Lyons told reunion attendees about different experiences he’s had on the river over the years, helping to spread the word about how special it is. He said he appreciated the opportunity to reach the public with positive messages about the river and how important it is to be protected. He remembers a photo session with a team from National Geographic, which was doing a special program on paddlefish, and wanted to film them in their natural habitat.
“Over the years, it’s been wonderful working with FLOW and seeing good things happen,” Lyons said. “I have always been impressed with the breadth of FLOW’s work and interests in the Riverway, beyond the river itself and the fish, they have worked and brought attention to a wide range of important topics. , from spiders to agroforestry to water quality monitoring.
starhead top minnow
Lyons said he was particularly proud of a project the FLOW science team had undertaken to preserve a rare and endangered species in the river – the Starhead Topminnow. Lyons had worked on the project with science team members Dave Marshall and Jean Unmuth, as well as other FLOW volunteers.
“Dave Marshall is the one who recognized that this species, which inhabits swamps and channel lakes, was in decline due to water quality issues related to agricultural practices on river terraces and nitrate leaching at through the shallow, sandy groundwater system,” Lyons mentioned. “Dave raised thousands of fish in a pond on his rural property, and we managed to reintroduce the species to the river above the Prairie du Sac dam.”
Funding of $90,900 was received from the Prairie du Sac Dam Aquatic Resources Enhancement Fund for the project over a four-year period, and a total of five scientists worked on the project.
To learn more about the project, visit the Friends of the Lower Wisconsin River website.
Lyons said the science team wanted to try the same with other endangered species in the Riverway system such as Lake Chubsucker. Marshall recently applied for a grant from the committee that administers the Prairie du Sac Dam Mitigation Fund, created to offset the unavoidable impacts of the hydroelectric dam. This committee is made up of representatives from Alliant Energy, US Fish & Wildlife, WDNR and the River Alliance of Wisconsin. Marshall requested $44,650 to pursue this project. Applicants will be notified of grants in March 2022.
Contacted after the meeting, Lyons explained that approximately $27,000 per year is placed in the fund and that historically there has been a lack of funding proposals, meaning funds have accumulated in the account. held by the Natural Resources Foundation.
He said the lake chubsucker is a “species of interest” for the WDNR and has essentially disappeared in the river upstream of the Prairie du Sac dam. He attributed the decline to a combination of factors. One factor was the pollution inherited from the river system in the 1950s and 1960s by paper mills, and the other is the natural fluctuation of the species due to temperature variations.
“The Wisconsin River is at the northern limit of Lake Chubsucker’s range,” Lyons explained. “Before the dams were built, if you had a warmer year the species would expand its range further up the river, then a colder year that range would shrink. Now with the dams, if the species dies above the dam, it cannot spread in this range when conditions are more favorable.
Lyons said if a grant is received, he and other members of the FLOW science team would undertake a project with the Lake Chubsucker similar to one recently successfully completed with the Starhead Topminnow.
Lyons said he also applied for another $15,000 grant to study a population of Banded Killifish that has been identified in Lake Wisconsin, where the species has never existed before.
“This is the only known population of this fish in the Wisconsin River system, although the species can be found elsewhere in Wisconsin,” Lyons said. “We want to investigate to help determine if this is a native population or if it was introduced into the system through bait buckets or some other mechanism. Ultimately, our goal would be to develop some sort of management plan for the species.
At their board meeting which took place on Wednesday February 2 and their annual meeting on Saturday February 5, the FLOW board and members approved changes to the FLOW board .
At the February 2 board meeting, longtime board member and former Riverway Champion Award recipient Ned Hodgson announced he was stepping down from the board and that this would be effective immediately. after the meeting. Board Chairman Don Golembiewski thanked Hodgson for his many years of service.
Golembiewski had worked prior to the board meeting with Jennifer Moore-Kerr and Timm Zumm on a board nominating committee. Their recommendations of Patrick Michaels, Susan Graham and Allyson Scoien were approved by the board. Following Hodgson’s resignation, Dave Marshall of the FLOW science team was also appointed to the board.
