Marsh Management Committee
FROM: Andy Nelson, Wildlife Team Leader
SUBJECT: August 6, 2001 Meeting Minutes
Hello again! It's hard to believe,
but here we are at the end of another
summer and staring a new hunting season
in the eye! I hope the former has been
great and the latter will be even better
for those of you who head afield.
Our meeting began with a chance for
all to check out the Marsh Master. Since
it had been the subject of so many discussions
in recent months, Diane P. brought it
down for a look-see. Andy shared his
experiences operating the machine on
the Marsh. Overall, it is a very useful
machine for gaining access to remote
parts of the Marsh. More importantly,
it is capable of implementing habitat
projects that fulfill some of our pothole
Andy reported on several ongoing
management activities. These include:
• Burnett Impoundment: Mowing
is underway to create openings in the
cattails. Progress has been slow, but
steady. Goal is to mow at least 20 acres
of openings to encourage waterfowl and
muskrat use. Extensive beds of burreed
and arrowhead will provide excellent
food sources upon fall reflooding.
• Prescribed burning: Two burns
were attempted in the area between the
Main Ditch and Miescke Bay. On July
16 and 27. These fires carried moderately
well, showing promise for summer burning
techniques. Burns will be monitored
for plant recovery and muskrat use following
• Pothole restoration via Marsh
Master cattail crushing: Crews operated
the machine 3 days for crushing operations.
Progress was about one acre of crushing
per hour of operation. 15 sites comprising
about 12 acres were crushed. Attempts
were made on sprayed sites and green
cattail. Time will tell on success,
but early appearances are encouraging.
• Cattail spraying: Most sites
were checked via airboat or Marsh Master.
First year results were very encouraging.
Most stems were dead and decomposing.
Live plants were sparse and weak. Another
spray treatment should knock these areas
• Water Levels: Low water persists
for summer drawdown. New growth is prospering
on exposed areas. After burns, mowing,
crushing, etc. is complete; levels will
rise for fall.
• Water Quality: Heavy algae
blooms in Marsh are shading submerged
plants. Very poor water quality is causing
declines and is affecting overall habitat
• Wildlife Use: Shore birds
are just starting to show up. Muskrats
seem to be slightly more common. Many
wading birds. Waterfowl are still a
• Carp: Spot treatments have
ended for the year. A total of 680,000
fish were removed in these treatments.
Carp numbers appear to be higher than
last year at this time. Fall surveys
will tell the tale for certain.
Diane reports staging beginning on
Refuge. Many late broods as well. It
seems there was abundance of late nests.
Water quality problems are similar on
Refuge with submerged plants taking
We also briefly discussed trapping
auction plans for the fall. Andy recited
last year’s regs for discussion
purposes. These are: entire state end
of Marsh open for Upland trapping (anything
but muskrats, otter, mink), dike units
open for all species, but rat trapping
restricted to dikes, one otter per trapper
only. I-3 impoundment is reserved for
Trapper Ed. Graduates. Andy reported
that rat numbers seem to be on slight
increase throughout Marsh. Due to improving
habitat conditions in certain impoundments,
we expect that numbers will rise. After
a short discussion these regs were approved
for 2001-02 trapping as well.
Once again, we discussed the Wetland
Wilderness Area. Andy shared a draft
survey with the group. This survey was
designed to be conducted for the latter
part of summer and throughout the hunting
season. Much discussion followed. Specific
concerns related to survey methods,
assuring fairness, preventing ballot
stuffing, and an overall discussion
of the merits of the issue. Through
discussion, there was consensus on the
usefulness of the survey, provided it
was handled fairly. This means that
those people surveyed need to provide
a name and address so those repeats
can be sorted out. Andy will make slight
revisions to the survey and proceed
to gather responses. A copy of the survey
is enclosed for you to complete and
return. This issue will next be discussed
at our November meeting.
