Greenwood Elementary 4th Grade Service/Learning Day
Three workdays were held in advance of Friday, with volunteers from our chapter cutting the buckthorn and box elder, treating the stumps with herbicide and finally stacking the slash in multiple piles for when the 4th graders could drag the material to a bonfire to be burned up.
When they arrived, the students were given a short talk on safety. They were then formed into two groups, one headed by former DNR fisheries biologist Marty Engel ,who took the students on a nature hike to give them an opportunity to see, up close, the multitude of aquatic bugs present on rocks and woody debris in the stream and to hear about the importance of a healthy riparian corridor.
The other group of students quickly descended upon the brush piles, dragging the slash to the waiting bonfire. The weather was ideal for this event. Precipitation the night before, which had changed from rain to snow, served to wet down the nearby prairie grass and alleviate any chance of the bonfire getting out of control.
In talking with Steve Papp afterwards, he deemed this year’s event another roaring success. These students are also involved with TIC (Trout in the Classroom) at their school and made a recent trip in mid-November to the St. Croix Hatchery, where they got a tour and picked up their trout eggs for the program.
Thanks go out to those who helped cut the material on the 3 staging workdays and to the 8 who turned out to help on Friday: Perry Anderson, Tom Anderson, Michele Bevis, Steve Wardell, John Skelton, Jim Tatzel, Pat Sexton, and Marty Engel. I look forward to continuing this program with Greenwood Elementary for years to come. There will never be a shortage of buckthorn or box elder for these kids to help out with.
I don’t know about the rest of you but, I have been going ‘stir crazy’ from the lack of workdays due to this run of sub-zero temperatures. With a break in the weather forecast for this week, I would like to get out and work to begin wrapping up the brush and tree clearing which was begun at the Lueck site back in December. There is still a good 2-3 double shift days of work remaining before we are finished up here and can move on to another site. If enough volunteers are interested, I will hold a work session on Thursday morning starting at 8:00 and running till noon or 1:00. There will definitely be a workday this Saturday and hopefully there will be enough volunteers to justify both a morning and afternoon shift starting at 8:00 and noon respectively. Please email me at email@example.com if you plan to attend either workday. I will let respondents know by Wed. whether or not there are enough volunteers to proceed with the Thursday workday.
Chainsaw operators must have completed the safety training and have a full complement of safety gear. For those of you dragging and burning brush, bring some good work gloves as well as some clothing which you won’t be upset when a few hot ashes fall on them and burn a hole or two.
Don’t forget that the online Kiaptuwish fundraising banquet is coming up on the 25th. You can visit the website to bid on auctions for gear and trips. Auction Link
You would have a hard time convincing some skeptics that our planet is in the midst of global warming given the temperatures we have been experiencing for the past week. I had hoped that milder weather would arrive for this weekend so that we could resume workdays but, the forecast for this Saturday is calling for an overnight low of -20 and a daytime high of -9 with a wind out of the north in double digits. If and when the weather moderates again, ,look forward to getting back out in the field and finishing up our clearing work at the Lueck site on the Kinni. I might even go so far as to schedule a mid-week workday just to get back in the swing of things. In the meantime, you can check out the auction items available for this year’s online banquet occurring on Feb. 25th. Thanks for all of your volunteer support. To contact Randy Arnold, our volunteer coordinator, or be added to our volunteer email list send email to firstname.lastname@example.org
Our chapter’s monitoring efforts continue, even during a global pandemic! The Willow River is one of the several local rivers and streams that we monitor for water temperature and other variables. In April of 2016, temperature loggers were installed at three locations. One is located at the USGS water-flow monitoring site roughly a quarter mile downstream from Little Falls Dam. The other two are located roughly a quarter mile upstream from the Trout Brook Road bridge, one in the Main Branch and one in the Race.
The 2018 / 2019 data retrieved from the logger in the Race showed a minimum water temperature, in January 2018, of 32.04 degrees Fahrenheit (about as close to freezing as you can get!) to a maximum water temperature, in July 2019, of 76.0 degrees Fahrenheit. From what I’ve learned, this large temperature variance doesn’t bode well for trout populations. The water is too cold in the winter and too warm in the summer. An important thing to note is that this data was collected after the Little Falls Dam was removed.
In 2014 it was determined that the Little Falls Dam needed to be replaced. By the fall of 2015, the draw-down of Little Falls Lake was complete, and the dam was removed. This allowed the river to flow freely until early 2020 when a new dam was constructed, and Little Falls Lake began to fill in. As of today, the lake is nearly 100% full. As our monitoring continues, it will be interesting to see if the dam, and the impoundment behind it, will affect the water temperatures going forward.
Loren Haas, Tom Schnadt, Dustin Wing and I recently looked at some new easement parcels on the Trimbelle with the intent of evaluating their potential as future habitat restoration projects. We hope to weigh the pluses and minuses of these easements in order to make a decision on where to direct our future restoration efforts.
