LOWER WISCONSIN RIVER – The Friends of the Lower Wisconsin River (FLOW) received a very interesting report from their science team members at the May 19 meeting held at Grandma Mary’s Café in Arena.
The team has received three grants to fund their work in 2022 – two from the Prairie du Sac Dam Aquatic Resources Enhancement Fund and another from Dane County.
Through the Prairie du Sac Dam Aquatic Resources Enhancement Fund, the group was funded for a project to restock the lake chubsucker above the Prairie du Sac Dam, where populations have declined, and to study Banded Killifish populations in Lake Wisconsin. From Dane County, the group was funded to conduct a water quality study of an artificial lake created from a borrow pit on Highway 78.
Dave Marshall reported that 47 lake suckers, mostly juveniles, had been collected from Jones Slough and placed in his pond so far.
“The Lake Chub Sucker takes longer to mature than the Starhead Topminnow, and individuals currently in the pond may not spawn this year,” Marshall told the group. “When I first encountered Jones Slough in 2002-2003 it was pristine, but now it’s getting so choked with mid-summer algae growth that ‘you can almost walk on it’, and the levels of oxygen are totally depleted, making it a terrible habitat for fish.
Marshall said he, along with science team members Jean Unmuth and John Lyons, had worked with members of the Lake Wisconsin Alliance to conduct surveys of Banded Killifish.
“Our work is driven by the fact that populations appear to be increasing in Lake Wisconsin, while declining elsewhere, and our job is to try to find out why and come up with a management plan for the species,” Marshall explained.
He reported that on August 27, members of the science team will provide a report to the Lake Wisconsin Alliance at their annual meeting.
Highway 78 Lake
Marshall reported that the science committee had secured a $600 donation from Dane County to sample water from a 20-acre lake that had been built by the Wisconsin DOT as a sand borrow pit for a construction of Highway 78 in 1991.
“Jean Unmuth, Sue Graham, Tim Larson and I are working on the project, which will involve three months of water quality sampling, a fish survey and an aquatic plant survey,” Marshall said. “We believe the man-made lake is an ideal habitat for fish, likely because it is fed with unpolluted water from Blackhawk Ridge.”
He said that last summer the group filled Starhead Lake Topminnows and planned to track and check on their progress. He said the lake has no name and does not appear in the WDNR database of lakes.
“The science team plans to hold a naming contest for the lake and then submit the winning name to the WDNR Geographic Names Board, which meets every October,” Marshall reported.
In the past, before the COVID-19 pandemic, FLOW had sponsored an annual symposium on the state of the river. At their May 19 meeting, the board voted unanimously to support science team member Jean Unmuth in pursuing a “river planning grant” to plan a symposium in 2023.
“Susan Graham volunteered to be part of the planning group, and I’ve been in touch with WDNR biologist Kim Krueger about the grant application which is due September 2,” Unmuth explained.
After discussing the various venue options for the symposium, Dave Marshall suggested that the request be for one year rather than two, and that the group consider using the funds to secure a venue with good acoustics.
The discussion suggested holding the event as an indoor/outdoor event, with more hands-on components, tours and discussion forums. Possible locations discussed include Wintergreen Resort and White Oak Savanna between Spring Green and Dodgeville.
FLOW president Timm Zumm reported “non-stop” activity since the group’s April meeting. “Everyone is doing something,” Zumm said.
He reported that he and John Jensen had been at the Avoca Boat Landing just before the meeting, along with Mark Cupp and Dawn Dahms of the Muscoda-Avoca-Blue River Lions Club, for a photo at the new ‘Kids Don’t Float’ Booth. of life jackets.
“John Jensen and I set up the booth on Saturday, May 14, thanks to generous donations of time, money and materials,” Zumm said. “The Muscoda Lions donated $500, Avoca resident Dawn Dahms made a generous donation and Tri-County Building Supply donated the use of an auger and gave the group a lot building materials.”
Zumm reported that he took Flo the Paddlefish and Bowie the River Dog to the Cross Plains Trout Days event, and many children interacted with them. He said he also intended to participate in the Muscoda Morel Mushroom Fest Parade, but an emergency on the river with an injured pelican caused him to change his plans.
“I received a phone call from a paddler on the river following an injured pelican just before I was supposed to leave for Muscoda,” Zumm said. “I went home, dropped Flo off, picked up the boat and worked with WDNR wildlife biologist Ben Gruber to capture the pelican.”
Zumm said the bird’s fate is unknown because wildlife rehabilitation clinics are not accepting wild birds at this time due to avian flu.
In other cases
In other cases counsel:
• learned that the four new sets of car magnets have been received and deployed
• agreed to remove the business card Twitter account, add the new phone number, and Zumm is researching different printing and pricing options, and will report back at the next meeting
• filed a discussion on securing important documents, in a physical or virtual “safe”.
• learned from reporter Gillian Pomplun that she attended a meeting in Lancaster on Monday where the Southwest Wisconsin Groundwater and Geology Study (SWIGG) final report was released, documenting the risks for groundwater and well quality in southwestern Wisconsin. She said the report summary and full report can be downloaded from the Iowa County Extension website.
• Pomplun also reported that the WDNR has approved the WPDES water quality permit for the Roth Feeder Pigs II CAFO in Marietta Township (Crawford County). She said the Notice of Final Determination can be downloaded from the MNR website and her story on it can be found at www.swnews4u.com
• discussed holding a future meeting at Allyson Scoien’s or the nearby park, so that they can take samples from the monitoring wells located on his property.