Vicky Harris, Gary Van Vreede, and Janet SmithJohn Nelson and Steve Richter, The Nature Conservancy, described projects in the Pecatonica and Sheboygan River Basins. Dave Taylor featured the Madison Metropolitan Sewerage District’s innovative effort Yahara WIN, the first in Wisconsin to test the watershed adaptive management approach to reduce phosphorus. Panelists Timm and Brad Johnson showed a short film and discussed the farmer-led watershed council on Horse Creek near the Minnesota border, part of the larger St. Croix watershed. Peg Kohring, Midwest Regional Director for The Conservation Fund, spoke about Milwaukee’s successful Greenseams program and the emerging Working Soils project.

We celebrated and honored our 2015 Lake Michigan Champions of Conservation over lunch. Brian Russart, Milwaukee County Parks Natural Areas Coordinator, and retired DNR senior fisheries biologist, Will Wawrzyn, received awards as individuals. The Cat Island Advisory Committee received an award as an organization for its 40-year effort to restore this unique chain of islands in the bay of Green Bay. US Congressman Reid Ribble was honored for his bi-partisan efforts to be a conservation bridge-builder.

Panel of experts from around the State present the benefits of community partnerships to an engaged audience at Lake Michigan DayAn afternoon tour of the Grotegut Family Dairy, a local farm operation in Newton (southern Manitowoc County), showcased best management practices and innovative management strategies located in southern Manitowoc County.

Event organizers representing LNRP, The Nature Conservancy, Fund for Lake Michigan, Wisconsin Coastal Management Program/NOAA, and Gathering Waters are grateful to all speakers and contributors, as well as Dean Charles Clark and the staff at UW-Manitowoc for making this year’s event so successful. Mark your 2016 calendars for the 2nd Friday in August!


Tale of Two Peninsulas by Roger Kuhns

Life on the Ledge of the Great ArcBoth Wisconsin’s Door and Ontario’s Bruce Peninsulas are kin in environmental, geologic, economic and community aspects across the tops of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. A group of Wisconsinites recently journeyed north to Tobermory, Ontario, to participate in the Bruce Peninsula's Annual Sources of Knowledge (SOK) Forum, May 8-10.

Nearly 150 people gathered for this event. Eric Fowle, Founding Co-Chair of Wisconsin’s Niagara Escarpment Resource Network, was a key organizer, along with members of the SOK Board.  Representatives from Door County included Paul Regnier, Bob Bultman, myself, John Skare, and Carl Giessel. Joanne Kluessendorf, Director of the Weis Earth Science Museum; and Trout Springs Winery owner Steve DeBaker also participated.

Generalized Location of Niagara Escarpment in North AmericaThis convergence was a meeting of minds, making of friends, and merging of intent. John Greenhouse, one of the SOK organizers, coined it the tale of two peninsulas. Our common ground is the Silurian dolomite upholding the Niagara escarpment, and all its life and habitats as well as our communities and businesses nestled upon and around it. The Niagara escarpment scribes a Great Arc: the extent and extant of the "ledge" from just south of Lake Winnebago, defining the Door Peninsula's west coast, augmenting Manistique's Garden Peninsula, climbing over the top of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, forming the Georgian Bay coast of the Bruce Peninsula, on down to the firmament of Niagara Falls, and a bit to the east.

SOK, born from the National Park Advisory Committee and the Bruce Peninsula citizenry’s desire to protect the Niagara escarpment corridor, seeks to spread awareness all along the entire Great Arc.

Similarities are its landscape and habitats, and the small unique communities that reside on the bays and shorelines. Contrasts include population size with the Bruce having only 15% of Door’s, and less than 10% of the tourism.

Gathering in the Bruce Peninsula are John Skare, Paul Regnier, Bob Bultman and Roger KuhnsOther differences include the degree of land protection and park development. The Bruce hosts the 9 kilometers of the Bruce Trail, Niagara Escarpment World Biosphere Reserve, two national parks (over 156 square kilometers), an offshore lake (marine) preserve and numerous local parks. The Door hosts five state parks and many county parks. Both peninsulas are at tipping points on how to best manage tourism, sustainable communities, culture, native heritage, and business with the natural lands. Clearly, the SOK efforts and those of the Door County Land Trust and parks are critical drivers in environmental protection. Greater cooperation and planning are a result of this increased awareness.

