Inside This Issue
Retreat Outcomes, A Message From Our New President, Chris Olson
New Year’s greetings to everyone from the Board and Staff of the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership. My name is Chris Olson and I have the privilege of serving as President of our Board of Directors. I want to share with you LNRP’s vision for 2017, reflecting on our recent board and staff retreat on January 21.
Our main take aways and plans for 2017 encompass the growing need and opportunity for engaged and well informed citizens at the local, state, regional and national levels to spread the word and take positive action to help conserve, protect and sustainably manage our land and water resources.
LNRP is blessed with a strong, dedicated board and staff working to strengthen and grow our local watershed groups and regional networks. Our year begins with helping them delineate plans for this year’s activities and initiatives, and further strengthen their effectiveness and outreach. We will be expanding and improving our messaging through conventional and social media. Exciting collaborations are on the horizon. We have set the date, September 16, for the 8th Annual Barn Dance Chautauqua in Cleveland, Wisconsin. We will once again be honoring our Great Lake at Lake Michigan Day on Friday, August 11 (see articles below in this issue). The state-of-the-art Wisconsin Agricultural Education Center is about to break ground in Newton this spring and will open its doors in 2018. Our friend groups will continue their beach and park improvement cleanup efforts. We hope to see many of you at our events and presentations this year and we thank you for your continued support to make our progress possible.
The mission and vision of LNRP have grown out of the work of the mid-twentieth century environmentalist Aldo Leopold and his son Luna. Aldo Leopold championed community stewardship based on a land ethic that addresses our "relation to land and to the animals and plants that grow upon it.” Luna Leopold expanded on this vision by describing a water ethic in which “the health of our waters is the principle measure of how we live on the land.” These two ethics—one of land and one of water—work in tandem to guide a community toward a functional stewardship ethic. Along with attention on air quality, these ethics form the foundation of LNRP's focus on a sense of place and our continuing efforts to celebrate and protect natural resources from the Ledge to the Lakeshore.
Chris Olson, Board President
2017 Lake Michigan Day Plans Underway
It’s not too early to mark your calendars for Friday, August 11, Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Manitowoc, to celebrate our wonderful Great Lake at Lake Michigan Day, brought to you by our dedicated organizing committee.
Lake Michigan Champions of Conservation
At each year’s Lake Michigan Day, we honor our favorite local environmental champions. Nominations are now open for the Lake Michigan Stakeholders 2017 Lake Michigan Champions of Conservation Awards.
Nominate any group, program, organization, business or individual located and working on the restoration, improvement or enhancement of the western Lake Michigan basin or any of the watersheds that flow into the lake.
Just go to the LMS website and fill out the nomination form located in the Champions tab, http://www.lakemichiganstakeholders.org/champions/ with specific information on the nominee and his/her outstanding contributions. You may also email your nominations to Sherrill Anderson, Sherrill@LNRP.org
Nominations are due April 14. Contact Sherrill with any questions. Watch for further updates coming this spring!
Engaging Barn Dance Chautauqua, September 16!
And, we’re excited to announce our next crowd favorite, the Partnering for Progress 8th Annual Barn Dance Chautauqua, Saturday, September 16! Last year’s drew a record crowd filling the historic Saxon Homestead Farm in Cleveland (WI), enjoying a fine spread of locavore delights, engaging presentations, and kick-up-your-heels dancing to an area band. This fundraising event supports Gathering Waters, the Wisconsin School for Beginning Dairy and Livestock Farmers, and LNRP. Watch for further details and ticket information in the coming months.
Phragmites Treatment Plans Continue For 2017
Despite progress being made in Manitowoc County, our battle continues to manage the ever-spreading invasive plant Phragmites. This very tall, feathery-headed grass in dense clusters can be seen in many road ditches, fields and shorelines, requiring ongoing vigilance to slow its progression.
This winter, LNRP will be applying to the WDNR for Phase Two of our Phragmites Control Project in Manitowoc County. Phase One treated the Lake Michigan shoreline and near-shore estuaries. Phase Two will partner with the coastal townships of Centerville, Newton, Mishicot, Two Rivers and Two Creeks along with the County Highway Department on public and privately owned lands, and highway right of ways. Pending funding, we will be partnering again with Stantec Consulting Services and engaging student interns from the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay to map infestations and then digitize these locations to create an interactive map that will provide a management tool.
