Weekend project: St. Croix Valley groups seek young singers for virtual choir performance

Kids are invited to celebrate Earth Day by recording themselves singing a pledge to protect the planet.

In celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Earth Day*, we are creating a virtual choir of young people in grades K-12 who will perform The Promise Song virtually. The Promise Song is an anthem for the Earth, simple to learn, but profound in its message. We’ve had to cancel all of our in-person events, but want to give young people a chance to share their voice and their love for the Earth in a positive way.

If you have children or grandchildren, we’d love for them to learn The Promise Song, record themselves on a phone, and send the video recording to us. If not, please forward this e-mail to parents, music teachers, choral directors….anyone who could get this opportunity to students.

In order to complete this by Earth Day 2020, we need all recordings by Monday, April 13th!

Here’s more information about the virtual choir, an .mp3 recording of The Promise Song (which students will use to practice and record) and the musical score for The Promise Song.


Upload your file at this link: https://forms.gle/pHPWNrruuYpm2RhE6

A parent or guardian will need to sign a permission slip. Return this permission slip to [email protected].

North Woods and Waters of the St. Croix Heritage Area is coordinating activities to celebrate Earth Day, as Senator Gaylord Nelson, Father of Earth Day, was born and raised in Clear Lake, WI, within the St. Croix River watershed!

Kids for Saving Earth is an international organization, located in North Branch, MN. Tessa and William Hill wrote the words to The Promise Song to honor their son, Clint, who had formed a group called Kids for Saving Earth before he died at age 11. The words were set to music by Ronnie Brooks and produced by Hummingbird Productions © 1990. Kids for Saving Earth became an international organization and The Promise Song was performed on Broadway (by Raffi) and at the United Nations.

Find out more at www.kidsforsavingearth.org and at www.northwoodsandwaters.org/Earth.