Out of our many discussions came the suggestion of forming relationships as "sister cities" between Tobermory and Ellison Bay, and “brethren peninsulas” for Door and Bruce as a stepping stone to greater interactions between these two important peninsulas.

For more information and excerpts from the talks visit websites for the Sources of Knowledge (SOK: and the Niagara Escarpment Resource Network (NERN:


LNRP Welcomes Two New Board Members!

We are pleased to introduce two new additions to our Board of Directors who joined us this spring and summer.

Cathy Pabich

Cathy PabichCathy and her husband John retired to her hometown of Algoma in 2013.  Before moving back, they spent 16 years in the Madison area. Prior to Madison, Cathy, John and their three children called Illinois, California, Ohio, Virginia, Alabama, New York and Colorado home as they moved wherever John’s Coast Guard career sent them.

After learning of the water quality problems in Kewaunee County, Cathy and John have worked hard to educate themselves on the issues and advocate for policies to protect the environment. Their concern for Algoma’s Crescent Beach led them to pursue a partnership with LNRP as a means of promoting and protecting this important natural resource and this year helped form the Friends of Crescent Beach. 

Karl Klessig

Karl KlessigKarl is a fifth-generation dairy farmer at Saxon Homestead Farm LLC, a family partnership operated by Karl and his wife Liz, Robert and Kathleen Klessig, and their families. 

Saxon Homestead have combined rotational grazing, dairy cattle, dairy steers, and spring seasonal calving to form the foundation of their farming operation, centered on family, heritage, history, grazing, working lands, and environment. They also co-own Saxon Creamery, a small artisan cheese factory which produces a family of aged European Continental cheeses.

Karl currently participates in the Sheboygan Area School District Nutrition Committee, Wisconsin Agricultural Education Center Board, and the Professional Dairy Producers of Wisconsin’s Public Policy Sub-Committee. Past organizational involvement includes UW Discovery Farm, Council of Rural Initiatives Board, Glacial Lakes Conservancy, Dairy Business Association’s Green Tier Charter Sub-Committee, and the Manitowoc County Ag and Environmental Task Force.

Karl and Liz and their three children enjoy the great outdoors while moving cattle from paddock to paddock, camping, hunting, and fishing, and still find time to go dancing, bicycling, and jogging.

Please welcome our new board members to the LNRP family!


Restore the Shore

Friends of Hika Bay bench placed in Fischer Creek Park overlooking Lake MichiganLNRP first got involved with significant restoration projects more than five years ago with the Centerville Creek Restoration Project in the Village of Cleveland.  The project since was expanded to include integrating the Hika Shores property purchased by the Village in 2005 into the existing Hika Park, which offers the only lake-level boat landing between Sheboygan and Manitowoc. Hika Park has long hosted the popular annual Cleveland Fish and Game Fish Derby.

This year, we are finishing Phase 5 of 5 by constructing a pedestrian bridge, a lakefront viewing platform, and a series of strategically-placed interpretive signs throughout the park.

Our Restore the Shore initiative is now forging ahead with additional enhancements at Fischer Creek Park, collaborative work with the Glacial Lakes Conservancy at the Point Creek Conservation Area, a Phragmites Control Grant for Manitowoc County partnering with the Manitowoc County Lakes Association, and the Door County Forest Recovery Project.

Restore the Shore: Lakeshore lands, waters and habitats

What emerged from our multi-year and –faceted experience is the value of creating a local friend group that formally adopts the park to help maintain it through invasive species management, restoration plantings, and general clean up but, most importantly, a committed long-term partner.

This year, Friends of Hika Bay is celebrating the completion of a restoration process that now has expanded Hika Park from its original 2.2 acres to almost 14 acres. 