Manitowoc Disposal Site Habitat Being Enhanced
Thanks to a collaboration supported by the US Fish & Wildlife Service, Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed, Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership Woodland Dunes Nature Center, and the Lakeshore Invasive Species Management Area, the Manitowoc Confined Disposal Facility (CDF) on Lake Michigan is being cleaned up and enhanced for birds, wildlife and recreation. The site is located just north of the Manitowoc Marina.
This project includes planting about 3.7 acres with native plants and shrub islands, adding interpretive signs about its local history and nature, maintaining areas for recreation, controlling invasive plants on nearly 16 acres in and around the CDF, and reducing maintenance and mowing costs. These enhancements will support this important stopover site along the Lake Michigan shoreline for millions of migratory songbirds, pollinators and monarch butterflies, providing food and resting areas.
A parallel initiative involving additional stakeholders to restore Blue Rail Beach will further improve the area. They include the City of Manitowoc Engineering staff, Army Corps of Engineers, Manitowoc Marina, Wisconsin Maritime Museum, Wisconsin DNR and interested citizens.
These projects complement existing CDF plans for maintaining access for offloading and storing dredged materials while discouraging gulls and other nuisance birds. With improvements completed so far, the Lake Michigan shoreline is becoming even more attractive and accessible to our community.
Lake Michigan Stakeholders Announce Next Membership Meeting
The Lake Michigan Stakeholders host membership meetings each spring and fall at different locations around the basin, highlighting area-specific projects and initiatives impacting our Great Lake.
Their next meeting will be Tuesday, May 9, at the Maywood Environmental Center in Sheboygan, 8:30 am-3:30 pm. Featured topics will focus on the area’s historical relationship with the Sheboygan River and Lake Michigan, the ongoing work to delist the Sheboygan River as an Area of Concern (AOC), and presentations concerning the Lake Michigan food web dynamics and fisheries. Participants will have time to network and engage, and have a choice of three afternoon tours in the region. Pre-registration is required by May 2 via email, email@example.com, or phone, (920) 412-1920.
We welcome Port Washington Mayor Tom Mlada as Co-Chair with Todd Verboomen from East Central Planning Commission, who brings to LMS his enthusiasm and dedication to protect Lake Michigan. Linda Reid from Sweet Water is our new Secretary. We welcome our other new steering committee members, Deidre Peroff, Wisconsin Sea Grant; and Shawn Graff who moved from Ozaukee-Washington Land Trust to become the Great Lakes Regional Director for the American Bird Conservancy.
The LMS Steering Committee also recently adopted a new tag line, vision, and mission statement:
Tagline: Wisconsin’s Voice for Lake Michigan
Vision: Lake Michigan and the natural and cultural resources of the basin are environmentally resilient and economically viable for present and future generations
Mission: Inspire and engage a community of stewards to champion the health and viability of the Lake Michigan basin
For more information about the group, visit their website: www.lakemichiganstakeholders.org
LNRP Stewardship Fund Supports Mishicot School Forest Programming
Mishicot High School, north of Manitowoc, is fortunate to have a 31-acre school forest with trails and an outdoor building on site to use as an educational resource. Since 2015, their team of educators has been working to revitalize the underused and overgrown forest to enhance the space as an environmental learning haven.
This revitalization has brought together a school and community for a common goal. They host quarterly cleanup days where volunteers from across their community partner with students to clear invasive species, harvest logs, test and monitor water quality and install natural habitats for wildlife. Enhancing in-class learning—such as sustainability and agri-science classes— includes WAV (water action volunteers) testing the East Twin River and Johnson Creek.
Their vision for the project remains to connect the school and the community via education while promoting service learning. Their activities, beyond those mentioned above, include clearing unsafe forest areas, managing the forest stand, widening/adding trails, and adding seating and labs/activities to the outdoor classroom. They teach all generations about environmental management and conservation, allowing opportunities for networking between Mishicot students and community members, and develop leadership qualities in the students in the process.
