Maintenance Committee Meetings

Maintenance Committee Meeting with WDNR 11/27/23

Kasey Yallaly, Nate Anderson, Tom Schnadt, Randy Arnold, Missie Hanson, Scott Wagner

The committee reports that the four-year Maintenance Plan on prior habitat projects are mostly up-to-date with the following exceptions:

  1. A small section on lower Pine Creek has box elders that need to be brushed and cut.
  2. The Red Cabin site needs about a day of buckthorn removal and spraying.
  3. A Pine Creek fishing path is being mowed each year, but really needs to be burned to knock the Reed Canary grass back.
  4. The South Fork of Kinni fishing path was receiving some care from Pheasants Forever Organization, but they have discontinued maintaining the path. Reed Canary grass and willows continue to be a big problem on this site.
  5. The Potton easement on Kinnickinnic and Parker Creek needs brushing.
  6. The Pearson easement on Parker Creek needs brushing.
  7. Gutting easement on Trimbelle will need mowing or brushing if the current new owner doesn’t get livestock to graze it. The new owner might not have a clear understanding of how the DNR easement on his land works. Kasey Yallaly (WDNR) will try to clarify easement rules with the new landowner (Harris).

Summary of other actions

The Prairie Enthusiasts Organization will be contacted to determine if they have any interest in burning projects on Pine Creek and South Fork of Kinni.

Mowing in 2023 was done by Extreme Excavating and they did a great job. The cost of the mowing was $16,800 and it was paid for by a combination of Trout Stamp and Parks Maintenance dollars, and a Gift Fund, which Kiap-TU-Wish has contributed to.

Sites mowed this year were: Cady Creek, Pine Creek and Trimbelle Hwy W walking paths, Gilbert-Throud’s easement, Gilbert Triangle, Trimbelle-Holst, and Kinni-Red Cabin sites.

 Habitat Projects completed in 2023 were:

  1. Trimbelle-Thom easement: 3,500 feet, 30 boulder clusters, 2 ERO’s, 2 islands, 4 spawning riffles, 28 root wads and 3 rock V-weirs.
  2. Parker Creek: started a major project that will be completed in 2024. Everything is prepped and ready for rock hauling this winter. So far, 1,720 feet, 2 spawning riffles, 22 root wads, 4 boulder clusters, 1 rock V-weirs, 2 islands and 1 current deflector have been installed.

Habitat Projects scheduled for 2024 are:

  1. Parker Creek: remaining 3,500 feet of project west of Pleasant Ave bridge.
  2. Plum Creek-Martin easement: 3,600 feet on both banks, upstream from Von Holtum easement.
  3. Kinni-Moody easement: 2,700 feet on one bank.

 ERO Structures on South Fork of Kinni:

  1. Loren Haas submitted a report that additional ERO structures are needed to continue flushing sand that has been clogging the South Fork of Kinni. There isn’t any cost-effective way to prevent the sand from entering the South Fork that comes from two large degraded ravines on the SE side of the South Fork headwaters. Loren is proposing 18 additional ERO Structures. Nate Anderson (WDNR) has reviewed Loren’s report and has walked the South Fork project site with Loren. Cost for rock would be approximately $15,000. The Kiap-TU-Wish board will be asked to consider using funds dedicated to the project to purchase rock this winter, so that project can move forward in late 2024 or early 2025.

Kasey Yallay and Nate Anderson noted that the State of Wisconsin is instituting 7% across the board budget cuts and that the DNR’s budget is going to get hit hard. This will make funding difficult for new habitat projects and maintaining existing habitat projects for the next couple of years. The State Council of TU will be contacted to make sure Trout Stamp funds will be used appropriately.

Maintenance Committee Meeting with Pierce County Soil Conservation 12/07/23

Rod Webb, Rhetta Isakson (both from Pierce County), Kasey Yallaly, Nate Anderson, Randy Arnold, Missie Hanson, Tom Schnadt, Scott Wagner

Rod mentioned what a great job Jeff Jackson, DNR CAFO representative for the area, has been doing educating farmers about what they can do to improve their water quality and in gaining their cooperation in implementing additional conservation practices to their operations. Tom suggested inviting Jeff Jackson to speak about his work with farmers at an upcoming Kiap-Tu-Wish meeting.  Missie Hansen will bring this suggestion to the board. Note: Jeff Jackson has been a frequent volunteer with Kiap-TU-Wish volunteer workdays and Rush River clean up days.