We met at the corner of Highway 10 and County Road O and proceeded downstream to the two Halvorson easements. This is some really nice water that is fishable right now but could benefit from some bank work and tree removal in some spots. An active bald eagle nest near the upstream end of the easement would prohibit any work being done there.
From there we went upriver to the Thompson easement which is just downstream of the bridge at County Road O near the Gaslight. Though this stretch of river is in bad shape, the easement covers only one bank which would make project work not a viable option at this time.
Next up was the Thom easement off of 650th Avenue—a long stretch of water with the easement covering both banks. The lower end is fairly open and fishable at this point but, the upstream portion is a box elder jungle with trees toppled into the wide, sandy bottom channel.
Next up were three new easements on the Harsdorf property just a little downstream of the Highway 65 bridge. The upper two portions of the easement do not currently have any means of legal access short of wading upstream or downstream from the nearest bridge. The lowermost section of easement is currently accessible and showed signs of angler activity (numerous beer cans and bottles near the bridge parking spot). There is currently an active beaver dam halfway up the easement with the water backed up and pooling behind it.
Last but not least, we looked at an easement near Beldenville on Goose Creek, a Trimbelle tributary. It was another box elder jungle with toppled trees and a wide, shallow, sand bottom with few places for trout to hide. A three-foot high beaver dam at the lower end of this easement backed up water for several hundred yards.
Winter Brushing We finished up our winter brushing work in March with a series of four workdays on the Valentine and Krueger easements just upstream of the County Road J bridge on the Kinni. Unfortunately, our work left the Valentines less than delighted with the outcome. We had delayed starting the work for one week because the landowner wished to be present while the work was being done. During the first workday, following a conversation with the landowner, both Loren Haas and I had the impression that we’d been given the green light to cut any and all box elder and buckthorn in the stream corridor, even outside the boundaries of the easement. The landowner was under the mistaken impression that the easement was 28-feet wide while in fact it was 66- feet wide. The landowner took issue with some tag alders that were unfortunately cut with stumps left behind at a higherthan- anticipated height. A subsequent workday was held to re-cut the stumps to near-ground level and to retreat them with herbicide. The outcome from all of this is that more planning will be undertaken for future brushing days with both Kasey Yallaly and myself conducting a site visit to meet with landowners prior to work being done. An effort will also be made to mark trees which are not to be cut as an aid to some of the chainsaw operators who have difficulty distinguishing between species.
Seeding/Mulching Nate Anderson will be working at Plum Creek this summer and we can probably expect to have one or more seeding/ mulching days, provided that they will be allowed under the current restrictions. Get out there and do some fishing. While you are out, let me know if you have a favorite fishing spot where an easement is currently in place but which could use some maintenance work on the bank in order to make it more accessible to fishermen. —Randy Arnold
With the successful completion of the 2019 pilot project, Kiap-TU-Wish anglers will again have the opportunity to monitor Pierce County trout streams and rivers in 2020, using the WiseH2O mApp (mApp). Thanks to those who participated in 2019, and our apologies to those iPhone users who signed up but were unable to use the mApp. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the 2019 project report, you can find it on the MobileH2O website: https://www. mobileh2o.com/anglerscience. This link also takes you to an interactive map that enables you to view the results of all 2019 mApp observations in Pierce County.
We are pleased to report that the iPhone version of the mApp is available, and the 2-in-1 test strips can be used to measure nitrite/nitrate concentrations. The mApp also has an updated look that should be more user-friendly. With these additions and improvements, we can fully implement the Kiap-TU-Wish monitoring plan in 2020 (https://www.mobileh2o.com/anglerscience).
Whether you were one of the 38 anglers who signed up in 2019, or whether you are an interested newcomer, please let John or Kent know if you would like to participate in 2020. The Target Anglers who signed up for 10 designated monitoring sites in 2019 will have the first opportunity to monitor at these locations in 2020. We’ll also continue with the category of General Anglers, who will have the flexibility to monitor throughout Pierce County.
Once John and Kent compile a list of 2020 project participants, we’ll send more details by e-mail in March and April. For those who are interested, it may also be possible to organize mApp training sessions at our March, April, and May chapter meetings. All 2020 participants (both Android and iPhone users) will need to download the latest version of the mApp. Instructions for doing so can be found at: https://www. mobileh2o.com/mh2oapp (scroll to the bottom of the page). A short video about the mApp is also available at this web location. National Trout Unlimited is placing a high priority on Angler Science and the benefits it provides: “Anglers gathering scientific information about the fish and the places they love”. Stream water quality monitoring is one of the key Angler Science initiatives. On behalf of innovation and science for coldwater conservation, we thank you for your interest and look forward to working with you in 2020. If you have any questions or thoughts, please float them our way. —John and Kent
John Kaplan Kiap-TU-Wish Monitoring Coordinator email@example.com 612-963-1699 (Cell)
Kent Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org 612-845-7258 (Cell)