Katie Krouse Helps Climate Change Coalition of Door County, Joins LNRP Staff
In late 2016, Katie Krouse joined the staff of the Lakeshore Natural Resource Partnership to help the Climate Change Coalition of Door County move forward. She is working to expand their outreach and help administer their ongoing activities and events.
Katie moved to Door County in 2015 to pursue a career in environmental practices. Her undergraduate studies at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse focused on aquatic sciences and evolutionary biology. Previously, Katie took her passion for protecting and preserving unique and vulnerable ecosystems to Madagascar where she studied coral reef degradation and lemur social behaviors. Since moving to Door County, she has worked as a Naturalist at The Ridges Sanctuary, spending the majority of her time exploring the region’s beauty.
Katie began volunteering with the Climate Change Coalition in February of last year, with a passion for communicating with and educating the community on solutions citizens can take to fight and prepare for the impacts of climate change. She is excited to continue her community outreach with the support of LNRP as part-time administrative staff for CCCDC. Welcome Katie!
Niagara Escarpment Resource Network Plans Exciting Events For 2017
The NERN Steering Committee members brought renewed energy to plan an engaging set of programs and events for 2017.
First, thanks to event underwriter – Trout Springs Winery, the support of Celebrate Earth Week, the Climate Change Coalition of Door County and other area groups, we will be hosting several showings of TWO new documentary films featuring the Niagara Escarpment! Dan Larson, a resident of De Pere and seasoned documentary filmmaker, spent four years filming people and places along Wisconsin’s Niagara Escarpment to create The Great Ledge. Over several years, Roger Kuhns, a native of Door County and a leader in the sustainability field, produced his documentary Escarpment focusing on the natural history story of Eastern Wisconsin and the Niagara Escarpment region of the Great Lakes. In April, there will be three free showings in Door County and a fourth in De Pere. The De Pere event will be a special fundraiser, Wednesday, April 26, for NERN’s Niagara Escarpment School Curriculum project. Watch for further details coming soon, as well as information to order tickets for our fundraiser.
Mark your calendars for the Annual Wisconsin Ledge AVA Celebration of our unique grape-growing and wine-producing American Viticultural Area, Saturday, August 19, at Trout Springs Winery near Wayside. We are organizing six Ledge Tours this year, including repeating last year’s popular Holyland historical church/geology/supper club tour. We’ll also host another dinner at the Fox Valley Technical College Culinary Arts Program in Grand Chute where student chefs compete and create an amazing meal right in front of our eyes.
Project-wise, NERN continues to work to create a Niagara Escarpment School Curriculum education package, as well as ongoing strategic planning to launch a more formal geotourism program we will create (unfortunately, National Geographic recently changed their mission/direction of their Geotourism MapGuide program and our program was dropped from consideration). Lastly, we continue to engage on the Board of the Greater Escarpment Organization of Door County (GEODC) whose goal is to open up a new International Niagara Escarpment Interpretive Center in the Town of Liberty Grove near the tip of the Door Peninsula. Some big news about GEODC’s efforts should be coming soon!
Watershed Partner Group Updates
Friends of Hika Bay Continuing To Serve and Protect Lake Michigan
Thanks to the many workshops held by the Friends of Hika Bay in 2016, awareness of Phragmites and other invasive species has grown. Workshops on caring for wetlands, blufflands and overall water quality all promise 2017 to be a successful year for the group. They collaborated once again with the Lakeshore Water Institute and student interns, who presented on October 12 their water quality data collected in 2016 on the five creeks in Manitowoc County. These results reveal the trends of these watersheds that flow into Lake Michigan. Plans are underway to continue their stewardship of Hika and Fischer Creek Parks next year, with additional enhancements on the Ridge-Swale at Hika and tree planting at Fischer Creek. The group adopted these parks two years ago. In the upcoming year, they also plan to plant more pollinator seeds, install a pedestrian bridge over Centerville Creek and install interpretive signage for education.
Friends of Manitowoc River Watershed Plans Another Productive Year
Volunteers with the Friends of the Manitowoc River Watershed had another productive year in 2016. With two beach cleanups, one river cleanup and two river paddles, they engaged in stewardship to celebrate the river and beaches of Lake Michigan. They collected over 700 pounds of trash with these activities. Plans are underway for 2017 to clean up even more.
