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TO: Marsh Management Committee

FROM: Andy Nelson, Wildlife Team Leader

SUBJECT: September4, 2001 Meeting Minutes

Hi everyone! I hope this note finds you enjoying the early fall and all it has to offer. Our September meeting was a great night. We had a nice crowd, new and old faces, and we moved quickly through our agenda. Here are the highlights:

Our meeting began with a series of informational items and management updates. Diane Penttila reported that massive algae blooms have really hurt submerged plant growth on the federal main pool. As a result waterfowl use was less than last year.

On the state end, Andy noted similar water quality problems and reduced waterfowl use of affected areas. Pothole habitat continues to be very productive. Planted wild rice stands did well in Clark’s Ditch and West Lake. Native rice beds did well throughout the east side of the Marsh.

DNR crews completed a second burn of the cattail area east of Steamboat Island. This area had been burned on July 27th. The first fire simply killed green stems, but did not remove them. About 4 feet of re-growth occurred in the burn unit. This area was then re-ignited on August 27th. This fire carried through dead material from earlier fire and scorched stems. However, the second burn was hampered by rising water levels which snuffed the fire’s progress. In all these burns demonstrated the feasibility of repetitive burning of green cattail in the presence of abundant dead fuel and in the absence of water. It remains to be seen whether this repetitive fire regime will result in the decline of cattail stem density or mat persistence in this area. Keep your fingers crossed.

Few hunters among the group had reports from the opening morning of the hunt. Few geese in the area at this time have been a problem for hunters and a relief to local communities.

Andy noted the recent discovery of the West Nile Virus in Wisconsin. This is a virus that affects member of the crow family. Affected animals die quickly. In other species, including humans, the effects are usually mild. However in around 1% of cases can be severe with affects to the nervous system and death possible. Persons finding FRESH dead crows, blue jays, ravens, or hawks should bring the frozen or refrigerated carcasses to a local DNR office.

Next, we took a brief talking tour of the marsh and discussed water levels. Overall, water levels are on the rise. Here is quick summary of levels and targets:

Main pool: near maximum level at this time. Target is 75.1 to 75.2, or roughly 2 inches below Sept. 4 levels.

I-1 and I-2: Maintaining current levels.

I-3: Raise water with rainfall. Will rise about 8 inches, then hold for winter.

Burnett: Actively pumping. Goal is to fill to maximum level by October 1. Currently hard to gauge due to sponge effect of cattail mat.

Greenhead: Currently at Max level. Beavers are maintaining full pool.

Bachhuber: Currently has about a foot of water. Goal is to raise by about 1 foot through pumping. Objective is to provide over-winter water depth for muskrats.

Goosepond: Currently dry. Will re-flood by rain and gravity at end of September.

Miescke: Currently dry. Will re-flood by rainfall. Should fill by early October, weather permitting.

Andy reported that DNR staff and our helicopter contractor successfully completed our second application of herbicide to selected pothole restoration sites. In total 50 acres have been treated for 2 consecutive years. An additional 10 acres were treated for the first time this year. It appears that the spraying went well. We’ll know the full effects next spring as plants green.

A reminder was given that Delta Waterfowl Foundation is planning to visit Horicon Marsh on September 10 to evaluate the area for a potential nest success study. Following the tour a public program will be provided at the HNWR Headquarters. The event is sponsored by Wisconsin Trappers Association and Wisconsin Waterfowl Association.

Finally, the group talked about several fundraising efforts that are ongoing. The largest effort is the pursuit of North American Wetlands Conservation Act (NAWCA) grant funds from US Fish and Wildlife Service. This 2:1 matching program has the potential to return up to $1 million in grant funds for any wetland restoration or protection work including grassland buffer or nesting habitat establishment. Private sector partners are needed to make this project feasible. Partners may contribute cash, in-kind services, habitat restoration costs, easements, or land donations. The catch is that the expenditures or donations must occur between March, 2000 and March, 2004. Please contact Andy if you or your organization are interested in becoming a partner.

Next, we talked about an upcoming grant deadline for Stewardship funds. This grant enables non-profit organizations to apply for 1:1 match funds for development work on state lands. Andy would like a partner to step forward to sponsor another 60 acres of cattail spraying and pothole restoration. The grant deadline is September 15.

Finally, we discussed the independent efforts of the MMC to generate funds for completion of the Redhead Impoundment rearing pond and wild rice plantings via habitat sponsor decal sales. Approximately $135 was generated from sales at the DU festival. Now, additional sales help is needed from each MMC member to reach a modest goal of $1500. At this meeting a number of members took quantities of decals with them to sell at their clubs or among friends. A sign-out list is tracking quantities and return of funds. Sale updates will be provided at each meeting through December.

Our next meeting is scheduled for October 3rd at 6:30 p.m. at the DNR Service Center on Hwy 28. I look forward to seeing everyone there!

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