The following will also appear in the Spring Issue of WI Trout.

Chapter members are still encouraged to contact TU National to update their profile with a current email address to get Rip-Rap directly. Otherwise, they are still reminded that it can be found on our Chapters webpage at . In lieu of Kiap’s annual December Conservation banquet, the chapter held a 4 x 100 Chance Offering Raffle and a virtual auction on TU’s auction platform.  Both events culminated in a virtual banquet on February 25th. Scott Wagner and Dave Johnson hosted the virtual Zoom banquet.  The one-hour banquet included a presentation reviewing the past year’s accomplishments, an awards segment honoring chapter members for their service. In recognition of his multitude efforts on behalf of Kiap TU Wish, Past President Tom Henderson was awarded the Chapter’s Golden Trout Award, with Loren Haas receiving our Silver Trout Award and past Rip Rap Editor Maria Manion receiving the newly inaugurated Judy Lutter Communications Award. The drawing for the 4 x 100 Chance offering. The drawing featured a Norling bamboo rod, Yeti cooler, Thomas and Thomas 3wt rod, and a Joshua Cunningham framed oil painting.  The Offering raised $5000.  The virtual auction was highly successful and made over $5000.  The auction featured guided trips and events by chapter members, a Patagonia fly fishing trip, fly boxes tied by Paul Johnson, and fishing gear.


Tom Henderson with his richly deserved Kiap TU Wish Golden Trout Award. Photo by Tom Schnadt

The chapter is grateful to the team that pulled this together on short notice.  Scott Wagner identified the TU auction platform. Ken Hanson handled the myriad of details to make the platform work.  Ed Constantini designed and coordinated communication and promotion of the events.  Dave Johnson, Tom Schnadt and Greg Dietl solicited trips and coordinated sales efforts.  The chapter learned a lot from the experience and plans to apply this knowledge to future fund-raising events.

All four of our Trout in the Classroom (TIC) classrooms had eggs delivered right after the first of the year and the kids were delighted to see the eggs hatch.  The fry are still living off their egg sac while spending their days in the egg basket.  Soon they will be released to the big, wide, world of the 55-gallon tank and feeding with tiny pellets will commence.  The kids are doing a great job monitoring water chemistry and temperature.  The kids were delighted to watch the heart beating in the sac fry as it swam about the petri dish.  As first year TIC teacher Ben Toppel stated, “It doesn’t get much more exciting than that!”  Wait until feeding time Ben!

Heart beating in the sac fry as it swims about the petri dish at the Rocky Branch Elementary School in River Falls. Photo by Ben Toppel, Greenwood Elementary School

Kiap TU Wish is planning on offering a STREAM Girls event in our area this summer depending on the COVID situation. Know a young female that would like to learn to fly fish and the conservation and biology behind it? The STREAM Girls curriculum introduces girls to stream ecology, sampling techniques, fly rod casting and fly tying through a series of activities. You may be familiar with the phrase “STEM” education, which refers to learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math. You may also have heard of “STEAM” education, which includes the Arts in addition to STEM (fly tying, creative writing, and sketching!). At TU, we believe in “STREAM” education, which includes all of the above topics, plus Recreation (fishing!). For more information on assisting with this event or to learn about ways to become involved email:

The Chapter had another busy winter of brushing. After finishing up tree clearing at the new easements on Plum Creek on the outskirts of Elmwood, the chapter switched its focus in mid-December and began maintenance tree and brush clearing on a section of the upper Kinni immediately downstream of the interstate 94 bridge.  This is a DNR fee title property located on the farmstead of the Jeff Lueck family.  Fencing along this stretch to keep cattle out of the river had let massive buckthorn, honey suckle, and some box elders to take over the corridor making it extremely difficult to fish.  Eleven workdays were held here comprising some 660 hours of volunteer time.  We did take one pause during this project to move to the South Fork of the Kinni to remove an infestation of sand bar willows which are taking over this restoration.  A workday has been held each week from mid-December till the writing of this article save for two bitterly cold weekends in Feb. where the windchill did not climb above 30 below.  At our recent online banquet and fundraiser, certificates of appreciation accompanied by gift cards were given out to 6 of our volunteers whose attendance at workdays has been nothing short of outstanding.  Those recipients are Dave Gregg, John Skelton, Jim Tatzel, Trish Hannah, Pete Kilibarda, and Loren Haas.  Others who attended two or more workdays are Dave Kozlovsky (8), Matt Janquart (6), Scott Wagner (6).  Those attending 4 workdays are Matt Wysocki, Ted Higman, Michele Bevis, and Pat Sexton.  Those attending 3 workdays are Rainbow Barry, Jim Sackrison, Sarah Sanford, Brian Schils, Steve Wardell, and Keith Stein.  Those attending 1-2 workdays are Joe LeFave, Cline Kickok, Scott Thorpe, Corie Berrigan, Steve Kaukola, Alan Hopeman, Mike Colling, Mimi & Charles Condon, John Kaplan, John Rock, Bob Kiner, Brad Wistrom, Perry Bowyer, Chris Boon, Mary Lilly, Greg Dietl, and Kyle Amundsen.  Our thanks to out to all of the volunteers who participated. On another note, Habitat Coordinator Randy Arnold was contacted in late January by Jeff Hastings.  He had been approached by Daniel Pherson, Regional Sales Manager for Stihl Corporation based out of Madison.  Daniel is a trout fisherman who spends time in the driftless, and he has taken note of all of the restoration work done by chapter volunteers.  On behalf of Stihl, he wanted to give a $1500 gift certificate to a deserving chapter to be used to purchase Stihl equipment for chapter use.  We would like to thank both Jeff and Daniel for choosing Kiap TU Wish to be the beneficiary of this gift.  As a gesture to Daniel and Stihl, we will be coordinating a workday on March 19th where regional Stihl factory reps can partake in a workday and slay some box elders and buckthorn on a site that has been selected on the Kinni.