Make every day Earth Day  | Barbara Luck, Washburn County Rivers and Lakes Association
WASHBURN COUNTY - There are two important dates one month apart that draw attention to our resilient but fragile environment: World Water Day, which was March 22 and focuses on the global water crisis of over 2 billion people lacking safe water, and Earth Day on April 22 which is the 50th anniversary of a day dedicated to improve care of the environment due to human behaviors.
Fifty years ago in 1970 people like author Rachel Carson were calling an alarm about the severe decrease in bald eagles caused by DDT and Wisconsin’s Senator Gaylord Nelson conceived the idea of Earth Day. The environmental issues were recognizing air and water pollution from factories and new technologies, saving whales, halting off-shore drilling, removing lead from paint, depleting natural resources and rain forest destruction. While some progress has been made, these environmental issues remain an ongoing challenge as these two noteworthy days seek to call for both individual and government action.
Surprisingly, 20 million Americans participated in the first Earth Day and forced the issue of environmental protection onto the national political agenda. The organization, Earth Day Network, was created to spearhead the agenda. Six months later, Congress quickly got to work. The Clean Water Act became law, followed by the Safe Drinking Water Act, Endangered Species Act, establishment of the EPA and the Environmental Protection Act, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, banning of DDT, removal of lead from gasoline and passage of the Toxic Substances Control Act and Marine Mammal Protection Act.
Earth Day is now a global movement involving 200 nations and billions of people. One of the main issues due to climate change is transitioning from fossil fuels to clean energy. Other current issues are the decrease in wildlife populations, ice depletion at our poles, severe loss of pollinators, hazardous waste disposal and ecosystem destruction. Today, saving our planet will address a broad spectrum from food systems to transportation to infrastructure to many cultural, economic and justice issues.
Earth Day celebration goes on
On this 50th anniversary of Earth Day, because of social distancing, there won’t be millions of people across the country marching to support environmental improvements. Ironically, we will reduce carbon emissions by not driving, while millions of people unite online to draw attention to the environmental crisis. If you want to help make history, you can watch Earth Day Network’s online teach-ins, follow social media campaigns, or watch live coverage of global digital mobilizations at earthday.org.
Every-day actions to protect our water and earth
We are proud of Senator Gaylord Nelson and others who created the idea of Earth Day which is now a world-wide day calling for action. Similarly, World Water Day was established by the United Nations in 1993 and has made major improvements for many undeveloped countries’ water collection and storage systems. Though Wisconsin is fortunate to have a plentiful water supply, the quality can be threatened by fertilizers, pesticides, lead and other chemicals, agricultural (manure and cropland runoff) pollution, urban runoff and road salt. As people did in 1970, we can make our voices heard and act responsibly with our water and the environment. Small, ongoing actions by many make a difference.
Here are a few easy ways to get started:
Reconsider the amount of lawn fertilizers and pesticides that you use, as they eventually end up in our rivers and lakes which can cause nuisance algae blooms and deplete oxygen.
Use minimal washing machine/dishwasher soaps. Check the bottle, as with today’s efficient washing machines, it takes very little soap. Better yet, consider earth-friendly brands.
Make your own disinfectants which are better for the environment than many commercial products. For example, Earth Day Network suggests you can make disinfectant by mixing 30% hydrogen peroxide and 70% alcohol in a spray bottle. Simply spray and let it dry on the surface.
If you live on a lake or river, think about adding plants or trees near the water. It’s a win-win situation because they are nice to look at and they help protect the water supply from pollutants by intercepting rain and filtering runoff.
To avoid water pollution, do not dispose of oils, grease, fat or chemicals down the sink. Flushing pills or medications can also pollute groundwater and surface water.
Use less single-use plastic, as too much of it ends up in our waters. It doesn’t break down and causes pollution, danger to plants and water life. Even if it’s recycled, that still is plastic in another form and the process can release plastic irritants.
Find more ideas on what you can do every day of the year. Visit earthday.org/take-action-now/#actions.
Share your Earth Day story
What Earth Day action have you taken? Cleaned up a river? Started a pollinator garden? Planted a tree? Marched in a rally? Sent a letter to a legislator? Tell your favorite story and share a photo, if you want: northwoodsandwaters.org/tell-your-earth-day-story. Stories will be posted on the North Woods and Waters of the St. Croix Heritage Area website, and everyone who submits a story will be entered in a drawing to win a nature-themed prize.
Sources: earthday.org and
As Wisconsin Lakes warm, walleye are feeling the heat
Mary Kate McCoy

Walleye are a staple of Native American diets, beloved for Friday night fish fries and a popular sporting fish. But the cool-water fish’s populations have been declining for decades, at the same time as largemouth bass have been thriving. Experts say climate change isn’t the only driver of walleye’s decline — but its impact is pervasive. In this series, WPR is exploring how the state can adapt to and mitigate the affect climate change is having on some of Wisconsin’s most iconic foods.

Arguably the most prized fish in Wisconsin, walleye hold a cultural significance that reaches far beyond being a thrilling fish to catch and a delicious fish to eat for the spear fishers and recreational anglers who harvest them.

But walleye populations have been declining for the better part of two decades.

While walleye at a Friday night fish fry haven’t come from Wisconsin in many years, they remain an important food source and tradition for Wisconsin tribes and part of an economically significant pastime — recreational fishing brings in more than $2 billion annually to the state.

Estimates say the sharp tooth predator’s production dropped nearly 30 percent between 1990 and 2012 and takes 1.5 times as long to grow to the same size and weight as it did in 1990.

The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC) identified walleye as a moderately to extremely vulnerable species in Wisconsin in its recent vulnerability assessment report.

What's driving their decline?

Researchers point to climate change as a pervasive culprit, but it’s a complicated story with a lot of question marks.

Lakes are complex ecosystems and Wisconsin is home to a diverse variety — lake size and depth, water clarity and surrounding tree cover all influence how lakes respond to climate change.

And temperature affects every corner of a lake ecosystem.

Researchers know Wisconsin lakes aren’t too warm for walleye, a cool-water fish, to survive. They suspect it's a recruitment (surviving to maturity) issue that has more to do with food sources and what species has the competitive edge.