In the last few years, LNRP has helped facilitate a similar process with the Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed who formally adopted Lower Schuette Park and informally adopted the 10 public beaches in the City of Manitowoc.  This community-based Friend group has already completed an invasive species checklist in the park and worked with the Lakeshore Invasive Species Management Area (LISMA) to combat Phragmites on the Manitowoc River. 

This year, the Friends partnered with the City of Manitowoc to install a kayak canoe launch at the park.  Members also conduct two beach clean-ups per year on all 10 beaches in Manitowoc, one centered around Earth Day in April and one completed in association with the Alliance for the Great Lakes annual beach clean-up in September.

In 2015, LNRP began helping build capacity for the Friends of Crescent Beach in Algoma, our newest partner.  The Friends formally joined LNRP this spring and already have created an action plan that includes hosting a beach kite flying celebration and a series of outreach activities co-sponsored by the Algoma Chamber of Commerce.  The group is already working with the City of Algoma to leverage funding to implement a completed environmentally-engineered beach restoration plan.

These experiences demonstrate how critical citizen involvement is to creating successful public-private partnerships but, perhaps more importantly, how critical this engagement is to sustain the restoration at public parks and natural areas for the long term.

LNRP is now looking to create a similar community-based partnership with the further development of the Little Manitowoc River Partnership.  LNRP has helped leverage significant funding to restore the Little Manitowoc’s coastal wetland with an overall design that incorporates management of what could become the Little Manitowoc Conservancy.  The nearly 250-acre conservancy would bring under one management umbrella the Little Manitowoc Prairie, the Little Manitowoc Walkway, Lincoln Park Zoo, and Indian Creek Park.  The conservancy would have inter-linked trails that would connect to the heavily used Mariner’s Trail.

If you are interested in helping form a local community-based friend group for the Little Manitowoc, please contact Jenn Hansman at or 920-726-1799.

A second call to action is for partners looking to engage a stronger youth presence in stewardship activities.

Lakeshore Water InstituteToward this goal, LNRP is working with partners throughout the lakeshore to better engage our youth to cultivate a land and water ethic.  Through a process that combines hands-on activities with opportunities for education, we’re hoping to better prepare the next generation for the challenges that will arise to help sustain a high quality of life.

Over the last few years, LNRP helped create the Lakeshore Water Institute with UW-Manitowoc which hires 3-5 interns each year to focus on water quality monitoring and reporting their findings back to the public through an annual Water Summit each fall.

The Vickie Mayer Youth Conservation Program hosted by the Friends of the Branch River Watershed has created a curriculum designed to advance students through three steps of awareness, stewardship, and action.

The Friends of Twin Rivers are engaging four area schools to train teachers with Water Action Volunteers (WAV) and helping coordinate the water quality monitoring on the East Twin River and West Twin River.

And just recently, LNRP has initiated conversations with partners in Sheboygan County to host a celebration of stewardship that focuses on conservation priorities and mobilizes a network of community volunteers aspiring to engage youth groups in the area as part of our collaborative work in protecting and conserving the special places we will collectively prioritize.

If interested in learning more about LNRP’s youth initiatives or to get involved, please contact Jenn Hansmann at or 920-726-1799.


Partners Implementing First Year of Phragmites Control Grant

Manitowoc County partners -- the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership, Stantec Environmental Consultants, the Manitowoc County Lakes Association (MCLA), and the Lakeshore Invasive Species Management Area (LISMA)-- have mapped invasive Phragmites along the Lake Michigan shoreline and right of ways in coastal townships.  As phase one of a three-year effort, they are seeking permission for access to both public and private lands.

phragmitesPhragmites occurs widely as small to large scattered populations along the Manitowoc County shoreline.  If left untreated, dense stands will spread relatively quickly along the shoreline and inland tributaries.  The invasive, nonnative Phragmites can grow over 16 feet tall and expand more than 50 feet each year through stolons or runners.  This extremely aggressive plant displaces native plants, takes over wetland and riparian habitats, and reduces wildlife use.  It can also decrease recreational opportunities, property values, and block your view of Lake Michigan.