Save the date for the second annual Full Moon Paddle on the Manitowoc River, August 8; the two beach clean-ups, April 22 and September 16; the River Paddle on July 8; and a Rain Barrel Workshop on April 29 in honor of Earth Day. They also plan to once again partner with the Wisconsin Maritime Museum to help local youth experience their sense of place within the Manitowoc River Watershed. This week long Watershed Ambassadors’ camp teaches participants to become caretakers and spokespeople for the health of the water. Be sure to check out the LNRP website calendar for more information on all the friend group’s events.
Friends of Crescent Beach Continues Expanding Their Stewardship Efforts
Since their inception in 2015, the Friends of Crescent Beach have expanded their reach in Algoma and positively impacted their community’s beach on Lake Michigan. Improvements include trash receptacles, invasive species management, beach cleanups, water quality monitoring and much more. They hosted the second annual Soar on the Shore kite event, participated in the Tall Ships Festival and Algoma Bird City Celebration, and sponsored a speaker series that targeted the health of Crescent Beach. They are also closely watching the Anhapee River, which is on the impaired waters list for phosphorus. Watch for more great stewardship initiatives from this volunteer group in 2017 as they embrace the water quality challenges of Algoma and Kewaunee County, working with the City of Algoma and its community. To become a member and to get involved, please contact the Friends of Crescent Beach.
Friends of the Branch River Gets Re-energized
Besides cooking brats and giving away trees, the Friends of the Branch River Watershed continues to connect families surrounding the Branch River with their local leadership. The Fox Valley Herp Club entertained both children and adults with their reptiles. The Dodge Preserve, located along the river, offered educational wagon rides. More than 50 people experienced the Lincoln Zoo in Manitowoc for the group’s annual summer picnic. In 2017, they plan to continue to focus on youth programming designed to engage families in building awareness of the Branch River and surrounding environment.
Friends of the Twin Rivers Launch Activities
The Friends of the Twin Rivers literally got their feet wet in 2016. Their inaugural beach cleanup collected more than 60 pounds of trash, spanning over a mile of Lake Michigan shoreline. More than 40 people participated in their river paddle last summer, learning more about the Twin Rivers. The group, along with the City of Two Rivers, plans to develop a kayak/canoe launch on the river for public access, and create river maps. Their WAV (water action volunteers) monitoring with four local high schools was successful and educational. The data was collected and integrated into LNRP’s database. Watch for more winter educational programs this year similar to last year’s standing-room-only Birds of the Lake Michigan Lakeshore. The group is planning beach cleanups in April and October, the river paddle in July, a Nature’s Garden Program with Rob Zimmer on March 11, and a Rain Barrel Workshop on April 29.
The Climate Change Coalition of Door County/Forest Recovery Project
Because of the efforts of the Climate Change Coalition and the Forest Recovery Project, Door County now has more than 3,000 new trees throughout the county. All this additional oxygen helped these groups celebrate 2016 with songs for the environment and hikes in the wetlands. The CCCDC held several monthly programs regarding climate change last year, and are continuing this series in 2017. They presented their 3rd annual Climate Change Forum, with over 50 new businesses signing the declaration. This year they raised funds to hire a part-time staff person to help coordinate their efforts (see article on Katie Krouse). They will celebrate Earth Day with a week of regional activities. The Climate Forum, held at the Stone Harbor Inn, Sturgeon Bay, will be held May 20. The organization will expand its reach throughout the lakeshore region.
Sheboygan River Basin Partnership Strengthens
In 2016, the Sheboygan River Basin Partnership cultivated a partnership with LNRP to help them with planning, capacity building and staff support. They are forging ahead to get people out on the river this year. The Sheboygan River Basin encompasses over 615 square miles of land in five counties. They will be working to improve Willow Creek fish passage, along with the Camp Evelyn Dam removal, the Glas Coffee House Native Shoreline Landscaping Demonstration Project, river mapping and developing an interactive website. The group engaged in many invasive weed pulls and volunteers cleaned up the Sheboygan River last year. Watch for their annual river paddle and cleanup in 2017. Download your membership form and become a member today.
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