Fishing in northern Wisconsin for walleye. USFWS Midwest Region (CC BY 2.0)

Challenges In Early Life

Just how rising temperatures and shorter winters are affecting walleye reproduction is an open research question, Gretchen Hansen, assistant professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities, said, but it’s clear the first summer of a walleye’s life is the most precarious.

The walleye hatch early in the summer, but by the end of the summer large numbers have disappeared — what happened between those events has confounded researchers.

"We don't know what happened to them, but they just don't show up anymore," Hansen said. "Maybe they didn't find enough food, or they got eaten or some combination of both."

Timing is everything. Hansen said there are theories that young walleye aren’t matching up with their food source at the correct time because of changing lake ice patterns, driven by an increase in erratic warm and cold snaps during winter and spring.

"You get better reproduction when … you have kind of a solid straight path towards spring," Hansen said. "Not super variable temperature conditions, and we are seeing more variable conditions with climate change."

David Bissonette, a Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe member and spear fisher, said spear fishers see lakes in a different way than others. They go out at night, with headlamps, in the springtime right after the ice melts.

When Bissonette was a kid, he associated walleye harvesting on Lake Chetac in Sawyer County with his cousin’s birthday, April 19, he said.

"But now ... we've gone after that first week in April," Bissonette said. "And then there also have been a couple times where we haven't really been able to fish until the end of April."

Walleye in Wisconsin generally spawn between mid-April and early May, and when the timing has been off, he hasn’t reached his walleye quota, he said.

Shift In Balance Of Power

At the same time walleye are struggling, another predator species appears to be thriving: the largemouth bass.

Small changes in temperature have a big impact, said Hansen.

"The thing with climate change is everything is affected by temperature — like everything," she said.

"The thing with climate change is everything is affected by temperature — like everything," said Gretchen Hansen, assistant professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities.

But exactly how those changes in temperature affect walleye habitat and reproduction are difficult to tease out. That’s the nature of climate change, she said, it isn’t straightforward.

Wisconsin has already warmed by about 2 degrees Fahrenheit since 1950, and is expected to rise an additional 2 to 8 degrees Fahrenheit by 2050. Increases in extreme and unpredictable weather events and seasonal variability have already shown themselves to be side effects of climate change.

Lake warming based on modeled lake temperature from 1980-2014. Graph from the U.S. Geological Survey and researchers Gretchen Hansen, Jordan Read, Luke Winslow and Jon Hansen

Water temperatures are slower to rise, but some Wisconsin lakes have seen temperatures increase by more than 1.5 degrees Fahrenheit since 1980. And as water temperatures continue to climb, a relatively small number of lakes are expected to support walleye natural reproduction.

The same temperature changes that are making natural reproduction more risky for walleye are tipping the scales in favor of largemouth bass.

Walleye have a competitive advantage in low-light, stained water with limited plant growth. Largemouth bass thrive in warm water and prefer clear water with an abundance of aquatic vegetation.

And while it may not be intuitive, rising temperatures are tied to clearer lakes — warmer and clearer lakes force walleye to swim deeper to be comfortable and reduce their habitat and range for food.

Largemouth bass will likely become more abundant as the climate changes, said Aaron Shultz, climate change inland fisheries biologist at GLIFWC.

But to date, there’s no direct evidence walleye’s decline comes down to competition between the two predator species.

"They are also a top predator in the system," Shultz said of largemouth bass. "Are they consuming juvenile walleye? Are they competing with them for food? A combination of those things? It's unclear at this point what their role is."

Statewide trends for walleye natural reproduction and largemouth bass relative abundance. Graph from the U.S. Geological Survey and researchers Gretchen Hansen, Jordan Read, Luke Winslow and Jon Hansen

A River Species

You could also take a step back and begin to understand walleye decline in Wisconsin lakes by looking to their natural habitat — rivers and large lakes connected to river systems.

"We've introduced them through stocking into a lot of lakes," said Greg Sass, fisheries research team lead in the state Department of Natural Resources Office of Applied Science.

"Some of what we're seeing with these declines might just be that these lakes weren't supposed to have walleyes in the first place," he continued.