If you live along the Lake Michigan shoreline in Manitowoc County, have Phragmites on your land, and are interested in treatment, please contact John Durbrow, President of the Manitowoc County Lakes Association, at


Summer 2015

Young deer near benches at Hika Park

News from LNRP

Chautauqua Barn Dance

Friend Group Updates

Chautauqua Barn Dance

We regretfully inform you that we will not be hosting our annual Chautauqua Barn Dance this fall. But, we are excited to let you know we are already planning next year’s event as something even bigger and better.

Partnering for Progress, the collective organizer of the Wisconsin Barn Dance and Chautauqua, is a collaboration of three nonprofit organizations: Gathering Waters, Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership and the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers; and our event host, the Saxon Homestead Farm in Cleveland (WI).

The Saxon Homestead barn at twilight.

Partnering for Progress has brought you the event for the last six years, with speakers at the Chautauqua addressing the challenges and opportunities for sustaining our vibrant rural communities and strengthening essential connective bridges to the non-rural communities of Wisconsin.  Keynote speakers have included the late Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture, Rod Nilsestuen; barn historian Jerry Apps; current Secretary of Agriculture Ben Brancel; retired NRCS State Conservationist, Pat Leavenworth; community organizer, Will Allen of Growing Power; and Aldo Leopold’s biographer, Curt Meine.

The 2016 Chautauqua Barn Dance will celebrate our goals to build a vibrant economy, create social harmony, and maintain environmental health for all of Wisconsin’s communities.  Our team will be in touch soon on how you can support our efforts to better build community partnerships that enhance agricultural productivity while cultivating stewardship of our lands and waters.


Friend Group Updates

Hika Park Enhancements Continue

Friends of Hika Bay have continued to work to enhance Hika Park with a focus on the Hika Shores Conservation Area.  A constructed berm was planted with clover and rye grass along with cedar trees this past spring.  In the existing swale, both a mix of sedge seeds as well as individual plants were planted this spring with the plants responding quite well to what have been good growing conditions.  The plugs included lake sedge, tussock/hump sedge, deflexed bottle-brush sedge, and Bebb’s sedge.

The swale complex at the Hika Shores Conservation Area

Wooded dune and swale complexes are found along the shoreline of all of the Great Lakes. These complexes are documented from Wisconsin, Minnesota, Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and the province of Ontario.

Ridge swale complexes are best developed where streams provide a dependable sand source. The combination of along-shore currents, waves, and wind form foredunes along the shoreline where they contain a unique assemblage of physiographic, soil, and vegetative com­ponents, and provide a high quality habitat for numerous shoreline animal and bird species.

Protecting hydrology is important in the maintenance of vegetative structure in wooded dune and swale complexes. Invasive, non-native species such as Lythrum salicaria (purple loosestrife), Phalaris arundinacea (reed canary grass), and Phragmites australis (giant bulrush) can also invade the wet swales.

A community gathering was held on Sunday, July 19th, hosted by the LNRP, to celebrate and appreciate the volunteers and friends of Hika Bay.  A beautiful Wisconsin summer day, folks enjoyed a BBQ and an interpretive walk showcasing the work that was done in Hika Bay.

Another volunteer day is planned for Saturday, September 26 where additional work is planned on planting islands of wildflowers on the berm, managing invasive species, and cleaning the beach.  If interested, contact Jenn Hansmann at or 920-627-1799.

Paddle on the West Twin River

Paddlers gather and prepare to enter the West Twin

On Saturday, July 25, Friends of the Twin Rivers (FOTR) hosted a paddle on the West Twin River.  Thirty-five participants loaded themselves into kayaks and canoes at the Manitowoc County Boat Landing just downstream from Shoto Falls and paddled to Veterans Park in Two Rivers where lunch and light refreshments awaited their arrival.

The group was made up of folks interested in the protection and enhancement of the West and East Twin Rivers as well as 15 Chinese exchange students.  The group was hosted by Betsy Galbraith, Committee Chair of the Friends of the Twin Rivers; Jim Knickelbine, Director of Woodland Dunes Nature Center; and Jim Kettler, Executive Director of the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership.

The Friends of the Twin Rivers 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.