Michaels lives in the Lowery Creek watershed, on the south side of the river, just outside of Spring Green, and works with the Savanna Institute, as CEO of their new agroforestry venture “Canopy.”
Allyson Scoien owns property along the river on Long Lake. This property is the location of some of the FLOW Science Team’s water monitoring wells.
Dave Marshall, a retired WDNR freshwater biologist, is a member of the FLOW science team and a former board member.
Susan Graham, who was unable to attend the meetings due to family issues, helped the science team apply for grants to conduct their research.
The board, as Golembiewski pointed out, can have as few as three and as many as nine members. After the board meeting, there were a total of nine board members. These nine people were President Don Golembiewski, Treasurer Jennifer Lanzendorf, Chuck Rathmann, Dave Krueger, Jennifer Moore-Kerr, Susan Graham, Patrick Michaels, Allyson Scoien and Dave Marshall.
At the annual meeting the following Saturday, board member Jennifer Moore-Kerr announced her retirement and Golambiewski took the nominations for the board. Scientific team members Jean Unmuth proposed, and John Lyons seconded, a motion to appoint River Safety Committee Co-Chair Timm Zumm to the Board. Zumm was confirmed by the members to serve on the board.
Zumm is one of the co-founders of FLOW and has provided years of service to the organization.
In accordance with FLOW Bylaws, the Board will vote on the 2022 Board Leadership positions at its next meeting in March.
In other cases
In other business at the FLOW Board meeting on Wednesday, February 2, the Board:
• understood that the board is looking for a newsletter and electronic news editor, help with updating its bylaws, a technology advisor and a field trip coordinator
• learned from Scientific Committee Chair Jean Unmuth that the WDNR grant application to conduct a study on a borrow pit in the river along Highway 78 had been rejected and that Dave Marshall had applied for a funding to Dane County. Unmuth said such a study would normally cost around $20,000, but the costs would be minimal due to the volunteering of their time by the science team members. She said if Dane County does not fund the study, the committee could apply for $600 in funding to pay for the cost of water chemistry testing through the Wisconsin State Lab of Hygiene.
• Heard from River Safety Committee Co-Chair Dave Krueger that they have asked WDNR for new signs for the “Kids Don’t Float” kiosks at the total of 15 boat landings in the Lower Wisconsin River. He said he was optimistic that WDNR would provide the signs
• agreed that the travel tax rebate would be $0.55 per mile for transporting life jackets between booths, that there would be a $100 limit on purchases, and that meals and travel expenses should be approved in advance by the board of directors
• understood that FLOW will now have a “voice over Internet protocol” (VOIP) telephone number.
In other business at the annual meeting, members:
• learned that FLOW had supported Iowa County Emergency Management in the development of a river safety text alert system, where river users could sign up to receive text alerts when they were on the river by texting “77295” with “river” in the message. River Safety Co-Chair Timm Zumm reported that Iowa County is working with other county emergency management directors all along the river on the safety device, and they would like to present on the FLOW board alert system.
• heard that board member Chuck Rathmann had worked with Carl’s Paddlin’ to add them to the list of FLOW Riverbiz partners who offer discounts to FLOW members
• learned from Treasurer Jennifer Lanzendorf that FLOW started 2021 with a balance of $7,944.45, received $6,600 in donations, had expenses of $6,809.83, and ended 2021 with $7,734.62 $. She said part of the balance is funds that FLOW holds for the Sauk County Conservation Alliance.
• heard that $1,395.32 (21%) of 2021 expenditures were spent on activities, programs and events; $619.96 (nine percent) on membership expenses; $2,479.55 (36%) in software and utilities; $1,700 (25 percent) in donations, grants, and honorariums (River Text Alert Donation); and $615 (nine percent) on business expenses
• understood that in 2021, the membership list included 160 people, with 800 people on the mailing list and thousands of views on the FLOW Facebook page; and that effective immediately, memberships to FLOW 2022 would be available free of charge due to financial hardships related to the pandemic
• learned that Board Member Chuck Rathmann had invested in a company that was looking to offer tin-bismuth fishing tackle as an alternative to lead tackle, which can have a negative impact on Riverway wildlife.