"Some of what we're seeing with these declines might just be that these lakes weren't supposed to have walleyes in the first place," said Greg Sass, fisheries research team lead in the state Department of Natural Resources Office of Applied Science.

Then, there’s habitat loss on the lakes. Bissonette, of Lac Courte Oreilles Tribe, points to how lakefront properties are managed, like removing shoreline trees and aquatic plants.

"People want ... to change it to how they want it without understanding this lake has been like this for thousands and thousands of years, and the fish that were in here developed in that environment," he said. "But you don’t want to catch a gar, you want to catch a walleye."

Greg Sass. Photo courtesy of Sass

But it isn’t all bad news for walleye.

Walleye are doing fine in large Wisconsin rivers, and even in a number of lakes walleye populations are holding their own, particularly in large lakes, which hold more resources, and lakes that are connected to rivers.

And the lakes they appear to be doing best in tend to be the largest and most popular lakes in the state, such as Escanaba Lake in Vilas County or Lake Winnebago in east central Wisconsin.

Walleye populations have been maintained through stocking in many lakes in Wisconsin. But the level of success varies significantly — some lake ecosystems support natural reproduction without help, for others, the only way to have walleye is to stock them.

"Then there's a whole bunch of lakes in between where if conditions are right — if you have a good winter and ice-off is right and the temperature is good — you'll probably get natural reproduction," Hansen said.

"But maybe that’s only happening every 10 years or something, and that's not enough to support fishing," she continued.

Since 2013, the Wisconsin Walleye Initiative has spent millions of dollars stocking hundreds of thousands of walleye each year.

But stocking isn’t without critics, and research shows stocked lakes see larger declines in walleye production. Between 1990 and 2012, lakes with both natural reproduction and stocking declined by 47 percent and lakes with only stocking declined by 63 percent.

"To me ... you're putting in a lot of effort in many of these systems just to have a put-and-take fishery," Shultz said. "It's a bandaid fix to whatever the larger issue is in the system."

However, Shultz said as part of a more comprehensive management plan, stocking can be successful in rehabilitating the system.

According to the U.S. Geological Survey report on climate change and freshwater fish, walleye won’t completely disappear from Wisconsin waterways even under extreme warming conditions. However, a comparatively smaller number of lakes will be able to support naturally reproducing walleye populations.

Changing Perspective

When it comes to climate change there's a lot of talk of species moving north as temperatures change — but don't expect a lockstep northward march of species, said Jack Williams, a University of Wisconsin-Madison expert on ecological responses to climate change.

"Each species is differentially sensitive to different aspects of climate change," he said. "Some are sensitive to water temperature, some are sensitive to spring thaws."

"Every species is kind of moving at its own rate in its own direction and influenced in different ways by the species around it ... but we should expect lots of surprises and unique wrinkles as we see the coming decades play out," Williams continued.

If you enjoy bass fishing, times are good. But there’s resistance and few people are focused on bass as an alternative fish to catch and eat — even as regulations for harvesting bass have loosened, Shultz said.

Sass agreed.

Bass don’t face the same harvesting pressure as walleye do. Whether that’s contributing to walleye’s decline, experts say it could be playing a role, but it’s likely not the driving factor.

"In the particular case of bass, most anglers are releasing all bass right now, even if they are legal sized," Sass said. "That also kind of gives bass an upper hand as well, anglers aren't keeping them like they are walleyes."

"As the lakes change, we'll still eat those other fish. But I feel really bad for who's going to come after us because they're not even going to understand what has been lost," said David Bissonette, a Lac Courte Oreilles member and spear fisher.

Bass don’t hold the same cultural status as walleye do. And as lake ecosystems continue to change, that will likely come up more and more in the future, Shultz said.

"The public, they still want to be able to harvest walleye, that's what you go to the Northwoods to do," Shultz said. "For tribes, it's a tradition to go spearing in the springtime. And that's subsistence for the tribes ... it's part of ceremonies, it’s a tradition, it’s part of the culture."

According to the Ojibwe creation story, there’s an order to how things were created, Bissonette said.