Rod and Rhetta went over WAV data sampling of phosphate levels from many different locations in Pierce County. WAV workers and volunteers are also collecting temperature data on the streams they are monitoring. Rod is very interested in the data that Kiap-TU-Wish volunteers under Kent Johnson’s direction have been collecting over the years. Tom Schnadt asked if this data had been moved to a public server, yet, and if so, if Kiap-TU-Wish partners had been notified of its location. Tom asked that this be given a high priority if it hasn’t happened yet. This will bring this to the attention of the Kiap-TU-Wish Board and Communications Committee.

Rod went over a number of erosion mitigation projects that his office worked on during 2023. Besides projects that his office continues to work on in the uplands above the South Fork of the Kinni, Rod mentioned that there isn’t funding for the huge projects that would be needed to trap sand below the two eroded ravines on SE side of South Fork headwaters.

Rod also talked about 4 counties (St. Croix, Pierce, Dunn and one other county) getting together to apply for federal dollars to fund some large streambank stabilization projects administered through the NRCS in the future.

Tom suggested bringing the St. Croix County Soil and Water Conservation office into this meeting and collaborator discussion group. Scott will contact Tim Schreiber from St. Croix County to invite him into this discussion group.

The Drift – May 2020

Robins, pussy willows, bloodroot, blooming round-lobed hepatica, drumming yellowbellied sapsuckers, fresh-cut alfalfa, dandelions, screaming—oweeEEEK!—wood ducks , busy chipmunks and gobbling turkeys. All sights, sounds and a few familiar smells of spring, and all signs of hope in the world after a long, grey winter and what seems like years of dealing with coronavirus. Spring is here and happening in our very midst! But first, here are a few important items since our last in-person chapter meeting.

Board Elections: Since we had to cancel our April Chapter Meeting (which serves as our annual business meeting) we weren’t able to have board elections. This year, we had two board members (Perry Palin and Maria Manion) who completed their board terms and two chapter members (Dustin Wing and Scot Stewart) who were nominated for three-year terms. Our chapter bylaws allow the board to appoint new board members to fill spots that are vacated between annual business meetings, and given these circumstances, the Kiap-TU-Wish board elected Dustin Wing and Scot Stewart to serve one-year terms. This will fill the vacant board seats for now and give chapter members the opportunity to vote on extending the terms for these candidates at the first available opportunity, which will be next year’s Annual Business Meeting. Welcome to the Board, Dustin and Scot!

Departing Board Members: New board members joining also means prior board members leaving. This is always a bittersweet occurrence for me after having worked, played and gotten to know departing board members over the previous three to six years. We’re a pretty close board. We meet every month and members communicate frequently between board meetings. Sure, we don’t agree about everything and occasionally have long, spirited discussions, but we all share a common love for our coldwater resources and normally, with the support of and input from chapter members like yourself, we come to a consensus on most things. Departing board members this year are Maria Manion (who was RipRap’s editor and wrote grants for the Kinni’s Red Cabin project) and Perry Palin (who served as our Polk County outreach coordinator and seat of wit and wisdom). Maria is a design professional, a dedicated volunteer, an ardent fly fisher, and a good person who is simply a pleasure to work with. As editor of RipRap for the past six years, Maria’s finished product each month IS Kiap-TUWish for 70% of our nearly 400 members who can’t attend chapter meetings or other chapter activities. And what does one say about Perry? In addition to being a tireless advocate for his beloved Trout Free Zone, or TFZ as Perry refers to it, he is probably one of the most experienced and talented fly fishers and fly tiers in the chapter, if not in the state. For at least 10-12 years, Perry has tied boxes of flies that are given out as door prizes in honor of his friend, Dry-Fly Dick Frantes. Perry has also made use of his career in human resources and labor negotiations to give the board the long view on dealing with issues we face from time to time. Perry helped organize our annual chapter meetings in Polk County for our “northern” members, and even helped teach a few of us how to fish. But most of all, we will miss Perry’s dry wit, his gift for story-telling and his dogged insistence that there aren’t any trout north of Highway 8, in his beloved TFZ! Thank you Maria and Perry for your service. Our chapter is better because of it.

