Habitat Update: Activities in Fall through Winter 2023- 2024

This past season I posted MailChimp notices for 33 events encouraging individuals to get involved with boots on the ground habitat related projects.  Volunteers participated in 3 seeding/mulching events involving projects on both the Trimbelle River and Parker Creek.  We conducted one tree planting day where volunteers helped plant bare root seedling at both Wilson and Cady Creeks. Volunteers turned out to assist the DNR shocking crew at 3 events in August on the Rush, Kinni, and Willow Rivers. 

There were 4 different opportunities to work directly with school age children, two Greenwood Elementary School service/learning days where 60-80 3rd grade students turned out with their teachers and adult chaperones to help burn cut brush from a site on Quarry Rd on the Kinni and, just this spring there was the chance to turn out and assist while 50 some Ellsworth High School FFA students and their instructor helped burn brush and slash from box elders on a stretch of the Trimbelle just downstream of the GasLite Bar.  One of the FFA students was also a boy scout and he requested that I hold another brush burn for his fellow scouts two weeks later where 5 scouts along with 7 family members and 4 Kiap-TU-Wish volunteers conducted another burn on this same stretch of the Trimbelle.  

I held 26 separate brush/tree cutting work days this past calendar year. A lack of snow cover dictated when, where and how we worked. Brush and trees were cut at the Quarry Road. site in the month of October in preparation for the Greenwood event. Following that, we moved our operations upstream on the Kinni and gained access to the north bank through the Patrick Traynor’s property.  With the lack of snow cover in December and January, being able to park in Patrick’s outlot and hike and haul equipment the short distance down to the Kinni made life much easier.  The lack of snow cover also necessitated the need to bring along a pump to each workday in order to extinguish the fires before leaving. After working at the Traynor location, we moved to the opposite bank gaining access through the handicap fishing pier access. 

Further cutting opportunities this past season were at the Red Cabin site on the Kinni, the Trimbelle location downstream of the GasLite and finally on Steeple Drive on the upper Kinni where we got a head start on work which I hope to resume this coming winter. 

I did post looking for volunteers to assist with opening blue bird nest boxes in the fall and closing them up again this spring and always found volunteers willing to assist. There are currently 283 individuals who receive my Mail Chimp postings seeking volunteers. Out of that number, 72 turned out to help with at least 1 workday event. On the other hand, there are individuals who are disappointed on the rare weekend when I don’t provide a work opportunity over the winter months.  Among those volunteering by name and number of work days were :  Jim Tatzel 22, Dave Gregg 20, Tom Anderson 16, Jeff Dahl 14, John Skelton 13, Scott Wagner 11, Steve Cox 10, Matt Janquart 9, Dave Kozlovsky 9, James Patterson 8, Ted Higman 8,
Loren Haas 8, and Chip Robinson 7.  The highest turnout for any one workday was 16 volunteers.  In the pre-Covid years, attendance at workdays was occasionally as high as 30. 

I hope to see an increase in the volunteer turnout in the coming year. The DNR no longer has money or manpower in their budget to conduct maintenance work on the multitude of easements which exist. Without volunteer input, these stretches of water would soon become overgrown and  a lot harder to access.  There are miles of easement which have not seen any attention for years.  I’m 71 now and would like to at least make a dent in that before finally having to put my chainsaws out to pasture. 

Thank you all for all your hard work this past season.


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