"The first one was the earth. And then after that plants, and then animals and fish and then humans are created last," he said. "Walleye fits into that ... with all of these other beings that exist in the Ojibwe world — they don't need us, you know, we need them."

All fish taste different, Bissonette said, and Ojibwe people have always adapted to the environment.

"As the lakes change, we'll still eat those other fish," he said. "But I feel really bad for who's going to come after us because they're not even going to understand what has been lost."

Zoning, land use, ag and livestock regs reviewed by Burnett CAFO committee
SIREN – Burnett County’s large-scale livestock ad hoc committee continues to research ordinance changes that may be needed to address new concentrated animal feeding operations.
Last week, at its Feb. 12 meeting, the committee’s focus was on current state and local zoning, land use, livestock siting and agricultural regulations.
Jason Towne, the county’s land services director and zoning administrator, started by providing background information, saying that the first hint of land use and zoning in the United States dates back to 1692 in Boston.
Wisconsin’s first zoning ordinance was created in Milwaukee in 1920 and withheld by the Wisconsin Supreme Court in 1923. In 1966 the state started requiring that all counties zone their shorelands and floodplains to meet standards established by the Department of Natural Resources.
Seven of Burnett County’s 21 towns adopted zoning in 1971, with another 10 signing on between 1990 and 2008. The towns of Blaine, LaFollette, Sand Lake and Wood River have no zoning except in the shoreland and floodplain areas.
In general, said Towne, the purpose of zoning is to protect public health, safety and general welfare, to promote desirable development patterns and maintain community character, and to protect natural resources as well as public and private investments.
Its intent, he continued, is to “balance individual property rights with the interests of the community to create a healthy, safe and orderly living environment.”
There are 13 zoning classifications in Burnett County, including four agricultural districts.
Each district as classified allows certain permitted uses while other uses require a conditional use permit. Obtaining a conditional use permit requires an application and fee, a public hearing and a determination. Application is made to the zoning administrator, who refers it to the land use and information committee. The committee schedules the public hearing and determines whether to grant the permit.
Currently in Burnett County, 130,910 acres are zoned A-2, agriculture-residential, where a one- or two-family dwelling is allowed. A 10-acre minimum is required for this zoning.
Another 30,480 acres are zoned exclusive agriculture, requiring a 35-acre minimum. Agriculture-transition districts make up 1,000 acres in the county, typically to allow a transition area between agricultural areas and residential communities.
Zoning district A-4, agriculture-forestry-residential, encompasses 700 acres. Towne said A-4 districts are very similar to A-2 districts and may eventually be changed to A-2.
At this time, he said, large-scale animal feeding operations are permitted in each agricultural zoning district. In the county’s four unzoned towns, CAFOs would be allowed in all areas except those designated as shoreland or floodplain.
Towne presented a list of five possible zoning/land use items that could be evaluated as they relate to CAFOs.
First he asked which zoning districts should be considered for large-scale livestock operations.
Secondly, he asked whether ag zoning districts should be evaluated based on factors such as soils, depth to groundwater, slopes, proximity to surface water, dwellings or other buildings and existing land cover.
The third item is consideration of what text changes are needed for existing ordinances. Fourth is whether potential changes would have an impact on eligibility for the farmland preservation program and, finally, what changes are allowed under ATCP 51, the state’s current livestock facility siting regulation.
Randy Gilbertson, the county’s ag resources planner, took the floor to discuss livestock siting and agriculture. He began by providing a list of livestock siting and ag laws in Wisconsin as well as the county’s ordinance.
He noted that an increase in the understanding of issues surrounding larger livestock operations, particularly regarding manure disposal, began around 2007. The primary intent of the laws and regulations, he said, is to protect environmental factors.
ies by at least 20%, allowing for seasonal changes in animal population.
At the county level are the animal waste and livestock facility management section of the livestock siting/ag ordinance. It divides livestock facilities into class A, for new facilities of 500 or more animal units and existing facilities expanding to that size, and class B, having less than 500 animal units. Class B also includes expansions of existing facilities by at least 20%, allowing for seasonal changes in animal population.