Andy reports that Delta Waterfowl Foundation
is interested in visiting Horicon Marsh
to determine its suitability for a Nest
Success study. Serge Lariviere, Scientific
Director, Delta Waterfowl Foundation,
Portage la Prairie, Manitoba will tour
the Marsh and its surrounding lands
on September 10. Wisconsin Waterfowl
Association and Wisconsin Trappers Association
are sponsoring this visit. Following
his tour and meetings with local Biologists,
Mr. Lariviere will provide a public
program at the USFWS Horicon Refuge
headquarters at 7 p.m. All MMC members
are invited to attend. The event sponsors
suggest a $5 donation at the door, with
all funds going towards nest success
efforts on the Marsh.
Fundraising was another topic of discussion.
Brian Johnson, Jeff Kotnick, Mike Borzick,
and Gary Kahlhammer have been working
to organize a habitat sponsor decal
sale for the Marsh. This independent
effort will begin at the DU Great Outdoor
Festival and continue through the fall.
The goal of the effort is to raise up
to $7,500 to fund wild rice plantings,
northern pike rearing pond construction,
and pothole restoration. All MMC members
are encouraged to help this cause by
selling decals at your local clubs or
organizations. To obtain decals and
sale information, please attend the
next meeting! Your help is needed! Many
thanks to these enthusiastic Marsh lovers
for their initiative!
Andy also reported that he has begun
organizing a NAWCA grant application.
A handout on the criteria for this grant
was provided to those in attendance.
This matching grant uses any non-federal
money expended on wetland habitat restoration
and protection, including nest cover
establishment and management to generate
grant funds. The grant accepts match
funds expended 2 years prior to application
and 2 years after. Restorations, plantings,
acquisitions, easements, and donations
all count as match funds. So, we hope
to use funds from the Bachhuber Flowage
and other recent projects from within
the Horicon Marsh watershed to compile
up to $2 million match funds. This could
return up to $1 million in grant dollars.
We need partners for this grant to
work! If you or your organizations have
been or plan to be involved in wetland/grassland
work please let Andy know. You may be
a potential partner for this grant.
Speaking of donation…. I am
pleased to announce that our habitat
projects have received a couple gracious
donations in recent weeks.
Longtime MMC member Keith White and
his wife recently donated $1,500 for
the improvement of the Miescke Impoundment!
Thanks to this gift, we are moving ahead
with permit applications and plans to
install a new water control structure
in the dike. This new structure will
give us management capabilities on the
north lobe of the impoundment. We will
use this capability to rear an additional
100,000 northern pike fry each spring.
Many thanks to the White family for
this great gift!
Also, MMC newcomer Cliff Bertling gave
us a big boost by telling of our plans
and needs at the Mapleton Hook and Shell
Club. Thanks to Cliff’s persuasive
presentation to the club, we have received
a $500 donation to be applied towards
pothole restoration on the Marsh. I
am pleased to report, that we have already
encumbered the funds for this year’s
pothole work! Thank you Cliff and Mapleton
Hook and Shell!
Finally, we have $210 in hand from
The Citizens Natural Resource Association
and WWA-Kettle Moraine Chapter for wild
rice plantings. I anticipate purchasing
seed one more time this fall as we hope
to get our new rice beds up and running
on their own. Hopefully, our water quality
will allow for better growing conditions
These gifts are just the tip of the
iceberg of commitment that MMC members
have shown to the Marsh over the years.
Your time, talent, and wisdom are truly
appreciated. I look forward to working
with you in the future as we continue
to strive to bring this big Marsh back
to prime condition.
Let’s keep our momentum rolling
by turning out for the next MMC meetings.
These are scheduled as follows:
All meetings will run 6:30 p.m. to
9:00 p.m. at the DNR Headquarters. Bring
a friend! Thanks to all who have continued
to support the committee for the past
3 years and welcome to our new friends!
On September 4, our agenda will
Pothole Restoration efforts
Nest Success Initiative