New FOTR volunteers are always welcome.  There is something for everyone from those who want to volunteer for a few hours a year to those who would like to participate on a regular basis.  We will be developing a volunteer interest form and database.  Until then, get on our email list by sending a request to Betsy Galbraith at or Jim Knickelbine at or call (920) 793-4007.

Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed

Manitowoc River Watershed

Committed to connecting people in the region to the Manitowoc River, the Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed (FMRW) have accomplished a lot since inception.  Over the last couple of years, the group has brought in many new and old volunteers from the community to steward the Manitowoc River and Lake Michigan beaches by both cleaning up trash and enjoying relaxing paddles on the river.  

With the group’s efforts, stewardship continues to become stronger in Manitowoc County. The Wisconsin Maritime Museum once again offered its popular annual Watershed Ambassadors Camp for kids under 18, where campers learn awareness of the outdoors and appreciation of the natural resources that surround them.  This priceless week of enriching experiences hopes to raise leaders who will continue to mentor and teach stewardship to their peers over their lifetime.

The Manitowoc River Guide pamphlets continue providing a great way to educate and share the history and stories of the river (a perfect addition for a paddle in a kayak or canoe). If you have not seen these wonderful resources, please check them out here.

The group also hopes to complete installation of the new kayak launch at Schuette Park by late summer. Please stay tuned for the official opening.

Upcoming FMRW events include the annual fall beach clean-up on September 19th and a seminar on groundwater at the Wisconsin Maritime Museum, October 14th.  Two rain barrels will be offered as raffle prizes at the October groundwater seminar.  Contact for more information.

The group strongly encourages you to share YOUR stories about your experiences in the watershed. These interesting stories are a great help in seeking grant funding and sponsorships to help improve your experiences on or along the river. Become a volunteer, a member, and a steward today!

Friends of the Branch River

Members of the Friends of the Branch River (FOBR) gathered at the Whitelaw Park Sportsmen’s Club in early August for a potluck-style dinner and programs for both children and adults.  The kids got to check out cool bugs, while the adults learned about the different stages of composting presented by Jody Kuchar.  

FOBR, the oldest of the friend groups, hopes to reorient towards offering more water quality activities in the future and build a stronger volunteer base.  This year has brought transitions for the group, losing their key administrator and quarterly newsletter, yet the community continues to help with planning and programming.  Their goal remains constant to help area property owners become better stewards of the Branch River, but they need someone to build membership, sustain income and find leaders in environmental conservation to keep their programs alive.   If you are interested in helping to sustain this important 12-year-old group, please email Tom Ward:

Friends of Crescent Beach

With a mission to promote through advocacy, education and activities the improvement, support, protection and enjoyment of Crescent Beach in Algoma, the Friends of Crescent Beach are off to a great start cultivating that mission. They have developed an action plan and long-term strategic plan with the support of LNRP. 

Volunteers are already working with the Algoma Parks and Recreation Department to do beach clean-up and improvement projects.  In June they offered their first educational program.  A group of seven made a field trip to UW-Manitowoc for a presentation about beach monitoring by Kimberly Busse, Laboratory Manager, Environmental Research and Innovation Center, UW-Oshkosh.

The first annual Soar on the Shore with kites of every size, shape and color flew the skies on Crescent Beach in Algoma on Saturday, August 22.  Giant show kites, beautiful ground displays of banners and spinners and stunt kites flown by professional kite enthusiasts entertained families at this free event. 

Unique Flying objects, Two Rivers, and the Wisconsin Kiters Club performed at the event that was presented by Friends of Crescent Beach and the Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce and sponsored by Precision Machine, Inc., Bay Lake Bank and the Algoma Tourism and Promotion Committee.  An estimated 1,000 people, Algoma residents and visitors of all ages, attended the five hour event and traffic on Highway 42 slowed to a crawl as travelers snapped photos of the beautiful kite display that put smiles on the faces of everyone who viewed it.  The Friends of Crescent Beach hope to make Soar on the Shore their annual “fun” event on Crescent Beach.


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Lake Michigan view from Manitowoc


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