Class A facilities require a permit in compliance with the state’s siting laws which, among other things, require a nutrient/manure management plan and a $500 application fee. Class B facilities require a manure management plan. The county conservationist is responsible for conducting any on-site visits he or she feels necessary to ensure compliance.
Gilbertson also had a list of items that the committee may want to evaluate, including whether a wider variety of animals should be included. Current ordinances do not require a permit for bison, horses, farm-raised deer, captive game birds, mink or camelids such as llamas, alpacas and camels.
He suggested the committee also look at whether the number of animal units to be regulated under each class should be evaluated, and whether fees should be adjusted to reflect actual costs.
Committee member Craig Conroy suggested that existing laws to protect groundwater should be considered. Also discussed was the consideration of current zoning designations to make sure they are appropriate.
The committee is scheduled to meet again Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 1 p.m. This meeting will include a presentation by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources.
Drawdown of flowage would have huge impact on small community
Removal of Clam Falls dam could occur this year
Jackie Moody and Renee Nanez | Clam Falls Flowage Lakeshore Association
CLAM FALLS – The Clam River may soon be running free as the Clam Falls Flowage Dam owned and operated by Northwestern Wisconsin Electric Company appears to be headed for abandonment and removal. NWEC reports that they are scheduled to begin lowering the water level by 4 feet at a rate of 6 inches a day starting as soon as ice is out this spring; however, no WDNR Environmental Impact Study has yet been conducted on the flowage and wildlife around the lake.
The Clam Falls dam was built in 1914 and modified around 1953. It has not produced electricity since 1986. It has a maximum height of 35 feet and impounds the 127-acre Clam Falls Flowage. A bridge in the town of Clam Falls crosses the flowage on CTH I just upstream a few feet from the dam. The flowage itself flows north and bleeds into the upper reaches of McKenzie Creek Wildlife Area. A portion of the Ice Age Trail crosses the Clam River inside the wildlife area and just downstream from the southern reach of the flowage.
The dam received a “significant hazard” rating in May 2017 by the Wisconsin DNR. An NWEC engineering study done by Ayres and Associates determined the dam could remain operational at a cost of $1.5 million.
On Aug. 1, 2019, NWEC made an offer to both the town of Clam Falls and to Polk County. Under the terms, NWEC would transfer ownership of the dam and provide $750,000 for removal and remediation. Both the town and Polk County have subsequently rejected the offer.
The Clam River, McKenzie Creek and Maple Valley Creek flow into the Clam Falls Flowage. Somewhere under that pool of water the two creeks merge into the Clam River, presumably creating a rush of current that creates the falls. Geologically, the area of Clam Falls, and the rolling terrain around it, mark the terminal end of the St. Croix advance of the Superior glacial lobe. Approximately 70 acres of the flowage lie outside the northern boundary of McKenzie Creek Wildlife Area.
The Clam River flows northwesterly from the dam into Clam Lake in southern Burnett County. It emerges out from the lake and begins a 20-mile this-way-that-way flow of crazy oxbow twists and turns before reaching a second dam just below its confluence with the St. Croix River in the Governor Knowles State Park.
Due to the proximity of over 3,000 acres of county/state land, Clam Falls Flowage sustains abundant wildlife in the area including dozens of trumpeter swans that winter in the southern portion of the flowage where ice doesn’t form due to the movement of the incoming creek water; they also nest and raise their young at Clam Falls Flowage. Several species of ducks, including mallards and wood ducks, loons and Canada geese nest and raise their young along the shoreline. Bald eagles build their nests in lakeside trees, depend on the lake for food, and raise their babies. Sandhill cranes, great blue herons, northern pike, bass, crappies, perch, sunfish and bluegills, painted turtles, snapping turtles, beavers, muskrats, otters and any number of other birds, animals and fish are part of the melange of animals living around and in the lake. The Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission has also recently documented that approximately 10 acres of wild rice grows in the flowage.
Also, because of the county/state land being adjacent to the flowage, there is a large percentage of the lakefront that will never be developed, allowing for the small lake to be enjoyed by everyone and not privately owned.