Spring Appeal: By now you’ve probably noticed that you didn’t receive your annual Spring Appeal donation request. The Spring Appeal Committee had everything ready to go when the coronavirus stay-at-home orders hit. The committee recommended, and the board agreed, that it just wasn’t appropriate for us to be asking for money when some members were without work, others were watching their retirement savings plummet and still others might have been sick. You’ve all been very generous with your donations in the past and will be again in the future. So for right now we’re going to rely on your past generosity to carry forward our shared coldwater conservation mission.

May Chapter Meeting with WIDNR via ZOOM: Last but not least is our May chapter meeting with the WIDNR. This is normally the best-attended chapter meeting of the year, because Nate Anderson talks about past and future habitat projects AND Kasey Yallaly shares her trout survey data from the past year. Nothing gets our membership to chapter meetings like the possibility of finding new places to fish! We just couldn’t forgo this meeting, so we’re going to have a virtual meeting via Zoom. In case you haven’t heard of it, Zoom is a free app that allows for group meetings of up to 100 participants to take place from your computer or smartphone. You can even dial in and participate in a Zoom meeting from an analog phone. It really isn’t that hard to do. Believe it or not, even I can Zoom! Social media professional and chapter member Chad Borenz will set up the meeting and make sure it is secure. He will also send us a Zoom meeting link; the first 100 people who click on the link can enter the meeting. Kasey Yallaly and Nate Anderson will present over Zoom and you will be able to see their screens on your computer or smartphone. I’m also guessing Kasey and Nate will be willing to email you their presentations after the Zoom meeting. PLEASE NOTE: In order to attend the Zoom meeting, you will need to (1) DOWNLOAD AND (2) INSTALL ZOOM BEFORE YOU (3) CLICK ON CHAD’S ZOOM MEETING LINK.

And now back to the first robin, pussy willows, spring wild flowers, noisy wood ducks and gobbling turkeys. All of these remind us that SPRING IS REALLY HERE! We really did make it through the long, grey winter and the world around us really is
springing to new life again. In some ways, the coldwater resources we’ve worked so hard on for so long are doing better than
some of us are doing this spring. My dad used to say, “Hope springs eternal in the human breast!” He would say it partly in jest, with an Irish twinkle in his eye, but he was partly serious, too. He said it to encourage us to take heart and to have some hope, when we were discouraged about something going on with friends or at school. I believe we can all take heart in the natural signs of spring happening around us right now.
And in the meantime, get out there and fish!
—Scott Wagner

The Drift – Apr 2020

We’ve made a lot of progress! When you think about it, we’ve made a lot of progress environmentally in the past 40-50 years. When I was a kid, I was sick with asthma and had to stay at home a lot. I was inside all day. It drove me nuts. I had to do something, so I hammered together birdfeeders and set them up all over the yard. Then I could at least watch something wild outside from inside. In the summer, I hunted butterflies unceasingly, or at least until flower and ragweed pollen sent me home sneezing and short of breath. I joined the Audubon Society so I could get Audubon Magazine and read about far-off natural places, and also to get the mimeographed paper newsletter telling about the wild things going on locally in St. Paul. One January, our local Audubon Society leaders announced that on Christmas Day, they had seen a Bald Eagle—a Bald Eagle!—flying over the Mississippi River in St. Paul. Nobody believed them. Eagles simply didn’t exist any more in the countryside surrounding the Twin Cities, or even up north for that matter. Sure, there were a few in the mountains out West and more in Alaska, but in the Twin Cities? The Audubon Society leaders should have known better than to start rumors like that. We all knew by that time that widespread usage of DDT in the U.S. to control mosquito populations after the Korean Conflict had killed off all the hawks and eagles and other raptors. We later learned that DDT, ingested into female raptors, caused them to lay soft eggs that were crushed during incubation. So, there weren’t any more Bald Eagles in St. Paul, or anywhere else within reach of a 10-year-old kid on a bike. There was about as much chance of seeing a live eagle then, as there was of seeing a live Triceratops in the lobby of St. Paul’s Science Museum.

