Marsh Management Committee
FROM: Andy Nelson, Wildlife Team Leader
SUBJECT: November 6, 2001 Meeting Minutes
I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving
At our November meeting we had a nice
mix of regulars and newcomers to discuss
the full agenda.
We began with a round of management
updates from hunters and managers. The
general consensus was one of disappointment
regarding waterfowl hunting success.
Few hunters reported having consistent
success. Most felt that mild weather
patterns and a lack of frontal systems
helped slow the migration and minimized
flight days. The only exception seemed
to be the Halloween windstorm that seemed
to push a few birds around.
Diane reports that the Refuge continues
to hold substantial numbers of birds.
As a pleasant surprise the main pool
on the refuge has recovered from a summer
of dense algae blooms to provide good
forage for mallards and a variety of
other ducks. Numbers there are strong.
Andy reported that he was still waiting
for permit approvals to proceed with
installation of the new culvert at the
Miescke Impoundment. All supplies are
on hand and ready when approval comes.
At our October meeting we had worked
through a few options for water management
planning for 2002. Out of the discussion
had come a recommendation that we continue
to follow the same pattern of water
management next summer. Briefly, the
plan will be to hold current water levels
at about 75.1 for the winter. We will
begin to lower the Marsh level at the
same time as Lake Sinissippi (Feb. 15th)
in anticipation of spring runoff. We
will then leave the dam fully open through
the summer. At our July meeting we will
determine the desired fall level and
timing of refill.
As many in attendance had anticipated,
the group next began a discussion of
the proposed motorless area a.k.a. the
Wetland Wilderness Area. To start this
topic, Andy provided a brief history
of the proposal, its intent, and the
ground rules for discussion.
Andy next provided a summary of the
public use survey. This survey was placed
at the boat landings around the marsh.
It was also provided to individuals
who contacted the DNR office specifically
to obtain the survey. This limited distribution
was done intentionally to focus the
survey responses from actual Marsh boaters.
This narrow focus was selected because
this group is most directly affected
by the proposal.
Over 100 surveys were received from
October 1 through November 4. Of those,
roughly 2/3 of the respondents did not
favor restricting motor use in any way.
In general these folks visited the Marsh
an average of 18 times per year primarily
for hunting. These folks were likely
to use outboard motors or "Go-Devil-type"
motors as their primary means of navigation.
They seldom noted any user conflicts
on the Marsh and did not view other
boats as an impediment to their enjoyment
of the Marsh.
Roughly 1/3 of survey respondents favored
some form of motor restriction. These
folks visited the Marsh an average of
16 times per year, primarily for hunting
purposes. These users were likely to
use outboard motors or skiffs to navigate
the Marsh. These users rarely use "go-devil"
type motors to access the Marsh.
Through the course of discussion, people
representing both points of view reached
consensus on several points. These include:
There is mutual concern for the quality
of wildlife habitat and hunting opportunity
on the Marsh.
The MMC should continue to explore
options that will achieve improvements
in these areas.
There is disagreement over the degree
to which motor restrictions would help
improve wildlife habitat and hunting
opportunity on Horicon marsh.
The majority of public respondents
do not believe that implementing motor
restrictions will result in the desired
improvements to wildlife habitat and
As a result of this discussion, the
group decided to conclude its consideration
of the Wetland Wilderness proposal.
Accordingly, the Conservation Congress
will be asked to remove the matter from
consideration for the 2002 Spring Hearings.
Editor’s Note: I would like
to thank everyone for his or her candid
and considerate participation in this
debate. This topic has proven to be
one of the more internally challenging
issues with which the MMC has had to
wrangle. Though there was great potential
to do otherwise, this issue has been
a positive, strengthening issue for
the MMC. As a result, we now have more
interest and more help in our continuing
efforts to better the Marsh. Thank You!
As we have done with some regularity
in recent months, we again discussed
formation of a Fundraising Committee.
While we have a list of projects and
a road map for the future development
of the Marsh, we do not currently have
access to the financial resources to
bring these plans into reality.
Andy noted that his position with DNR
limits his ability to directly solicit
funds and follow up on leads. However,
he is in an excellent position to support
fundraising efforts by providing information,
visual aids, and access to the resources
to help a fundraising committee demonstrate
the need for additional support. As
a result, a separate group of volunteers
is needed to help spearhead the drive
for funding to complete the many projects
envisioned by the MMC.
The ideal Fundraising Committee member
will be someone with a deep interest
in the future of the Marsh as well as
a personal knowledge of its recent history.
A flexible schedule will be highly desirable
to allow for time to meet with other
committee members and to pursue prospective
contributors. At least some of these
people should be local to provide for
community networking. Others should
be from the major metro areas of the
state to provide corporate contacts.
Involvement with major conservation
organizations is also needed from some
members. Previous fundraising experience
is a major plus. Financial management,
tax, and legal skills are highly desirable
If you possess one or more of the attributes,
can exude passion and conviction for
Horicon Marsh at the drop of a hat,
and can commit yourself to this effort
for at least one year, then WE WANT
YOU! To volunteer for the MMC Fundraising
Committee, please contact Andy at 920-387-7868
to discuss your interest.
After some discussion, a few folks
volunteered and nominated others to
participate on this committee to one
degree or another. Todd Cook, Jerry
Voy, and Peter Zeigler have all volunteered
for duty on this committee. Additionally,
Brian Johnson was nominated as a potential
candidate. In the coming weeks, additional
volunteers will be sought to round out
a core group of fund-raisers who can
begin work in 2002.
Our final topic for the night was a
brief summary of the 2001 vegetation
survey results. In a nutshell, our plant
development was less spectacular than
2000 due to severe algae blooms in June
and July. However, by August the bloom
subsided enough to allow a modest recovery
by sago pondweed. Overall, 2001 saw
a slight decline in plant diversity
and a moderate decrease in submerged
plant densities. We will continue to
monitor the plant growth next year to
see how we fare. Hopefully, the algae
bloom will not appear and we can get
a truer reading on how well carp control
is working to support plant growth.
Our next meeting is Wednesday, December
5 at 6:30 at the DNR Headquarters. I
hope you all can join us! And don’t
forget to bring a friend! Happy Holidays
to all that will not be able to join
Our Agenda will include:
Deer Season Recap
Muskrat Survey Volunteers
Fundraising Committee Formation
Nest Success Initiative
In recognition that our meeting schedule
horizon is nearing its end, we took
a few minutes to schedule our January
meeting. Please mark your calendars
for January 8, 2002. This will be our
first MMC meeting of the year. I anticipate
we will have a special presentation
at this meeting. So, join us Dec. 5th.