The concern of citizens in the area is that it has not been studied and addressed, what a huge impact removing the dam would have on their small community. Clam Falls is a very typical small Wisconsin town, with one church, one bar, two campgrounds and several cottage industries including a cabin rental business, a boat/pontoon cover business and several area farmers.
There are also other areas of consideration that will in all probability be impacted by removal of the dam. Tourism will decline without a doubt. The two campgrounds on the flowage with a total of over 100 sites will affect over 100 families that usually bring many tourism dollars to the area. Groceries, gas, restaurant meals, money spent on entertainment, etc., will decrease. Land values will be negatively affected and hunting license revenue will also suffer. The Frederic and Lorain fire departments rely on the dry hydrant on the flowage for their water supply in case of a fire in the area. Private wells will also be affected.
Another consideration is who would be responsible for the restoration of the area and to what extent would it be left with the look of a war zone? Who would be responsible for the cost of restoration and how much would that cost?
As a fifth-generation Clam Falls resident and campground owner on the swampy side of the lake has said, “Our lives, as well as the lives of the entire community, would be affected by the removal of the dam because we all enjoy boating, fishing, goose and duck hunting, swimming from the rope swing or jumping off the bridge, canoeing, kayaking or just enjoying a beautiful sunset over the water.”
The fear of the dam removal has been of great concern for the past five years, but now a group of citizens has formed the Clam Falls Flowage Lake Association to raise the funds needed for the annual cost to maintain the dam ($5,000) and to assist with the annual liability insurance cost of $15,000 through membership fees and fundraisers. These expenses to maintain the dam are only going to be needed if a new owner is found for the dam: someone who would partner with the Clam Falls community to keep the flowage and dam intact. Funding is available to help with a portion of the repairs and possible upgrades could enable the dam to be functional and productive once again.
On Saturday, Feb. 15, state Sen. Patty Schachtner arrived in Clam Falls to meet with the CFFLA members and to offer encouragement and advice. Schachtner shared that as natural areas like the Clam Falls Flowage are slowly disappearing, so is the enjoyment of outdoor sportsmanship and fishing, wild ricing and wholesome nature activities among our youth, who are our future.
See more information at facebook.com/pg/Save-Clam-Falls-Flowage-Dam-1498730010370437/posts/.
Wisconsin Natural Resources Board Elects 2020 Officers
MADISON - The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board elected officers for 2020 calendar year at its meeting Wednesday, Jan. 22, in Madison.
Dr. Frederick Prehn, a dentist and cranberry grower from Wausau, was reelected as chair of the board. Prehn was appointed by Gov. Scott Walker in May 2015. His term expires May 2021.
"I am honored to have the support of the board for second term as chairman. I look forward to 2020 and dealing with the issues of the natural resources of the state of Wisconsin," Dr. Prehn said. "The transparency of our meetings will continue. The doors are wide open for public testimony from throughout the state at remote sites or in person every meeting we have."
In addition to his dental practice, Prehn is a member of Cranberry Growers Cooperative, which represents 35 growers selling cranberry products in 23 countries. He introduced wind and solar energy on a large scale to the cranberry industry and runs two large wind generators and a solar array on his farm.
He also served on the Wisconsin Cranberry Board, which funds research, education, and promotion of Wisconsin cranberries. Prehn is an avid outdoorsman and has held Wisconsin hunting and fishing licenses for over 48 years. He is an active member of many conservation groups such as Whitetails Unlimited, Wisconsin Waterfowl Association and Ducks Unlimited.
Greg Kazmierski, president and owner of Buck Rub Outfitters Ltd. in Pewaukee was reelected vice-chair; his term runs through May 2023. Julie Anderson, director of Racine County Public Works and Development Services, was reelected board secretary; her term runs through May 2021.
The Wisconsin Natural Resources Board sets policy for the Department of Natural Resources; state law delineates the formal duties of the seven-member board. Board members are appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the state senate. Three members each must be selected from the northern and southern portions of Wisconsin and one member serves at large. Terms expire on May 1.
More information about board members, including bios, as well as board meeting dates, locations, agendas and meeting minutes can be found here.
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