Then there were the Canada Geese, the giant sub-species—or whatever they called them— that were also going extinct, presumably for the same reason. One cold winter morning, my parents stuffed the four then-existing Wagner children into their green Plymouth Country Squire station wagon and headed for Rochester, Minnesota. The destination was the warm water discharge of a power plant in Rochester where, supposedly, 25-30 of these big honkers were hanging out for the winter. We got there and sure enough, there they were there, 25-30 giant Canada Geese. We stood outside the car and stared at them until we got cold, then we all piled back in the station wagon and headed back home. My parents wanted us to see these giant honkers before they went extinct. They had read somewhere that even if the DDT situation got corrected, there wouldn’t be enough of the geese left to sustain a viable population. So, the big geese were as good as extinct, even though there were still a few hanging around power plants and such. And then there were other things that weren’t extinct, but were gone from our area for good, as the old timers used to say. In all our wanderings, we NEVER even heard of anyone seeing a wild Turkey, a Sandhill Crane, or a Pelican, let alone seeing completely extirpated (locally extinct) species like Trumpeter Swans and Peregrine Falcons.

Then along came Rachel Carson who wrote Silent Spring which started a grassroots movement that resulted in federal legislation banning the use of DDT. Other grass-roots movements of conservationminded individuals sprang up, and existing organizations like the Audubon Society grew in membership and influence, and teachers started teaching about conservation. The states got involved with Aldo Leopold from UW-Madison writing A Sand County Almanac and Carrol Henderson from the MNDNR Non-Game Wildlife Fund heading up programs to help restore nongame wildlife, including Trumpeter Swans and Peregrine Falcons. Ordinary citizens got involved and teamed up with federal and state conservation workers, universities, teachers, and for-profit and not-for-profit sectors to bring back the environment and wildlife that we had lost through DDT, water pollution and air pollution. Now, you can’t drive anywhere without seeing large flocks of Canada Geese. There are probably scores of grounds keepers at city parks and golf courses that would be a lot happier today if we had been a little less successful in our Canada Goose restoration efforts.

But it doesn’t end there. I regularly see half a dozen Bald Eagles on my way to work in the morning. (Sometimes I even see them flying over the Mississippi River in St. Paul!) Spring, summer and fall, I see Trumpeter Swans, Sandhill Cranes, Wild Turkey and all manner of hawks and falcons, as I drive between customers’ locations in the East Metro and Western Wisconsin. We REALLY HAVE made a lot of progress in the last 40-50 years.

But what happened to all the amphibians that used to be around? I remember so many frogs coming out on roads between swamps up north that the roads would actually get greasy from dead frogs. Gross, I know. I thought it was gross then, too. The point is that there was an abundance of frogs then.

I also remember that there was a certain night or two each summer when all the female snapping turtles somehow knew that this was the night to crawl out of their ponds to lay their eggs. How did they all seem to know what night to come out on? I remember more painted turtles being around lakes and streams, and tiger salamanders being in just about every pond, roadside ditch or anywhere else that was wet for part of the summer. Where are they all now? Sure, there are still some of the above species around, but there are not anywhere near the numbers that were around when I was a kid. Where did they go? What happened to them? Last summer, I saw a lone tiger salamander marching across our driveway. Its skin was dry and dusty and it looked completely out of place. It looked like a member of the French Foreign Legion that tried to escape by walking across the desert and got so dried out and miserable that it decided to go back to camp again.