Kiap TU Wish brushing crew left to right, Dave Gregg, Jim Tatzel, John Skelton, Loren Haas, Trish Hannah, Dave Kozlovsky. Photo by Randy Arnold

Kiap TU Wish brushing crew left to right, Pat Sexton, Rainbow Barry, Sarah Sanford, Steve Wardell, Michele Bevis, Corie Berrigan, Brian Schils. Photo by Randy Arnold

Since the Winter Issue of Wis Tout, Kiap-TU-Wish’s dam committee has spent a lot of time raising funds (now exceeding 40K), attending meetings, and planning for the future.  Our dam committee is made up of Scott Wagner, Gary Horvath, Kent Johnson, Scot Stewart, and Dan Wilcox.  River Falls has made the decision to not repair the Powell dam and to not include it in the FERC license renewal.  Once approved by FERC, the dam removal and restoration of the river through the former impoundment will fall under the jurisdiction of the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, assuming this is approved by FERC.  Kiap-TU-Wish has met with WDNR and plans to meet with the City of River Falls to continue planning to contain sediment in the lower Kinni, finish a river monitoring plan and complete a river restoration plan.  We will also need to draft an agreement with the city to work together to accomplish these tasks.  At the same time, we will continue to gather funding to accomplish this work.  Kiap-TU-Wish is busy meeting with partners to broaden support and resources for this effort.

With the arrival of spring, the Kiap-TU-Wish monitoring team will have a busy schedule during the April-October 2021 period.  Chapter members will deploy 29 temperature loggers in five local rivers, to evaluate the impacts of stormwater runoff, hydropower facilities, and climate change, and to assess the ability of our stream restoration projects to improve temperature regimes. Numerous water samples will be collected and analyzed on several streams, to better understand watershed impacts on water quality, as well as the ability of restored river reaches to improve water quality.  To complement stream temperature and water chemistry data, two weather stations will be operated, providing data on air temperature, relative humidity, dew point, and rainfall amounts.  Kiap-TU-Wish also continues to provide financial and volunteer monitoring support for USGS operation and maintenance of the Kinnickinnic River flow gaging station ( and the Willow River flow gaging station (  In the fall of 2020, Kiap-TU-Wish provided $600 to the USGS for purchase and installation of a continuous temperature monitoring probe at the Willow River gage.  Along with the flow data, the temperature data can be viewed on-line in real-time.  The flow and temperature data should be useful to WDNR for managing operation of the new Little Falls Dam in Willow River State Park, thereby protecting the downstream trout fishery.

Kiap-TU-Wish supported a recent effort by the Kinnickinnic River Land Trust (KRLT) to purchase a 40-acre property near River Falls, WI.  Located in the lower Kinnickinnic River canyon, this property became KRLT’s fourth preserve: The Community Forest.  KRLT ownership will protect this property in perpetuity and provide public access to 1,500 feet of Kinnickinnic River and Rocky Branch Creek trout waters, with a potential for WDNR restoration work to improve trout habitat, stabilize stream banks, and reduce erosion.  In addition, this property will provide public access to the River Falls School Forest, which has been landlocked for decades, and will connect the school forest with public parks owned by the City of River Falls and River Falls Township.  The combination of River Falls School Forest, KRLT Community Forest, and public parks will create substantial educational and recreational benefits, including a lengthy continuum of river access for anglers.  KRLT raised the $500,000 needed to cover the purchase price and associated transaction costs. Kiap-TU-Wish contributed $7,500 to support KRLT’s acquisition of this remarkable property.  Other funding partners include the WDNR (Knowles-Nelson Stewardship Program), U.S. Forest Service/USDA (Community Forest Program), corporate and non-profit organizations, and individuals.  KRLT closed on the property on January 29, 2021, and the Community Forest is open to the public!

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