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:
- A small section on lower Pine Creek has box elders that need to be brushed and cut.
- The Red Cabin site needs about a day of buckthorn removal and spraying.
- A Pine Creek fishing path is being mowed each year, but really needs to be burned to knock the Reed Canary grass back.
- 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.
- The Potton easement on Kinnickinnic and Parker Creek needs brushing.
- The Pearson easement on Parker Creek needs brushing.
- 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:
- 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.
- 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:
- Parker Creek: remaining 3,500 feet of project west of Pleasant Ave bridge.
- Plum Creek-Martin easement: 3,600 feet on both banks, upstream from Von Holtum easement.
- Kinni-Moody easement: 2,700 feet on one bank.
ERO Structures on South Fork of Kinni:
- 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.