Something is happening to our amphibians, to the butterflies I used to hunt and to the songbirds I used to watch when I was a kid. Something is happening to them, but I’m not exactly sure what. There isn’t as clear of a smoking gun today as there was back then. There aren’t tons of DDT being sprayed over our swamps and low lying areas. There isn’t nearly raw sewage, or lightly treated industrial wastes, being drained into our rivers and estuaries. Even the air seems cleaner now than it did then. I can remember seeing a brown haze hanging over the Twin Cities when we came back from up north, and that doesn’t seem to be the case anymore. But if amphibians, butterflies and songbirds are all in decline, something still isn’t right.

Something still isn’t right and I believe it’s up to our generation to focus our energy, our intelligence and our cooperative spirits on determining what the root causes of these declines are, as we did 50 years ago. Then, as grass-roots organizations, as educators and concerned citizens, as local, state and national governments, we need to address those causes and correct them, making the same incredible progress in the next 50 years that we’ve made in the past 50 years. We’ve done this before and we can do it again. The why is all around us as we see certain parts of our ecosystem slowly shriveling up and dying. The time is now. The who is you and me and every one of us. The question is when will each of us begin?

In the meantime, we’ve also made an incredible amount of progress in the past 40-50 years in restoring coldwater habitat for coldwater species like TROUT! We are coming upon the best and most productive part of our trout fishing season. So, while you are all contemplating what the little and big things you can do to address the environmental concerns that are before us now, GET OUT THERE AND FISH!

Happy Fishing! —Scott Wagner

The Drift – Mar 2020

Bright, sunny and 22 degrees. Much warmer than the previous two days. Randy Arnold and his merry band of volunteers are clearing an impassible stretch of the upper Kinnickinnic in St. Croix county. Fifteen volunteers showed up this morning, ten of which show up almost every Saturday morning. Four or five other volunteers show up whenever they can, and then there are always one or two new faces. I know my math doesn’t quite add up, but I can’t help it. I’m a banker. The volunteers include both men and women, young and old (I mean “more mature,” of course) and folks from all walks of life. Some drive less than five miles every Saturday to clear brush. Some drive more than 50 miles. Some are certified chainsaw operators. Some are certified in first aid. Some are certified in herbicide application. Pretty much all of them hate European buckthorn and the way this invasive species has turned our streambanks into impenetrable jungles. I’m pretty sure most of them aren’t very fond of box elder trees either and the way this native tree grows up and out of both sides of stream banks and then falls across the water, causing coldwater streams to meander and warm, thereby becoming uninhabitable for trout.

As it turns out there are many, many miles of coldwater trout streams in Polk, St. Croix and Pierce counties in Wisconsin, that have had habitat work done on them in the past and that hold trout, but that are just plain inaccessible because of these two aggressive plant species. Imagine that. We have some of the most productive spring creeks in the world right in our own backyard and we can’t get to them to fish!

That’s where Randy and his merry band of brush-clearing volunteers comes in. Nobody told them that it was an impossible task to clear the many miles of buckthorn and box elder jungles we have here. Or if they told them, they just didn’t listen. Instead, they put on their gloves and pick up their loppers on Saturday mornings, show up at a designated spot and start clearing brush together. Some cut trees and brush. Some cut up downed trees. Some drag brush to the fires. Some start the fires and keep them going. At the end of the morning, all gather around one of the fires to roast hot dogs, eat cookies, and take a look at what they’ve accomplished together. A new, formerly unfishable section of trout stream is now fishable again. What an accomplishment! Regardless of whether the volunteers were able to clear 100 feet or 500 feet in a given morning, they know they’ve made a positive difference. They know they’ve worked together with a group of like-minded individuals to help the environment, to help each other and to help people they don’t even know. One branch, one tree at a time, these volunteers have cleared miles and miles of coldwater stream banks over the years in our area. In their own quite way, they have made huge contributions to our coldwater ecology and trout fishing. And over the years, many of these volunteers have become lifelong friends.

No experience is necessary to join Randy Arnold’s merry band of brush-clearing volunteers. Just a warm pair of work gloves and a pair of boots. Email Randy at randyca999@ if you would like to be added to his volunteer workday email list.
Happy Fishing! —Scott Wagner